|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Slogan||LA's Home For Hip Hop|
|Frequency||92.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||December 29, 1948 (as KFAC-FM)|
KRRL-HD2: Urban AC
KRRL-HD3: Air 1
|HAAT||887.0 meters (2,910.1 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||34°13′35″N 118°03′58″W / 34.22639°N 118.06611°WCoordinates: 34°13′35″N 118°03′58″W / 34.22639°N 118.06611°W|
|Callsign meaning||K Real R&B/Hip-Hop Los Angeles; also worded to say ReaL|
|Former frequencies||100.3 MHz (1957-2000)|
(AMFM Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||KBIG, KFI, KIIS-FM, KLAC, KOST, KEIB, KYSR|
|Webcast||Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)|
KRRL (92.3 FM, Real 92.3) is a commercial radio station licensed to Los Angeles, California, with an Urban Contemporary format. It is owned by iHeartMedia (Clear Channel Communications until September 2014). Its studios are located in Burbank between the Warner Bros. Studios and The Burbank Studios, and it has a transmitter site on Mount Wilson with most other television and FM radio stations serving Los Angeles.
The station first signed on the air on December 29, 1948 as KFAC-FM, the sister station of 1330 KFAC (now KWKW). The stations aired a commercial classical music format for the Los Angeles media market. At first, the two stations simulcast but later aired separate fine arts programming for part of the day. According to a quote from a 1989 New York Times article, "only 41 of nearly 9,000 commercial radio stations in the United States play classical music, and KFAC was considered one of the best".
For more, see KFAC (defunct).
KKBT 92.3 The Beat
In the late Summer of 1989, Evergreen Media purchased KFAC. On September 20, at 2 PM, after a simulcast with non-commercial classical station 91.5 KUSC and a farewell luncheon outside the KFAC studios, 92.3 began stunting with a heartbeat sound effect and brief clips of music. The following day at noon, the station flipped to KKBT, "The New Beat FM 92". The first song under the new format was "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed. The station offered a blend of adult rock, dance music, and adult contemporary, with the slogan "Rock with a Beat". The format failed, and by March 1990, the adult rock cuts were gone, and the station was renamed "92.3 The Beat". The station then moved toward a rhythmic AC format playing a blend of disco, soft pop hits, current R&B and oldies. The station still did not do well, and by the summer of that year, it evolved to a strictly urban AC format. By 1991, rap and hip-hop were being mixed in, and the station evolved to an Urban Contemporary format.
As an urban contemporary station, KKBT hit #1 a few times in the ratings. It competed aggressively with a hip-hop station on the 105.9 frequency, KPWR (which evolved from Crossover to Urban Contempoary). During the time the station featured many popular and legendary DJs who came from great stations like KPWR, KMEL, WQHT, KIIS-FM, and KDAY, like John London and The House Party, a popular morning show which competed with other top local shows such as Mark and Brian on KLOS and Rick Dees on KIIS, DJ Theodore "Theo" Mizuhara, Eric Cubiche, Nautica De La Cruz, NWA's founder Dr. Dre and the World Class Wreckin' Crew, with Ronnie "Big Ron" O'Brien, Johnny "Big John" Monds, and Kevin Nash. Other shows included Westside Radio, a weekly radio program dedicated to West Coast Hip-Hop (now airing on KDAY), and Street Soldiers, a weekly program dedicated to community issues and politics. The station went by the slogan "No Color Lines", proudly championing the diversity of the region. It is believed that KKBT was inspired by KMEL and KDAY. During the 1990s, the station held a summer concert known as "Summer Jam", which featured major Hip-hop and R&B stars who performed at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. In February 1996, sister station WYNY in New York City simulcasted KKBT for a day as part of a week-long stunt of simulcasting sister stations nationwide before changing formats to rhythmic adult contemporary as WKTU.
In a group deal in 1997, Evergreen merged with Chancellor. Chancellor acquired stations from other groups that exited the market. In 1999, Chancellor merged with Capstar and the company became AMFM, Incorporated.
KCMG Mega 92.3
In the fall of 1999, Clear Channel Communications and AMFM Inc. merged. This gave Clear Channel the five FM stations in LA and KIIS-FM which Clear Channel already owned. However, in order to get under the government-mandated market ownership limits, some stations were required to be spun off. One of the full powered FMs in Los Angeles had to go. KKBT's was the station chosen; it was sold to Radio One. However, Clear Channel wanted to keep the best possible signal and gave Radio One 100.3 FM. Leading up to the frequency swap, rumors swirled about whether 100.3's format would survive the move to 92.3 FM. Being that 100.3 was going to an African-American owned company known for urban formats, it seemed that "The Beat" would likely move to 100.3 intact. Much speculation led to 92.3 going active rock, possibly with the KMET calls. When the switch was made on June 30, 2000, the formats and call letters did come along for the ride, with 92.3 becoming KCMG, "Mega 92.3", and 100.3 becoming KKBT, "100.3 The Beat".
KHHT Hot 92.3
The station, now called "Mega 92.3", continued playing Rhythmic Oldies. On August 13, 2001, KCMG changed its call letters to KHHT and was re-branded as "Hot 92 Jamz." At the same time as the re-branding and call letter change, KHHT evolved into more of an urban oldies format, and then to an urban AC format by 2002. However, KHHT was not a typical Urban AC station; this station was one of the first Urban AC's to play more old school/classic soul, the more mainstream-level R&B (barely-to-not playing Neo-soul at all) and some rhythmic and Latino pop/R&B songs to cater to the Hispanic and Asian audiences that listen to R&B music in particular. In this way, KHHT's playlist structure was the inspiration for other Urban AC markets in the western half of the U.S. such as sister stations in KISQ/San Francisco, KSYU/Albuquerque, and KHYL/Sacramento. In 2005, KHHT would be renamed "Hot 92.3."
KHHT was one of three urban ACs serving the Los Angeles market. The others were KRBV, (formerly KKBT, which changed from R&B/hip-hop in May 2006, but was sold by Radio One to Bonneville International in April 2008) and KJLH, whose signal is not full-power and barely penetrates the San Fernando Valley. In July 2006, it was announced that Art Laboe, a legendary oldies DJ in Los Angeles, would expand his syndicated show from weekend to weekdays, with KHHT as the flagship station. Laboe's move was interpreted as an attempt to expand the station's Hispanic audience as it competed with KRBV and KJLH, both of which were African-American owned, operated and targeting stations (only KJLH remains Black owned).
However, by 2008, it became apparent that the over-saturation of Adult R&B stations in Los Angeles had made it difficult for three outlets to compete for the same audience. As a result of this, KHHT began to shift directions from an Urban AC direction to Rhythmic Hot AC, allowing it to focus more on the Hispanic and Asian audience. It opened up its playlist to include current Rhythmic hits. This move also opened up a new battle in the Los Angeles radio war, which found KHHT taking on another Rhythmic AC, KMVN, whose direction was more focused on recurrents from the 1970s and 1980s, which also explained KHHT's decision to add currents to its playlist. KHHT's sister station KBIG-FM once had a Rhythmic AC direction before shifting back to Hot AC in September 2007. The recent sale/format change of KRBV would've resulted in further tweakings at KHHT, but due to Arbitron's implementation of the Portable People Meter in the Los Angeles radio market and a move by its sister stations to adjust their formats to attract certain demos, KHHT decided to continue concentrating on attracting their Hispanic demos, where they feel more comfortable.
As of April 2009, KHHT once again became the only Rhythmic Adult Contemporary in the market, as KMVN made a format change to Spanish. This move has prompted KHHT to further adjust its musical direction by adding more Disco and Freestyle tracks to its current format as a way to attract the displaced KMVN listeners, and by June 2009, it showed an increase in the PPM ratings after it began to further tweak its selection more to slightly favor currents and less favor Old School tracks. These latest changes at KHHT led to hints that it was moving towards adopting a current upbeat (and Dance-leaning) formula patterned after sister stations WKTU/New York City, WMIA-FM/Miami, and WISX/Philadelphia. All three stations saw good rating numbers with this formula.
In November 2010, KHHT tweaked its direction again, shifting to a Gold-based Rhythmic AC approach and reducing the number of currents being played on the station. Although it may have had elements of the former KCMG, KHHT had not tilted all the way back to Rhythmic Oldies or Urban AC as most of the music are in line with other soft-leaning Rhythmic Adult Contemporary outlets in nature.
In April 2011, KHHT fired morning host Victor Zaragoza (now at KBLX/San Francisco). On April 20, the station announced that it would hire Rick Dees, who had hosted morning shows at sister station KIIS-FM and KMVN. At that time, the station dropped the "and R&B" from its slogan (to distance itself from playing current R&B or Adult R&B product), effectively making the radio station a full-blown Gold-based Rhythmic AC, with emphasis on Rhythmic, Disco, Freestyle and R&B hits from 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. This same approach is also being used at sister stations KHJZ/Honolulu, KFBT/Fresno and WMOV/Norfolk, Virginia. The latter three are targeting Gen-Xers and concentrate on the latter two decades and play some currents in their presentation. Shortly after Dees arrived, KHHT shifted its format to a hybrid of Rhythmic oldies and Urban Oldies, focusing mostly on urban rhythmic hits from 1970 to the mid-1990s, with some soul hits from the 1960s sprinkled into the mix. However, on July 3, 2012, a year after making a return to morning drive, Dees parted ways with KHHT due to a desire by station management to make some adjustments in its direction.
KRRL Real 92.3
On February 4, 2015, iHeartMedia announced it was changing KHHT back to Urban Contemporary the following morning. The announcement came just a day after KHHT's HD3 sub-channel launched with Air 1 and just a few hours after KPWR's morning host Big Boy announced he would leave KPWR for KHHT. (Since then, he was served a lawsuit by KPWR's parent company Emmis Communications for breach of contract, thus preventing him from joining the station until his contract or his injunction was lifted; he would join the station on March 9.) Another reason for the change was the station's poor ratings performance; KHHT was ranked 14th in the market with a 2.5 share in the January 2015 PPM Nielsen radio ratings. The entire "Hot" airstaff was released (including Art Laboe, who would later end up on KDAY) on the same day as the announcement.
On February 6, at 9:23 AM, following the end of a "300 Greatest Hot Songs Of All Time" countdown (with "My Girl" by The Temptations as the #1 song) and after playing "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men, KHHT then changed back to urban, branded as "Real 92.3", launching with "10,000 joints in a row". The first two songs on "Real" were "Only" and "Truffle Butter", both by Nicki Minaj. The change put 92.3 back in direct competition with KPWR and returned the urban format to the 92.3 FM frequency for the first time since the 2000 format swap with 100.3 FM. The change also returns the urban format to the market for the first time since 2006, when KKBT changed to Urban AC as KRBV.
On February 20, 2015, KHHT changed its call letters to KRRL to match the "Real" moniker. In the course of a year, KRRL has seen significant ratings growth, and at times, overtaken KPWR, thanks to local talent, promotion and its focus on straightforward R&B/Hip-Hop product.
KRRL-HD2 (Slow Jams) Urban AC
On January 23, 2006, KHHT relaunched its former Rhythmic Oldies format on its HD2 subcarrier. On December 29, 2007, the HD 2 shifted to an all "Slow Jams" Urban AC format, playing quiet storm music from artists such as Anita Baker, Tank, Jaheim, and Boyz II Men. It is also staffed by many KHHT jocks, including Lisa St. Regis, Kevin "Slow Jammin" James, and Al B. Sure. It is programmed by former KHHT evening jock "R Dub!", who hosts a syndicated version of the format to various stations across the country.
KRRL-HD3 (Air 1) Christian Rock
In the first week of February 2015, then KHHT's HD3 sub-channel launched, carrying programming from the nationally syndicated Christian radio station Air 1. This came as KOST's HD-3 signal, which carried Air 1, simultaneously went dark. With the call letter change to KRRL, the subchannel lineup stayed the same.
The station was one of 10 stations awarded the 2007 Crystal Radio Award for public service awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters. Winners were honoured at the Radio Luncheon on April 17, 2007, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In popular culture
Tupac Shakur mentions both KRRL (at a time when it was home to KKBT) and rival station KPWR in his song "To Live & Die In L.A.". KKBT was a fervent supporter of Shakur and regularly played his records.
KHHT was also featured on VH1 Soul's show Soul Cities.
- Broadcasting Yearbook pg. C-21
- Jeremy Gerard (October 16, 1989). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Classical Stations Do Their Best To Survive". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- Radio will get meter readings From Los Angeles Times (August 12, 2008)
- "Rick Dees Out At Hot 92.3 Los Angeles" from Radio Insight (July 3, 2012)
- "KHHT Becomes Real 92.3" from Format Change (February 6, 2015)
- "How Real 92.3 Snatched L.A.'s Radio Crown" from Hip-Hop PDX (February 24, 2016)
- http://www.hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=2 HD Radio Guide for Los Angeles
- "NAB Announces Crystal Radio Awards Winners". National Association of Broadcasters. 2007-04-17.
- Real 92.3 KRRL official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KRRL
- Radio-Locator information on KRRL
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KRRL