KBLX-FM is an Urban Adult Contemporary radio station that broadcasts from the San Francisco Bay Area. Broadcasting on 102.9 FM, the station is licensed to Berkeley, California. The station has studios located in the SoMa district of San Francisco, and the transmitter is located atop the San Bruno Mountains.

Until its sale in April 2012, KBLX was owned for more than 30 years by the now-defunct Inner City Broadcasting Corporation and was better known as "The Quiet Storm" with a strong following among Bay Area listeners, especially the African American community.

History

KRE-FM and KPAT-FM

On April 29, 1949, KRE-FM signed on simulcasting KRE's programming. In 1962, the station changed its call letters to KPAT-FM. In 1973, it changed its call letters back to KRE-FM.[11]


KBLX "Soft and Warm, The Quiet Storm"

In 1979, the station was sold to the New York-based Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, headed by Percy Sutton (which also owned its flagship station there, WBLS), and was relaunched as KBLX (the call letters KBLS, which would otherwise honor its sister-station relationship with WBLS, were unavailable, assigned to another station in Kansas). It was one of the first true radio stations with an adult contemporary format, hybrid with an Urban Contemporary format to focus on The Quiet Storm R&B subgenre era at the time. KBLX marketed the station as an adult contemporary format, rather than urban, in order to attract a wider audience.

Throughout the 1980s, the station played an eclectic mix of R&B, jazz and soft pop, reflecting the diverse music culture of the Bay Area. KBLX was the inspiration for the creation and launch of various adult contemporary radio formats across the country, from Smooth Jazz to soft rock AC to Urban AC, the latter which KBLX modified its format to years later. (The Urban AC terminology did not exist until 1988). Even then, for some time the station played mostly smooth R&B, rarely playing any uptempo R&B, current or old school. This was done to establish the station's own identity apart from competition from now-defunct Urban stations KSOL and KDIA, or its current competitors KMEL, KYLD and KISQ. The station's musical selection was also forged by its intense competition with smooth-jazz arch-rival KKSF.

Even when KBLX quietly modified its format to Urban AC in the 1990s, the station continued to play jazz music in rotation—and this practice of mixing R&B and jazz songs on radio playlists has occurred on few Urban AC radio stations in some markets. However, KBLX played more R&B songs than jazz; the end result was a gradual phasing out of jazz from its playlist in recent years. From then on, KBLX has evolved into a true Urban AC station today, playing current and old school R&B, as well as uptempo R&B songs to match its competitors. Despite the changes, it still advertises itself as a "Smooth R&B" station, reflecting its "Quiet Storm" heritage handle —- although the station did re-integrate jazz vocals into its overall sound after KKSF switched from smooth jazz to classic rock in June 2009. The station has hosted the annual Stone Soul Picnic, which was first held at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland in 1998. It outgrew the location and since 2004, was held at Pioneer Amphitheatre in Hayward before relocating the venue at Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord.

For many years, KBLX and its AM sister station, KRE (now KVTO), were the Bay Area's only African-American-owned and operated commercial radio stations. From its inception in 1979, KBLX simulcast on KRE (later KBLX) until 1994, when the AM station was re-launched as KVTO, with a World Ethnic format, primarily serving the San Francisco Bay Area's Asian community. KVTO is now an affiliate of the Sing Tao Chinese Radio network and broadcasts in Chinese.

KBLX-FM "R&B 102.9"

On August 22, 2011, ICBC's creditors petitioned the United States Bankruptcy Court to force the firm to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy on grounds that the company's executives failed to accept a buyout offer. The filing resulted in majority control of ICBC being taken over by Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies, and basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson's Magic Johnson Enterprises as YMF Media. Only KBLX was intended to be sold to a different owner, leaving KVTO and KVVN to defect to YMF Media.

Entercom Communications announced the purchase of the station on April 1, 2012, for $25 million cash. The company announced its intention of keeping KBLX's format.[2][3] Entercom officially took control of the station on May 1, 2012, and fired the entire on-air staff of KBLX (except traffic reporter Joe McConnell). The firings included morning personality and program director Kevin Brown after 22 years, and the original general manager of the station. It ended "The Quiet Storm" format on KBLX after 33 years and transitioned the station to "R&B 102.9, The New KBLX", and added the Steve Harvey Morning Show. These corporate decisions were met with controversy and anger from longtime listeners of KBLX who felt that the heritage of the station built upon "The Quiet Storm" was destroyed when the station turned into a more mainstream R&B station. The station's license was assigned to Entercom effective June 28, 2012.

On October 12, 2015, KBLX dropped the syndicated Steve Harvey morning show in favor of a live-and-local program featuring Oakland-born Mark Curry, who starred on the ABC sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and was a frequent host of the syndicated music competition series Showtime At The Apollo. On KBLX, Curry is teamed with weekender/music director Kimmie Taylor and former afternoon host Victor "Big Daddy" Zaragoza. [7]

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio (which locally owns KCBS, KFRC-FM, KITS, KLLC, KMVQ, and KZDG) announced it would merge with Entercom.[12] On October 10th, CBS Radio announced that as part of the process of obtaining regulatory approval of the merger, KBLX would be one of sixteen stations that would be divested by Entercom, along with sister stations KOIT and KUFX, and CBS' KMVQ.[13] On November 1, Entercom announced that Bonneville will begin operating KBLX, KOIT, KUFX and KMVQ via a local marketing agreement when the merger of CBS and Entercom closed on November 17, while their licenses will be place into a divestiture trust pending a sale to a different owner within 180 days.[14][15][16]

Personalities

Current

  • Tony (Tony Sco) Sculfield and Tony Roberts - Morning Dream Team Co-Hosts
  • Kimmie Taylor (Kimmie Tee)-Morning Dream Team Co-Host News/Information, Music director
  • J. Martin - Morning Dream Team Producer
  • Sterling James - Middays
  • Donnie McClurkin - syndicated gospel show host
  • Antoine Davis - Host "AD in the Afternoon"
  • Armand Carr - Host of the Quiet Storm
  • The World Famous Rick & Russ Show with C.J. Flash - Mixshow DJ's
  • Nikki Thomas - Weekends
  • Delores Thompson - Weekends
  • Miranda Wilson - Host of Sunday Morning Inspiration
  • Renel - Host of Soul School Sunday
  • Filmore Mike Producer of Soul School Sunday

Past

  • Kevin Brown
  • Antoine Davis
  • Sterling James
  • Efren Sifuentes
  • B.K. Kirkland (the original PD and also worked at KBLX's former sister station, WBLS)
  • Kevin Nash
  • Jack Friday
  • Leslie Stoval
  • Trish Bell
  • Clifford Brown Jr.
  • Timothy Alexander White
  • Dorothy Reed
  • Brenda Ross - former KPWR jock
  • Les Williams
  • Belle Nolan
  • Ed McClune
  • John Chung
  • Ed Lee
  • Melissa Grey
  • Hugh Fuller
  • Rick Wiseman
  • Bonnie Quiroz
  • Nick Harper
  • Doug Lee
  • Bob Jones
  • Larry "Doc" Elliott
  • Sean "B.J." Barry
  • Chris Lewis
  • Steve Collins
  • Rick Holmes
  • Jay Smith
  • Chris James
  • Roy Lee Freeman
  • Rob Singleton
  • Kimberly Tanner Hollaway
  • Talaya Trigueros
  • Deberon Marchand
  • Keith Jenkins
  • Sylvester Jackson
  • Allen Wolfe
  • Tony King
  • Jan Sluzer
  • Paul Sullivan