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City of license Los Angeles, California
Broadcast area Greater Los Angeles Area
Branding 95.5 KLOS
Slogan Southern California's Best Rock
Frequency 95.5 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)
First air date 1947 (as KECA), 1969 (as KLOS)
Format Rock music
ERP 61,000 watts
HAAT 954 meters
Class B
Facility ID 35078
Callsign meaning LOS Angeles
Owner Citadel Broadcasting
(Radio License Holing XII, LLC, Debtor in possession)
Sister stations KABC
Webcast Listen Live

KLOS is an FM rock music radio station based in Los Angeles, California that debuted in 1969. The station is owned by Citadel Broadcasting. It is home to the nationally broadcast Mark & Brian radio show, long-time rock radio vet Jim Ladd, and Off The Record host Uncle Joe Benson.



On December 30, 1947, KECA-FM began broadcasting on 95.5 MHz, simulcasting the programming of AM station KECA 790. The FM station was owned by ABC since the beginning, and the call letters of the AM and FM stations were accordingly changed to KABC and KABC-FM in the 1950s. In 1960, KABC adopted an all-talk format.

On January 1, 1968, due to new FCC rules requiring FM stations to have separate programming from their AM counterparts, KABC-FM experimented with an all-news format, the first station in Los Angeles to have such a format. This experiment did not last long, as the format was dropped on March 11, 1968, the day that KFWB started its own all-news format.

KABC-FM adopted a progressive rock format and programmed a taped format that was run on co-owned stations throughout the country known as "Love." The taped programming was voicetraced by Brother John Rydgren. The taped format did not last long. Live, locally programmed free-form/progressive rock programming was the norm on most ABC-FM owned and operated stations by mid-1970. By February 1971, the station acquired its new call letters.[citation needed] In the fall of 1971, ABC-Owned FM Stations Vice President, Allen Shaw and KLOS Program Director, Tom Yates, launched the first Album-Rock Format, playing only the best cuts from the best selling rock albums. The slogan was "Rock 'N Stereo." The disc jockey line up included Jeff Gonzer, J.J. Jackson, Jim Ladd, and Damion. KLOS promoted a huge outdoor rock concert called "California Jam" during this time. By 1972, along with ABC-owned sister stations like WPLJ New York, WRIF Detroit and WDVE Pittsburgh, KLOS had become the top-rated rock FM station in Los Angeles.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s "KLOS 95½" was a broad-based album rock station. Their primary competition during this period was KMET, the legendary station at 94.7, which had been one of the original progressive rock stations in the U.S. KMET was considered by most Angelenos to be the more authentic and "cool" of the two stations, while KLOS was more formatted and mass appeal in style. In the late 70s and early 80s, KMET began leaning toward a harder-rocking sound, and became a ratings powerhouse. By the mid-80s, however, KMET had become unfocused and stale, and KLOS took a big lead in the ratings.

In 1986, a new rival appeared: KLSX. KLSX was part of a wave of "classic rock" stations sweeping the nation. The term "classic rock," which was coined around this time, referred to rock songs from the 60's & 70's. Ironically, these songs had once been played by KMET and KLOS. Especially at first, these classic rock stations reintroduced (or introduced) people to artists that had been forgotten, such as Traffic, Grateful Dead, and early Chicago. KLOS, for the most part, stuck with their harder-rocking format.

With KNAC in Long Beach switching to heavy metal, and KROQ drawing the Modern Rock audience, there was keen competition on the rock radio dial. KMET began to falter even more in the ratings, and finally switched to a new age/light jazz format called "The Wave." The fall of the "Mighty Met" was greeted with enormous press coverage, and sadness from longtime fans. KLOS, of course, could not have been happier to have a competitor out of the way.

KLOS and KLSX duked it out for a number of years, sometimes challenged by upstarts like Pirate Radio, KMPC-FM ("The Edge"), and KSCA 101.9. The only significant challenge for KLOS was Arrow 93 (KCBS-FM). Arrow began as "all rock and roll oldies," featuring lighter, more Top 40 classic rock like Billy Joel and Huey Lewis in the classic rock mix. During this period, KLOS consistently had a broader and more varied playlist than both KLSX and Arrow, though increasingly they played less new rock. KLSX switched to all-talk in the mid-90's, with a schedule centered around syndicated Howard Stern in the mornings.

In the early 90's, with the popularity of KROQ's grunge and "alternative" rock, KLOS altered their format, dropping the old jocks, and most of the classic rock. This did not last long, nor was it a ratings success. Within a year, the new music was mostly jettisoned, and the classic rock brought back.

In 1997 John Duncan was hired as program director (previously at KYYS in Kansas City) and took the station in an adult rock direction. Within eight months, KLOS moved from #18 to #5 among 25-54 adults, reclaiming its status as L.A.'s #1 adult rock station. While at KLOS, Duncan hired Jim Ladd, Garth Kemp and other long-time personalities. It was also during this period that the station ran a billboard campaign with lines such as, "We lost our mind for a moment, but we're okay now." Duncan left the station in late 1998, on the heels of Mark & Brian's "Black Hoe" promotion.

In 2005, KLOS became the last rock station standing when Arrow 93 switched formats to become Jack FM. Jack FM was a format out of Vancouver, Canada which mixed alternative, classic rock, and Top 40 songs from the 70s to the present. It is noted for having no disc jockeys, a huge playlist, and a pseudo-renegade attitude. For their first two years, they were a runaway ratings success, rocketing to the top of many key demographic areas. As usual, KLOS stuck with the tried-and-true.

KLOS is now home to many prominent progressive and AOR rock DJs from Los Angeles radio history. "Uncle Joe" Benson, a former Arrow 93 DJ, has joined KLOS since the introduction of Jack FM, does fill-ins and is on weekends. Another former Arrow DJ, Bob Coburn was already at KLOS prior to the Arrow/Jack FM flip, and was heard Saturday mid-days from 10 am to 2 pm, as well as on "Rockline Replay" (a live nationally-syndicated call-in show with Bob Coburn, taped Wednesday nights, and broadcast Saturday nights, 11 pm to 1 am). Both Benson & Coburn had enjoyed previous, lengthy runs as KLOS jocks, since the 80s. Coburn was also at KMET in the 70s. Cynthia Fox holds down the daytime shift. She was a long-time jock on KMET. Ex-KMET jock Denise Westwood does fill-ins and Sunday afternoons. Former program director Rita Wilde had been choosing the music on KLOS for decades, and can now be considered a rock radio vet herself.

Especially noteworthy was the return of Jim Ladd, former DJ on KNAC (in its progressive days), KMET during its glory days, KLOS, KLSX, and "The Edge." Ladd is allowed unusual latitude in selecting the music for his show, one of the few jocks in the country still enjoying this coveted privilege. Ladd's show is routinely the #1 music-based show in its timeslot, if not #1 overall. Since Ladd programs his entire five-hour shift himself, he relies heavily on listener requests, which is one of the reasons his show is so popular. Ladd plays many Deep cuts both from mainstream artists, as well as artists from forgotten eras that no one else plays, such as Tommy Bolin, Quicksilver Messenger Service & Fairport Convention. He also plays artists such as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis & Emmylou Harris, who are generally considered genres outside of rock & roll, yet they clearly inspired & influenced classic rock artists. Ladd bills himself as "the last free-form radio DJ" left. The closest example outside of Ladd to a freeform jock would likely be DJ Steve Jones (ex-Sex Pistols), who hosted a free-form program of his own, daily from noon to 2 pm on Indie 103.1; Jones was perhaps a truer form of "free" radio, as he pulled from far more genres than Ladd.

Joe Reiling has also recently returned to KLOS after an even longer absence. He was last heard in the mid-to-late 70's. He does the occasional fill-in.

Dion was another part-time jock at KLOS that had been on overnights for several years. Dion was also at KLSX when they played classic rock.

Sunday nights/Monday mornings KLOS used to air a public affairs call-in talk show hosted by long time KLOS personality, Frank Sontag. He celebrated his 20th anniversary doing the Impact Program in late November 2007. Frank also is part of the Mark & Brian morning team. He runs the control board, and is a frequent contributor on the show.

KLOS also airs a midday show hosted by veteran KMET/KLSX DJ Cynthia Fox called "In Tune at Noon" where she features a daily celebration of events in Rock n Roll History and events in the News.

In 2006, the station came under ownership of Citadel Broadcasting after it merged with The Walt Disney Company's ABC Radio. In October 2006, KLOS restructured its daily lineup of radio hosts, following Mark & Brian's show. Cynthia Fox, "Uncle Joe" Benson and Jim Ladd saw each of their daily airshifts increased by one hour. However, this has resulted in the (temporary) dismissal of former evening DJ Gary Moore (returning in the Fall of 2007 on Saturday afternoons and now can be heard weekday evenings). Former overnight jock (ex-KQLZ) Mark Miller was only heard hosting Saturday morning's "The Best of Mark & Brian Saturday Special" shows, from 6 am to 10 am. Miller's daily shift was replaced with automated programming, billed as "KLOS, After Hours", which runs from 1 to 5 am, Tuesday through Friday mornings. Although the same classic rock format is generally followed, occasionally KLOS delves into deep cuts & live versions of songs that are not usually played during the dayshifts.

The long-revered "Breakfast With The Beatles", hosted by Chris Carter, is heard on Sunday mornings from 8 am to 11 am. Prior to hosting Breakfast With the Beatles, Carter was heard on Channel 103.1/KACD-FM in 2000, when they played Adult Alternative music. He is also the former bass player & producer for Dramarama, and produced and supervised the music for the film Mayor of the Sunset Strip, a rock documentary about influential LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of Modern Rock KROQ-FM, which in 2003 was nominated for Best Documentary by the Independent Spirit Awards.

Periodically, KLOS will abandon its format with an "A to Z" special, where songs from the KLOS library are played alphabetically by title. Running 24 hours a day (with breaks only for the morning talk show of Mark and Brian), it lasts several weeks with no repeated songs. Unlike many similar specials, the KLOS A to Z unearths a large number of rarely heard songs. This marks a stark contrast with KLOS' regular playlist, which typically features an extremely narrow and repetitive selection of safe, familiar staples. In recent years the A to Z special has been aired around the Christmas holiday, though prior to that it appeared unpredictably: in mid-summer, for example.

Although KLOS billed itself as "Southern California's only classic rock station", that is not entirely true as there exists KGB in San Diego, which can sometimes even be heard in Los Angeles due to tropospheric ducting. This might be considered by most listeners to be nitpicking, since although KGB can occasionally be received in the Los Angeles area, it is out of range most of the time. There is also KOCP The Octopus in Camarillo, but it does not serve as competition to KLOS due to KFSH in Anaheim broadcasting on the same frequency. The only other station in the area that can be considered to carry classic rock is KRTH, which broadened its "goodtime oldies" format to include more album rock and material from the mid to late 1970s after Jack FM took over KCBS. However, the majority of KRTH's format would not be considered classic rock. Jack-FM plays considerably more classic rock than any other station outside of KLOS, but also plays plenty of top 40 artists. In April, 2008, a new station emerged as a competitor, as KSWD "The Sound" 100.3 FM signed on the airwaves, and although their focus is adult alternative music, it also includes a healthy dose of classic rock.

In August 2009, the station switched its slogan to "Southern California's Best Rock", in order to play a wider variety of rock music, including classic and current, in a more active rock direction.


Shows on KLOS

Mark and Brian is a sketch comedy show that airs Monday through Friday mornings from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M., with highlights from the show airing from 5:00 to 6:00 A.M., and a Saturday recap of the week, featuring the best of Mark & Brian, airs from 6 A.M. to 10 A.M.

In Tune at Noon is a one-hour show hosted by Cynthia Fox where they celebrate birthdays or anniversaries of events in rock and roll history by playing music associated with those dates. It plays weekday afternoons from 12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M.

3 at 3 with Bob Buchmann. He plays three songs with a common theme. Then listeners get to call in and guess the common theme of the songs, weekday afternoons at 3:00 P.M.

The 5 o' Clock Funnies is a brief sketch done by a stand-up comedian who is currently or shortly will be touring somewhere. This airs weekday afternoons at 5:15 P.M.

Get The Led Out weeknights at 7:00 P.M.

Jim Ladd brings his brand of free-form radio interrupts the regular classic rock radio format Monday through Thursday from 10:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. and Sundays from 9:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M., with Ladd picking the music personally, often based on listener requests, and playing it in thematic sets. Listeners call in requests/ideas or post them on Ladd's MySpace page. Every Wednesday night at midnight, Ladd devotes the final hour of his air shift to a show called Headsets, which combines music with a slightly more "sonic" quality (designed to be listened to in headphones, or with no background noise interfering), spoken-word poetry, and audio clips from movies & TV. On Sundays, Ladd brings "Theme of Consciousness", with the entire content of the 3-hour show devoted a singular word or "theme", and chosen by the listening audience, by phone or by MySpace.

Spotlight on the Community is an hour-long show hosted by Cynthia Fox and Nelkane Benton on Sunday mornings from 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M. Discussing current issues in the community and offers non-profit organizations the opportunity to disseminate information for their organization.

Breakfast with the Beatles, hosted by Chris Carter, is a special three-hour program that airs Sunday mornings from 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M., devoted entirely to music from The Beatles, their individual efforts, as well as music inspired by The Beatles. Carter often has special guests appear in-studio or on the phone. Former John Lennon paramour, May Pang appears usually half-way in the show with "This week in Beatle news", delivering it in a gossip-style. Breakfast With The Beatles boasts it is "America's longest-running Beatles show", and has been on the air in Los Angeles on one radio station or another since 1983.

Little Steven's Underground Garage is a syndicated show playing random, lesser-known songs ranging from 50s rockabilly to punk to newer rock not generally heard on mainstream rock radio, most of which has a "garage-rock" style. Little Steven's Underground Garage has since moved to KSWD 100.3 The Sound, Saturdays at midnight.


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