KBIG (104.3 FM 104.3 MYfm) is an FM radio station in Los Angeles, California, owned by iHeartMedia. The station plays a Hot Adult Contemporary format heavy on music from current hits through the 1990s. The station has studios located in Burbank and its transmitter is based on Mount Wilson.
KBIG was first founded by John H. Poole in 1952 as an AM radio station originating from Catalina Island off the coast of California. Known as "The Catalina Island Station," Poole knew KBIG would have wide coverage of Southern California by broadcasting the station's directional signal across ocean water. KBIG was heard from Santa Barbara to San Diego, including the large audience in Los Angeles. The station became popular presenting an Island theme and scheduling music, news, and commercials on a different sequence from his competitors. "We knew if you changed stations during a commercial, you would always find music on K-BIG," Poole claimed. The call letters were named in honor of the station's original disc jockey, Carl "Mr. Big" Bailey. The AM station was sold to religious broadcasters in 1980 and now operates as 740 KBRT.
In 1959 KBIG began simulcasting its AM signal on the 104.3 FM frequency (where KBIG continues to broadcast today). The format was Beautiful music, playing lush instrumental versions of Hollywood, Broadway and pop songs with an occasional vocal. KBIG also had its staff of "KBIG Singers", who would sing the station's jingles and also record station albums to offer to listeners.
Over time, the Beautiful music format began to age. In 1987, the station dropped instrumentals and became a soft adult contemporary station, placing it as a direct competitor to 103.5 KOST, which had made a similar transition a few years earlier. Both stations enjoyed high ratings and were heard in many Los Angeles offices and work places.
The "Upbeat" evolution
By 1990, KBIG dropped the 1960s songs and began playing more current hits. In 1992, KBIG shifted towards Hot AC. This lasted until 1995, when KBIG moved back towards mainstream AC to again compete against KOST. In the 1990s, KBIG was home to "Disco Saturday Night." In late 1996, KBIG once again moved toward a Hot AC format. Bonneville decided to sell KBIG to Chancellor in 1997. In exchange, Chancellor sold KZLA to Bonneville. In 1998, the station relaunched as "The New K-BIG 104", replaced most of its airstaff, and switched back to a mainstream AC format. During this time, KBIG briefly became the Los Angeles area affiliate to the nationally syndicated Delilah show. In 1999, Chancellor acquired KOST and KFI from Cox Radio. The same year, Chancellor and Capstar had merged, forming AMFM, Inc. With AMFM now owning KOST, management moved KBIG to a Hot AC format with a lean on '80s gold, uptempo AC currents, and Rhythmic pop.
In 2000, AMFM was purchased by Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia). On July 18, 2005, KBIG made major changes by cutting back on commercial time (concentrating on 30 minute music sweeps), dropped the jingles and the top of the hour IDs (i.e., "... It's four o'clock in the West ..." would no longer be heard), and tweaked the musical direction by focusing on less currents and more recurrents from the 1980s and 1990s, with most of the music leaning towards a rhythmic approach. DJs also began to read out the individual letters of the station's ID, "K-B-I-G", instead of the "K-BIG", although briefly in the summer of 2007, the "K-Big 104" slogan would sometimes be used.
In 2003, David "Chachi" Denes became KBIG's Program Director, at the young age of 28.
In July 2006, KBIG also began expanding Dance mixes to weekends. Usually the mixes were featured on its nightly programs "Boogie Nights" (7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays) and "Thump Radio" (midnight to 5 a.m. Friday–Saturday). While some suspected a shift to a Dance direction, KBIG management insisted that there were no changes in the works at the time.
On August 17, 2006, KBIG picked up new competition as Emmis Communications changed longtime Country music rival KZLA to Rhythmic Adult Contemporary as "Movin' 93.9 KMVN." The move gave Los Angeles two stations with a Rhythmic-sounding direction aimed at Adults, even though KBIG was technically an Adult Top 40. In 2007, Emmis launched a $5 million marketing campaign which has had little effect on KBIG. CFO Pat Walsh said it was the "single largest marketing program in Emmis history." CEO Jeff Smulyan seemed unsure of KMVN, saying rhythmic AC MOViN' "may or may not be right", but after a shaky start in its first two arbitron books, KMVN did move up in the Spring 2007 period, while KBIG saw a dip.
Despite having been a Rhythmic based radio station (at the time), KBIG was a loyal affiliate to the legendary Casey Kasem and his weekly countdown show for Hot AC stations, "American Top 20," which ran Sundays from 7:00am to 10:00am. Former KBIG morning man Charlie Tuna was Kasem's regular substitute host.
In February 2007, KBIG added Delilah back to its lineup. The news of having the program air on KBIG generated a lot of talk because her show is geared toward a mainstream AC audience, which was viewed as out of place on KBIG with its Rhythmic direction. However after adding Delilah, KBIG began adding more Mainstream AC product into the playlist.
"104.3 MY FM"
During the first week in September 2007, there was talk about KBIG flipping formats and several domains had been registered. On September 7, Charlie Tuna confirmed a change was coming when he announced that he was out as morning host on , but would continue to work within the Clear Channel/Los Angeles cluster. At 10 a.m. on September 8, 2007, immediately after Tuna's show ended, the station dropped rhythmic adult contemporary and began identifying itself as "My FM," adopting the adult top 40 format found on sister station KYSR. KYSR switched to alternative rock on September 20, 2007. The first 2 songs on My-FM were the Plain White T's Hey There Delilah and Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer. The rhythmic adult contemporary format heard on KBIG moved to sister station KHHT.
Denes described KBIG's new approach as "Contemporary Adult Hits." In an interview with "R&R" Clear Channel L.A. VP of programming Michael Martin said, "With today’s consumer wanting to custom tailor everything to their liking the name MY is a perfect brand for radio. This is a station designed by the listeners to play music they tell us they want to hear. How do we know what they want to hear? Extensive market research and continual weekly music information to keep the station familiar, fun and family friendly." Martin continued, "MY is designed to sit right in the middle of STAR 98.7 KYSR (which has evolved to Alternative) and 103.5 KOST, playing a great mix of music styles and eras. The MY playlist is deep, filled with contemporary music from all genres. It’s a mix that is not currently heard in L.A. radio."
Denes added in the same article, "104.3 MYfm will play adult hits like Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, Shakira, Madonna, Santana and much more. Every song we play is or was at the top of the charts."
With the move, Delilah was once again dropped, leaving Los Angeles without a Delilah affiliate.
Sean Valentine, who had been at 102.7 KIIS-FM, hosts the morning show along with Jill Escotto and Kevin Manno.
KBIG re-introduced American Top 20 with Casey Kasem on Sunday, February 24, 2008. The show aired in the same time slot it aired prior to the "My" flip, Sundays from 7 a.m to 10 a.m. until Casey retired from the program on July 5, 2009. Also, Disco Saturday Night was carried by My FM for nearly a year after the format change. After Labor Day 2008, the show was replaced by "8 Hours Of 80s" until Spring of 2009.
In April, 2009, Sean Hamilton, long-time afternoon host at WKTU-FM in New York, joined My FM as host of its afternoon show, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hamilton remained in New York and voicetracked his show for My FM. The current afternoon host is Dave Styles.
Dawson McAllister Live was added on Sunday evenings in July 2009. My FM is one of the few Hot AC stations to carry the show as it usually is found on CHR stations and geared toward a teenage and young adult audience.
On January 23, 2006, KBIG launched an HD2 subchannel called "Studio 104", which focused on Disco Hits. The station had been programmed by Blake Florence. On June 4, 2008 at Noon, KBIG's HD2 dropped the all Disco format to introduce an LGBT-oriented HD radio station called Pride Radio from iHeart Media. It plays Dance and Rhythmic Hits.
On February 8, 1994, KBIG was sued by singer Barry Manilow, who sought $13 million in damages and $15 million in punitive damages, claiming that one of their advertisements was causing irreparable damage to his professional reputation. The ad, a 30-second spot which began airing on January 31, suggested that people listen to KBIG because it does not play Manilow's music. The lawsuit was filed in Orange County Superior Court by Los Angeles attorney C. Tucker Cheadle. Two days later, KBIG/104.3 FM agreed to drop the commercial poking fun at the singer, but a lawyer representing his business interests stopped short of agreeing to withdraw a $28 million lawsuit.