KPEZ, known on-air as "102.3 The Beat", is a radio station licensed to and serving Austin, Texas, operating a Rhythmic Contemporary format. The station broadcasts with an ERP of 26,000 watts from a transmitter site near Sunset Valley, TX and is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. (previously Clear Channel Communications). It shares studios with four other sister stations in the Penn Field complex in the South Congress district (or "SoCo") of south central Austin within walking distance of St. Edward's University; it has broadcast here since 2002 after moving from a downtown Austin office building off of Barton Springs Road (which it shared with KHFI-FM).

"The Beat," long synonymous with the Hip Hop/R&B music genre under rhythmic and mainstream urban formats, is in its fifth incarnation in the Austin region. It originated on 104.3 in 1998, first as KQBT, and later KXBT (now KLQB); it later moved to 104.9 before switching formats entirely in 2008 (now KTXX). Clear Channel picked up the branding one year later where it aired on KFMK before the format swap with KPEZ in 2010.

Station history

This frequency was originally occupied by Austin's first full-time Spanish language FM radio station, KMXX. However, KMXX existed for just over a year before the call-letters were changed to KPEZ and the format became easy listening "EZ 102". Later, KPEZ switched formats to classic rock "Z 102". KPEZ became "Channel 102-3" under a classic-leaning "AAA" format (dubbed "World Class Rock") in the fall of 2004, retaining most of its airstaff. Ironically, the change to a Christian format (and subsequent dismissal of most on-air employees) came in December 2005, just five days before Christmas.

Due to the privatizing of Clear Channel in 2010, FCC ownership regulations required that the Austin cluster spin off one license. There were plans underway to sell ownership of the KFMK (105.9) license to Aloha Trust LLC , but on May 21, 2010 Clear Channel announced that it planned to move KFMK's format to the 102.3 frequency, taking advantage of better coverage and a more powerful signal, beginning May 31, 2010. The Christian Contemporary format, which resided at the 102.3 frequency, moved to 105.9 and would be purchased by Crista Ministries. 105.9 would become contemporary Christian-formatted "Spirit 105.9" in April 2010.[2] As of June 2014, KPEZ-HD2 rebroadcasts Casey Kasem's American Top 40 broadcasts from the 1970s and 1980s which are also heard on the iheartradio platforms.

Personalities

Current:

  • Kramer
  • Micki Gamez
  • Frankie V.
  • Chino
  • Val Santos

Former:

Station management

  • Program Director - Jonathan Reed
  • Assistant Program Director - Ryan Kramer
  • Music Director - Ryan Kramer