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City of license Los Angeles, California
Broadcast area Greater Los Angeles
Branding Power 106
Slogan "Where Hip-Hop Lives"
Frequency 105.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
105.9 HD-2 for WorldBand Media (South Asian Radio)
First air date 1946
Format Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio
ERP 25,000 watts
HAAT 925 meters
Class B
Facility ID 35498
Callsign meaning K PoWeR
Owner Emmis Communications
Sister stations KXOS

KPWR (105.9 FM, "Power 106") is a commercial radio station located in Los Angeles, California, broadcasting to the Greater Los Angeles area on an analog signal and in HD Radio. KPWR airs a Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio format.

According to BDS, KPWR is the top-ranked Rhythmic formatted radio station in the United States, based on audience cumes.



105.9 FM signed on as easy listening KFI-FM on July 15, 1946, later becoming KBMS in 1958 before adopting the KWST call letters and "K-West 106" moniker in 1969. During its years as KBMS and later KWST, its format had been beautiful music prior to its flip to a rock format on January 1, 1975. K-West emulated the then-popular sound of KMET & KLOS. By 1981 though, the rating had slipped and KWST had changed to a Top 40 format, and let all of their disc jockeys go. KWST eventually evolved into KMGG, or "Magic 106" in 1983, and played upbeat Adult Contemporary music.

KMGG changed formats, from adult contemporary to a dance music/Top 40 direction on January 11, 1986 and became KPWR, "Power 106." In its first seven years, the playlist concentrated mostly on an upbeat, party-style mix of dance, house, freestyle, and urban pop while avoiding hard rock. This mix of music became known as crossover, due to the way in which dance and urban music were presented to an audience that liked pop, and vice versa. Around 1992, KPWR began to focus on urban music with hip-hop as the musical base. In 1992 The Baka Boyz came to Power 106 and started the long-running "Friday Night Flavas" late night hip hop mix show. The Friday Night Flavas show passed from the Baka Boyz to the Fantastik 4our crew by 1998, until finally being canceled on January 4, 2008. Sway & King Tech's The Wake Up Show which airs on Sunday evenings has taken the place of Friday Night Flavas as Power 106's underground hip hop mix show.

By January 2005, the station had woven in non-R&B/hip hop artists such as Natalie, Baby Bash, NB Ridaz and Gwen Stefani to the mix, resulting in a return to rhythmic contemporary hit radio. The move may have been a response to a change in directions at rival station KIIS, which was programming Top 40 hits, until they started a shift towards a Rhythmic lean, since the market itself is heavily Hispanic and tends to favor this genre.

KPWR picked up additional competition in May 2005 when KXOL dropped their Spanish adult contemporary format for a Hispanic Rhythmic, or hurban, format known as "Latino 96.3". The format is a crossover mix of Hispanic hip hop, reggaeton, dancehall, and R & B/hip hop targeting a bilingual audience. However, the abrupt switch violated a transmitter lease agreement that KXOL's parent company, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), had with Emmis; the agreement required formal notification to Emmis of any change in format and expressly prohibited KXOL from programming to directly compete with KPWR. SBS switched formats anyway, and Emmis filed a lawsuit to force SBS to either drop the format switch or find a new transmitter. SBS announced that KXOL would move to another transmitter site a month later, and both parties settled the dispute sometime after[1].

Shortly after the debut of Latino 96.3, KPWR replaced the majority of their non Latino DJs with personalities of Latino descent who often pepper their broadcasts with Spanish words, in an effort to regain some of the audience lost to Latino 96.3. Today Big Boy and Fuzzy Fantabulous (both African-American) remain as the only non-Latino personalities at the station.

On August 17, 2006, KPWR's Country music sister station KZLA flipped directions to Adult Rhythmic Contemporary as "Movin' 93.9." Most of the songs played on Movin' 93.9 consists of Rhythmic Pop and Dance hits from the 1980s and 1990s to the present day, along with classic Disco and Freestyle tracks thrown in for balance. However, KMVN has since moved directions to Rhythmic Oldies.

With the unique combination of both KPWR and KZLA, the move gives Emmis and Los Angeles its first Rhythmic duopoly, as well as the second duopoly in California with this arrangement, the other being Clear Channel Communications siblings KMEL and KYLD in San Francisco. But that arrangement will end on April 15, 2009, when KMVN will flip to a Spanish format under a LMA with Grupo Radio Centro of Mexico City.


Despite their on air slogan of "Where Hip Hop Lives", KPWR continues to claim to potential advertisers that its true format is Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio. Station management resists the R&B/Hip-Hop format label in part because of its Hispanic audience – and because Top 40 stations attract more advertising than stations on the R&B/Hip-Hop reporting panels (It should be noted that KPWR was a reporter to the Billboard Radio Monitor R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay panel from 1997 to 2005).

Leaning heavily on hip hop and broadening their music mix to challenge competitors, KPWR's core listening audience is geared toward youth and young adults ages 12 to 24, including a large bilingual Hispanic group of listeners. KPWR was, by de-facto, the only full market hip hop station, after its rival, KKBT (now KSWD), flipped from mainstream urban to urban adult-contemporary in May 2006. Meanwhile KDAY, the station that would inherit "The Beat" slogan from KKBT, flipped to Urban AC in August 2008, only to return to a Mainstream Urban direction in January 2009. KDAY's signal does not cover the market in full, which might have played a factor in its brief decision to switch formats, as KDAY broadcasts from a Class A transmitter in Baldwin Hills that is limited in signal range vs KPWR's Class B; ironically KDAY had shifted to Rhythmic in July 2007, only to return to Urban a few weeks later. Other stations in the market have other primary interests; KIIS and KAMP both plays Top 40 music, KXOL has their hurban format, and KHHT their Rhythmic Adult Contemporary direction.

KPWR receives criticism for small playlists and repetitions of the same songs hour after hour, as do other radio stations. Their program includes regular shows such as the Pocos Pero Locos radio show, which showcases Latin Hip Hop music, and is nationally syndicated to 40+ markets including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston and Portland, Oregon.

Although they had moved away from the Dance music scene and at times are criticized for abandoning it in favor of pleasing the Hip-Hop crowd, KPWR continues to support the genre through the program "Power Tools", produced by Gerry Meraz and hosted by Richard Vission. Power Tools, which airs late night Saturday/Early Sunday morning from 2 to 4am, is also the station's longest running program, debuting in 1992. In addition, they do revisit their Dance and Freestyle music roots during their mixes, especially the The World Famous Aquanet Set, which they air on Fridays. In 2008 KPWR began phasing in current Dance and Rhythmic Pop crossovers into their daily and weekend mix shows again, as evidenced by addition of the daily noontime "Power 106 Party Mix," which replaced the Old School mixshow.

For a time in 1996, Power 106 switched genres and began to focus more on house music which then was very popular among Latino listeners. They began to play less hip-hop, as many listeners switched over to former rival KKBT. They eventually reverted to Hip-Hop/R&B by the fall of that year, and hired former security guard Big Boy to host the morning show, replacing the veteran Baka Boyz. The Baka Boyz were moved to afternoons, before being dropped by Power and moving to KKBT in 1999, where they would only last several months before KKBT switched genres. The Baka Boyz later moved to San Diego and worked for XHMORE ("Blazin 98.9 FM"), a Rhythmic Top 40 radio station with the same format as Power 106. The Baka Boyz has since left that station and now concentrate on their syndicated Hip-Hop remix show "The Baka Boyz Master Mix."

KPWR-HD subchannels

KPWR launched a Spanish-language HD2 subcarrier channel called Power Dos in August 2006. A press release from Emmis describes the new channel as a “bilingual and musically extended version” of KPWR. Power Dos left the air in 2008 due to lack of interest. [1]

On 2008-09-08, Emmis announced a programming partnership with WorldBand Media, using KPWR's HD-3 signal to produce programming for the South Asian communities in 3 major cities including Los Angeles.[2] The said content began in Mid-October 2008, and by the Summer of 2009 moved to HD2, replacing Power Dos.

Big Boy's Neighborhood

Big Boy's Neighborhood is the nationally-syndicated morning show for KPWR.

Big Boy is best known in the local area for his billboards. In early 2002, Big Boy was morbidly obese; Will Smith agreed to donate to a charity of Big Boy's choice an amount equal to $1,000 times the number of pounds he lost, if he could lose 50 pounds. Through a strict diet and by using a personal trainer, Big Boy lost 110 pounds, and as promised, Will Smith donated $110,000 to charity. By 2003, Big Boy had gained all the weight back, plus some, and weighed 510 pounds. In November 2003, Big Boy underwent duodenal switch surgery and has since lost more than 250 pounds (114 kg). KPWR billboards showed off his new look after his surgery.

On August 6, 2007, Big Boy signed a multi-year deal with ABC Radio Networks (now Citadel Media) to syndicate the show, and his weekend show formerly called Big Boy's Hip Hop Spot.[2] The show launched nationally on August 20. Big Boy will continue to work for Emmis, thus KPWR is now the flagship station for the originally locally based morning show. In the fall of 2008, the show began to air on KPWR's sister station, WQHT Hot 97 in New York City, but after enduring lackluster ratings, WQHT dropped Big Boy's Neighborhood for an expanded local morning show hosted by Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg in July 2009.

On February 17, 2010, Citadel announced that it will no longer carry Big Boy's Neighborhood and that its last national broadcast will be March 28, 2010. There is the possibility that another distributor could pick up the program[3].

Big Boy, along with Luscious Liz from the 'Neighborhood' starred in an episode of Entourage as well as an episode of Nick Cannon's sketch comedy show Wild'n'out. In addition, Big Boy also appeared in an episode of For the Love of Ray J.

Flava Unit

The Power 106 Flava Unit is the Promotions Team that goes out on the streets of Los Angeles and promotes the radio station and it's advertising partners to the city, specifically targeting urban Latino youth. The Flava Unit consists of at least one MC, "rocking the mic", and is sometimes partnered with a Flava Unit Mixer (the disc jocky). They are also there to help when there are live broadcasts that consist of the on-air jocks and/or mixers.

Some notable Flava Unit Alumni include DJ Reflex (on-air mixer), DJ Los (on-air mixer), DJ Sourmilk (on-air mixer), DJ Eric-D-Lux and DJ Big Syphe (afternoon on-air talent and mixers), DJ J-Boogie (currently the host of "CW Now", "Yo Momma" on MTV, and the show "TeeNick" on Nickolodean), Mando Fresko (currently late-night on-air talent, TV host for LATV, actor, and model), Junior M. (club promoter and marketing specialist).

Current Jocks

Big Boy's Neighborhood (5-10a weekdays)

  • Big Boy
  • Luscious Liz
  • Tattoo
  • Jeff Garcia

10a-3p weekdays

  • Yesi Ortiz

3-7p weekdays

  • Eric D-Lux

7p-12a weekdays

Midnight-5a Weekdays & Weekends




External links



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