|Broadcast area||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Slogan||R&B and Old School|
|Frequency||102.9 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Repeater(s)||See § FM Booster|
|First air date||April 29, 1949 (as KRE-FM)|
|Format||Urban Adult Contemporary|
|HAAT||387.0 meters (1,269.7 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K BLaX (play on the word Blacks, its target audience) or possibly stands for the station's city of license which is Berkeley|
|Former callsigns||KRE-FM (1949-1962)|
|Owner||Bonneville International |
(Bonneville International Corporation)
|Sister stations||KMVQ-FM, KOIT, KUFX|
KBLX-FM, 102.9 MHz is an Urban Adult Contemporary radio station licensed to Berkeley, California and serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The station's studios are in the SoMa district of San Francisco, and the transmitter is atop the San Bruno Mountains.
Until its sale in April 2012, KBLX was owned for more than 30 years by the now-defunct Inner City Broadcasting Corporation and was better known as "The Quiet Storm", with a strong following among Bay Area listeners, especially the African-American community.
KRE-FM and KPAT-FM
KBLX "Soft and Warm, The Quiet Storm"
In 1979, the station was sold to the New York-based Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, headed by Percy Sutton (which also owned its flagship station there, WBLS), and was relaunched as KBLX (the call letters KBLS, which would otherwise honor its sister-station relationship with WBLS, were unavailable, assigned to another station in Kansas). It was one of the first true radio stations with an adult contemporary format, hybrid with an Urban Contemporary format to focus on The Quiet Storm R&B subgenre era at the time. KBLX marketed the station as an adult contemporary format, rather than urban, in order to attract a wider audience.
Throughout the 1980s, the station played an eclectic mix of R&B, jazz and soft pop, reflecting the diverse music culture of the Bay Area. KBLX was the inspiration for the creation and launch of various adult contemporary radio formats across the country, from Smooth Jazz to soft rock AC to Urban AC, the latter which KBLX modified its format to years later. (The Urban AC terminology did not exist until 1988). Even then, for some time the station played mostly smooth R&B, rarely playing any uptempo R&B, current or old school. This was done to establish the station's own identity apart from competition from now-defunct Urban stations KSOL and KDIA, or its current competitors KMEL, KYLD and KISQ. The station's musical selection was also forged by its intense competition with smooth-jazz arch-rival KKSF.
Even when KBLX quietly modified its format to Urban AC in the 1990s, the station continued to play jazz music in rotation—and this practice of mixing R&B and jazz songs on radio playlists has occurred on few Urban AC radio stations in some markets. However, KBLX played more R&B songs than jazz; the end result was a gradual phasing out of jazz from its playlist in recent years. From then on, KBLX has evolved into a true Urban AC station today, playing current and old school R&B, as well as uptempo R&B songs to match its competitors. Despite the changes, it still advertises itself as a "Smooth R&B" station, reflecting its "Quiet Storm" heritage handle —- although the station did re-integrate jazz vocals into its overall sound after KKSF switched from smooth jazz to classic rock in June 2009. The station has hosted the annual Stone Soul Picnic, which was first held at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland in 1998. It outgrew the location and since 2004, was held at Pioneer Amphitheatre in Hayward before relocating the venue at Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord.
For many years, KBLX and its AM sister station, KRE (now KVTO), were the Bay Area's only African-American-owned and operated commercial radio stations. From its inception in 1979, KBLX simulcast on KRE (later KBLX) until 1994, when the AM station was re-launched as KVTO, with a World Ethnic format, primarily serving the San Francisco Bay Area's Asian community. KVTO is now an affiliate of the Sing Tao Chinese Radio network and broadcasts in Chinese.
KBLX-FM "R&B 102.9"
On August 22, 2011, ICBC's creditors petitioned the United States Bankruptcy Court to force the firm to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy on grounds that the company's executives failed to accept a buyout offer. The filing resulted in majority control of ICBC being taken over by Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies, and basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson's Magic Johnson Enterprises as YMF Media. Only KBLX was intended to be sold to a different owner, leaving KVTO and KVVN to defect to YMF Media.
Entercom Communications announced the purchase of the station on April 1, 2012, for $25 million cash. The company announced its intention of keeping KBLX's format. Entercom officially took control of the station on May 1, 2012, and fired the entire on-air staff of KBLX (except traffic reporter Joe McConnell). The firings included morning personality and program director Kevin Brown after 22 years, and the original general manager of the station. It ended "The Quiet Storm" format on KBLX after 33 years and transitioned the station to "R&B 102.9, The New KBLX", and added the Steve Harvey Morning Show. These corporate decisions were met with controversy and anger from longtime listeners of KBLX who felt that the heritage of the station built upon "The Quiet Storm" was destroyed when the station turned into a more mainstream R&B station. The station's license was assigned to Entercom effective June 28, 2012.
On October 12, 2015, KBLX dropped the syndicated Steve Harvey morning show in favor of a live-and-local program featuring Oakland-born Mark Curry, who starred on the ABC sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and was a frequent host of the syndicated music competition series Showtime At The Apollo. On KBLX, Curry is teamed with weekender/music director Kimmie Taylor and former afternoon host Victor "Big Daddy" Zaragoza.
On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced that it would merge with Entercom. To comply with FCC ownership limits, it was announced that KBLX, along with sister stations KOIT and KUFX, CBS-owned KMVQ, and a cluster in Sacramento, would be divested. Bonneville International assumed operations of the stations on behalf of a holding trust following the closure of the merger on November 17. On August 3, 2018, Bonneville International announced that it would acquire all of the divested Entercom stations it had been operating for $141 million; the sale was completed on September 21, 2018.
KBLX is rebroadcast on the following FM Booster:
|City of license||Facility
|KBLX-FM2||102.9||Pleasanton, California||88317||185 (Vert.)||927 m (3,041 ft)||D||FCC|
- "KBLX-FM Call Sign History". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Fong-Torres, Ben (April 1, 2012). "Radio Waves". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- "Entercom confirms the rumored $25 million acquisition of KBLX, SF (102.9)". Radio-Info.com. April 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- http://www.radioinfo.com/ October 5, 2015
- Venta, Lance (October 10, 2017). "Entercom Narrows Down 16 Stations To Be Divested To Complete CBS Radio Merger". RadioInsight. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- "Bonneville Turns San Francisco and Sacramento LMAs Into Purchase - RadioInsight". RadioInsight. 3 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "LMA Becomes Sale As Entercom Officially Sells Eight SF, Sacramento Stations To Bonneville For $141 Million". All Access. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. September 24, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
- 102.9 KBLX website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KBLX
- Radio-Locator information on KBLX
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KBLX