|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
|City of license||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Slogan||"The Greatest Hits on Earth"|
|Frequency||101.1 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||August 11, 1941 (as K45LA at 44.5)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Classic Hits
HD2: Oldies (50's-60's)
HD3: All Beatles Music
|Callsign meaning||K eaRTH 101 (longtime on air moniker, refers to Earth Day)|
|Former callsigns||K45LA (1941-1946)
|Former frequencies||44.5 MHz (1941-1946)
99.7 MHz (1946-1948)
(CBS Radio East, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KAMP-FM, KCBS-FM, KNX, KROQ-FM, KTWV
part of CBS Corp. cluster w/ TV stations KCBS-TV & KCAL-TV
Listen Live (HD2)
KRTH (101.1 FM, "K-Earth 101") is a U.S. oldies radio station located in Los Angeles, California, broadcasting to the Greater Los Angeles Area. Its signal covers an extremely large area, due in part to height upon Mt. Wilson, and sometimes can be heard as far south as San Diego and Tijuana, as far east as Moreno Valley, as far west as Santa Barbara and as far north as Baker, California. The station has studios on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.
KRTH signed on August 11, 1941 as the first FM station in Los Angeles. The station's original call letters were K45LA, broadcasting on 44.5 FM from a tower atop Mount Lee. After World War II, when the FCC mandated the 88-108 MHz range, the station was moved to 99.7 FM, and the call letters were changed to KHJ-FM, after its then-sister AM station KHJ. In 1948, KHJ-FM moved yet again to its current broadcast frequency of 101.1 FM, eventually relocating its transmission facilities to Mount Wilson.
In 1965, when KHJ-AM (930) switched to a top-40 format as "Boss Radio", they simulcast on KHJ-FM. In 1969-70, KHJ-FM aired Drake-Chenault's "Hit Parade" format, an automated mix of oldies and current hits. In 1971, the station had a top-40 format that was independent of sister station KHJ-AM.
In 1972, there was a switch to what was then called a "gold" format, featuring older hit songs from the past. At the time, this was a novel idea since most stations played current music, with a few older songs mixed in. With the switch in format came a new moniker, "K-Earth," which was named after the first "Earth Day" which had debuted to much fanfare the year before. The call letters were thus switched to KRTH. The jingle, "K-Earth 101" was also introduced at this time. It directly echoed the sound and notes of the jingle from KHJ-AM, the station where many of these "gold" songs had originally been played. (KHJ-AM was still on the air at this point, but was playing current Top 40 songs.)
During the 1970s and early 1980s, K-Earth vacillated between this "gold" format and an adult contemporary format. Current music was played, to varying degrees, throughout this period, though the focus was almost always on the past.
In 1985, K-Earth shifted to what was becoming known as an "oldies" format, adopting the motto "Classic Rock and Roll." KRTH began promoting its "Good Time Oldies" image with frequent TV ads featuring Beach Boys music, classic cars, palms, and the ever present K-Earth jingle. The songs featured were from 1955–1984, though the focus was largely on the late 1960s and early 1970s. Doo-wop, early rock, Motown, girl groups, Elvis, and the Beatles were the mainstays of the station's music mix. During the early and mid 1980s, K-Earth 101 would even feature huge specialties, including the #1 music weekend over the Labor Day Weekend. Every L.A. #1 song would be played in chronological order (utilizing the older KHJ radio charts and other local charts) from 1955 through 1985. The weekend before would feature "Runner's Up of Classic Rock and Roll Weekend", the #2's. Unfortunately, these specialties would be phased out in 1989 after the Beasley Broadcasting sale. The station was indeed sold to Beasley Broadcasting in 1988.
Oldies were a ratings success for KRTH, and for similar stations across the United States and Canada. In March 1989, another Los Angeles FM oldies station emerged at 93.1 under the call sign KODJ, and later as KCBS-FM as a direct competitor with KRTH. KODJ/KCBS-FM played oldies from 1955 to 1972 with a heavy focus on pre-1964 oldies. KRTH continued acknowledging the mid and late 1970s and continued playing moderate amounts of pre-1964 material until 1991, when management eliminated the 1980s music and most post-1972 songs. The two stations went head-to-head for a few years, with K-Earth consistently getting higher ratings and emerging as the winner. KODJ even changed its call letters to KCBS-FM and in early 1993 began playing mostly pre-1965 oldies. KCBS-FM successfully switched to a classic rock format in the fall of 1993 called "Arrow 93," but today offers an adult hits format called Jack FM. KRTH by then focused on the 1964 to 1969 period with moderate amounts of pre-1964 material and 1970s songs each hour. The station remained a competitor with Pasadena’s AM oldies station KRLA 1110 into 1998 when KRLA switched formats and frequencies. KRTH was sold to Infinity Radio in 1994. Infinity was purchased by Westinghouse (at time owner of CBS) in 1997, making KCBS-FM (by then Classic Rock) KRTH's sister station. In 2002, the station would be reunited under common ownership with the former KHJ-TV when CBS bought KCAL.
K-Earth continued with its oldies format throughout the 1990s. Toward the end of the decade, older songs from before the British Invasion of 1964 were increasingly dropped from the playlist, and the station began to showcase the late 1960s, especially Motown music, to a much greater degree. The playlist itself began to shrink, with only the biggest, most-requested hits from this period played in heavy repetition.
With its demographic aging and ratings sagging, K-Earth, along with most oldies outlets across the country, began adding 1970s songs into the playlist in the early 2000s (decade). Artists such as Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Abba, the Bee Gees, Earth Wind and Fire, and Peter Frampton were combined with 1960s artists such as the Supremes and the Beatles. Though still repetitive, the playlist was also rotated a bit more, with a few rediscovered oldies brought "out of the vault" on occasion, while other songs were "rested" from the rotation.
Whether by luck or due to the musical changes implemented, by the end of 2007, K-Earth had improved its ratings substantially and was once again a Top 10 Los Angeles station. More importantly from an advertising standpoint, the station was attracting a younger demographic. In 2010, K-Earth began adding songs from the late 1980s and early 1990s into its mix from artists such as Janet Jackson, The Bangles, Deniece Williams and The Police. KRTH still plays an occasional pre-1964 song such as "Shout", "Jailhouse Rock", or "Tequila" (about one every other hour).
A slight format change occurred recently as KRTH added adult contemporary Christmas music from performers such as Mannheim Steamroller, Air Supply, and Barry Manilow. Airing three times an hour, this holiday fare is designed to entice listeners away from adult contemporary KOST-FM, which annually shoots to #1 in the ratings with its all-Christmas music. (In years past, K-Earth played a similar amount of Christmas music, but only from "oldies" artists such as the Beach Boys or the Chipmunks.)
In 2007, KRTH began broadcasting its regular signal in HD. A second DJ-less channel, KRTH-HD2, features the 1955-1964 songs which have been removed from the main station's playlist and is branded as "K-Earth Classics on K-Earth HD2". Both HD signals can be received with an HD Radio. KRTH and KRTH-HD2 are both streamed online at http://kearth101.radio.com/. However, in early 2010, like other CBS radio stations, online streams were discontinued for listeners outside the United States.
KRTH has been sold twice in its history and changed hands in a corporate merger an additional time. It was first sold in 1989 to Beasley Broadcasting, and then again in 1994 to Infinity. In 1997, in a corporate merger, CBS Radio (the current owner) acquired the station.
In November 2009, the station reached its first milestone by reaching their first #1 Overall in the Arbitron 12+ Ratings. The station had never reached a #1 overall in its 37 years broadcasting as K-Earth.
On August 11, 2011, special jingles commemorated KRTH's 70th anniversary. KRTH is the oldest continuously operated FM station in southern California, as it signed on in 1941.
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