L.A. radio fans of old-skool hip-hop, bad news: 93.5 KDAY-FM has been sold, and a format change to Chinese language is coming shortly. Radio Insight has the story:
Magic Broadcasting has agreed to sell Classic Hip-Hop “93.5 KDAY” KDAY Redondo Beach/Los Angeles and KDEY Ontario/Riverside to RBC Communications for $19.5 Million.
Look for a flip to a Chinese format to accompany the sale. Phoenix Satellite Television, a British Virgin Islands based company which operates 6 cable networks in China owns a 20% stake in RBC. Anthony Yuen holds the other 80% through his RBC Investments LLC.
If the deal goes through, it would be the end of a nearly 10-year attempt to make KDAY a player in the market. The station had been Spanish-language when it flipped in 2004 to old-skool hip-hop, and started calling itself KDAY -- a nod to the popular late 70s, early 80s AM radio station that was the first in L.A. to play a lot of rap. Here's what I wrote on September 20, 2004:
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.
It's too soon to tell whether this new 93.5 KDAY will live up to its famous namesake -- or if it will even get to keep the name (a radio station in Independence, Calif., actually operates under those call letters). I'm not even sure we need another all hip-hop station -- KPWR and KKBT do quite nicely, and on much more powerful signals. Perhaps a niche format would be better suited for the 93.5 frequency. Stay tuned.
But then 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 back then:
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.
After that, 93.5 became mostly syndicated talk -- until it dumped Steve Harvey and Michael Baisden. In 2009, the station went back to old skool, even airing spots apologizing for abandoning hip-hop. Here's what I wrote in 2009:
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