Monday, August 17, 2009

93.5 KDAY Starts Kicking It Old Skool Again

93.5 KDAY -- which had focused in recent years on syndicated fare and urban adult contemporary music, is returning to its previous old skool hip-hop focus.

Here's the press release:

93.5 Drops the Beat and focuses on 93.5 KDAY FM

Los Angeles, CA (August 17, 2009) - The landscape of Los Angeles radio has been ever changing over the last several years and the programming at 93.5 is taking an exciting turn for the better. “The Beat” will be dropped as focus is placed on the brand equity in KDAY and its deep musical roots.

"Los Angeles has been missing the west coast sound. By eliminating syndicated programming, KDAY can now focus on its strengths as a local, independent station that connects with the diverse culture that is Los Angeles. With a mix of the old school and the new music that is enjoyed today, I feel we have a unique and winning recipe." - Adrian (A.D.) Scott (Program Director/ Operations Manager)

93.5 KDAY was unveiled at the Nokia Theatre on Saturday August 15, with some of Hip-hop's most iconic figures including: Big Daddy Kane, Dough E. Fresh, and Naughty by Nature, Slick Rick, Dj Quik, and Whoodini. The sold out show attracted a diverse LA crowd of many races, and ages both young and old.

The 93.5 frequency has been rather schizo ever since Magic Broadcasting first bought the station for a whopping $120 million in 2004. Since then, Magic continues to dabble with a variety of urban formats, but always ends up returning to old skool hip-hop.

The station first acquired the classic KDAY calls -- a reference to the pioneering original AM hip-hop station of the early 1980s -- in 2004, paying a station in Independence, Calif., for the rights to the calls -- and went with a mostly old skool format.

At the time, I wrote this:

In another reverse of what had been an ongoing trend, another Spanish language radio station has actually flipped back to English.

KZAB 93.5 FM, which had been playing salsa music under the moniker "La Sabrosa", flipped at 12 noon today to an all-hip-hop format. (KZAB is licensed to Redondo Beach.)

The station is now referring to itself as KDAY -- call letters that will be familiar to Angeleno rap fans in the 1980s. The original 1580 AM KDAY has long been recognized as the nation's first all-hip-hop radio station.

The hip-hop format on KDAY, which launched in July 1983, is credited with breaking artists such as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, LL Cool J and NWA. At the time, a 24-hour hip-hop station seemed ridiculous. A full time radio station dedicated to a tiny niche music format?

20 years later, of course, hip-hop KPWR "Power 106" dominates Los Angeles' radio wars. And another, KKBT "The Beat," has also been a market force for over a decade, thanks most recently to the strong Steve Harvey morning show.

The station then went more current, going up against titans Power 106 and 100.3 The Beat. Later, The Beat went to an urban AC format - and KDAY went back to old skool, as I wrote in 2006:

93.5 KDAY has tweaked its format and is finally doing what it had promised in the beginning: Focus on old school tracks. The new KDAY is playing a mix of 80s and early 90s hip-hop (think NWA, LL Cool J, Young MC, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Bell Biv DeVoe) -- and here's the weird part -- along with old funk (and even R&B-flavored disco) tracks. Prince shows up, and sometimes the station even spins some 80s freestyle. It's an interesting mix -- which makes me want to tune in, just to see what they're gonna play next.

But again, that didn't last long, and KDAY started drifting to more current hip-hop. In 2008, the station dumped hip-hop altogether. Radio One sold 100.3 -- which had dropped its "The Beat" branding to become "V100," a mix of urban AC music and talk -- but sold the intellectual rights of "V100" to Magic. Here's what I wrote:

As for V100, the station signed off for good on Monday, but former owner Radio One has signed a deal with KDAY 93.5 to bring some of its programming there. Radio One also owns the intellectual property for V100 predecessor "The Beat" -- which means KDAY now plans to call itself "The Beat of L.A.," even resurrecting the old "No Color Lines" slogan and peace sign logo.

Since then, 93.5 has been mostly syndicated talk -- although in recent months has been shedding those shows. First, it dumped Steve Harvey (now heard on 102.3 KJLH) and more recently, got rid of Michael Baisden.

Now, it's back to basics for KDAY, which is jockless with a pure classic hip-hop format. The "Beat of L.A." format on 93.5 signed off this morning with Boyz II Men's "End of the Road," and according to All Access, relaunched with these songs:

ROB BASE & DJ E-Z ROCK - It Takes Two
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT - People Everyday (Metamorphosis Mix)
112 - Only You (w/ NOTORIOUS B.I.G.)
2PAC - Toss It Up (w/ K-CI and JOJO)
JAY-Z - '03 Bonnie & Clyde (w/ BEYONCE)
WHODINI - Five Minutes Of Funk

On-air KDAY spots are now apologizing for abandoning hip-hop during its brief run as "The Beat."

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