City of license Los Angeles, California
Broadcast area Greater Los Angeles
Branding Power 106
Slogan "Where Hip-Hop Lives"

105.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)

105.9 HD-2 for WorldBand Media (South Asian Radio)
First air date July 14th, 1946
Format Rhythmic Contemporary
ERP 25,000 watts
HAAT 925 meters
Class B
Facility ID 35498
Callsign meaning K PoWeR
Owner Emmis Communications
Sister stations KXOS
Webcast Listen Live

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 format playing Hip-Hop, R&B, and some Dance/Pop product.



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.

In May 1984 Century Broadcasting Decided to sell KMGG and St. Louis's KSHE to Indianapolis Based Emmis Communications.

Magic 106 would continue to climb in the ratings, but after seeing a unique niche to counter Top 40s KIIS and KKHR and Urban outlets KDAY, KJLH, and KACE (the latter three all signal challenged), Emmis would flip KMGG from adult contemporary to a dance music/Top 40 direction on January 11, 1986 and became KPWR, "Power 106."[1] Jay Thomas was hired as the new morning host. 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. Power 106 would Use the Moniker "L.A.'s Hottest Music" Broadcasting @ 72,000 Watts of Music Power.

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, 2006. 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.[2]

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 consisted 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. But after almost a year in the format, KMVN shifted directions to Rhythmic Oldies. With the unique combination of both KPWR and KZLA, the move gave 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 ended on April 15, 2009, when KMVN flipped to a Spanish format under a LMA with Grupo Radio Centro of Mexico City.


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 34, including large English speaking Latino 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 plays Top 40 music, KAMP-FM, like Power 106, also plays Rhythmic Contemporary, KXOL has their hurban format, and KHHT their Rhythmic Adult Contemporary direction. After KDAY began shifting to Old-School Hip-Hop in August 2009, KPWR briefly increased its playlist with Hip-Hop currents, but as of 2010 it began embracing Electropop tracks, and with KAMP moving in on their audience with their shift towards Rhythmic, KPWR continues to add Rhythmic Pop tracks in an effort to retain its Hispanic base, as they see KAMP as a serious competitor. As of 2011, Power 106 had decreased the amount of plays they give to Rhythmic Pop tracks so it can focus on R&B/Hip Hop product, but given the changing taste among its listeners, it continues to add the occasional Rhythmic Pop/Dance track.

Although Power 106 had moved away from the Dance music scene in favor of Hip-Hop, 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 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."

In May 2010, KPWR began streaming the station online.

In September 2011, Power 106 was named Large Market CHR Radio station of the year and awarded the Marconi at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Chicago, Illinois.[3]

On September 19, 2011, Power 106 partnered with and launched a Facebook integrated music streaming platform that was announced at Facebook's f8 convention. Power 106's jelli station features new music that is promoted on Power 106's New@2 program. Listeners can "rocket" songs up and vote them off the playlist with a "bomb". Songs can be dedicated and sent to friends via email and on their Facebook pages.

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.[4] 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 would be March 22, 2010. But on March 26, Big Boy's Neighborhood found a new syndicator when it moved over to Dial Global.[5][6]

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.

On July 27, 2010, sidekick Tattoo is no longer with the show. [3]

Big Boy is the recipient of 2 National Association of Broadcasting Marconi Awards for Major Market Personality of the Year.

On August 22, 2011, Luscious Liz Hernandez leaves Big Boy's Radio and is now with E! News. [4]

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), Class1c & Eddy Xpress (KDAY on-air mixers), and DJ Virman (who would later form the Electropop/Hip-Hop act Far East Movement).

Current Jocks

Big Boy's Neighborhood

Sports Dude, Jeff Garcia Rikki Martinez, Entertainment Reporter Louis G, man on the streets


  • Yesi Ortiz

3-7p DJ Felli Fel

7p-12a J Cruz




  • Powerhouse Concert
  • Cali Christmas


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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