KROQ-FM (106.7 FM) – branded 106.7 KROQ – is a commercial Alternative Rock radio station licensed to Pasadena, California serving the Greater Los Angeles Area. The call sign is pronounced "kay rock." It was the flagship station of Loveline hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky and "Psycho" Mike Catherwood, and The Kevin and Bean Morning Show.
The station has studios at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in the Crestview neighborhood in West Los Angeles and the Lafayette Square neighborhood in the Mid-City region. The transmitter is based in the Verdugo Mountains.
Originally, 106.7 FM was KPPC-FM, owned by the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. They broadcast religious programming with a co-owned AM station. As the church encountered difficulties operating the stations, they sold the two stations to an outside company, Crosby-Avery Broadcasting, with the church retaining the right to broadcast its services over both stations. Until 1969, the station still broadcast from the basement of the church.
In 1967, Tom and Raechel Donahue created a freeform progressive rock format at co-owned KMPX in San Francisco. KMPX became a big success, and in 1968, the Donahues were sent to Pasadena to introduce the format to the ailing KPPC-FM.
The following year, after a few bounced paychecks, dress code regulations, and other rules changes, The Donahues and the disc jockeys at both KMPX and KPPC walked out on the stations in what was called by some at the time as "The Great Hippie Strike." The former KMPX and KPPC staffers were later hired at Metromedia-owned KSAN in San Francisco and KMET in Los Angeles. KPPC hired new staffers and kept the freeform format, though they floundered for several years following the strike. In 1969, the two stations were sold to the National Science Network.
In April 1970, the studios were moved out of the church basement. In September of that year, the FM transmitter was moved to Flint Peak, a mountaintop adjacent to Pasadena, and the station's power was significantly upgraded.
KROQ AM and KROQ-FM
Country music station KBBQ (1500 AM) in Burbank became KROQ in September 1972, changing its format to Top-40 and hiring established disc jockeys from other stations. The new KROQ called itself the "ROQ of Los Angeles". In 1973 KROQ's owners bought the struggling KPPC-FM from National Science Network, which was forced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to sell their stations due to compliance issues, changed the calls to KROQ-FM and hired Shadoe Stevens to create a new rock format described as high energy "all-cutting-edge-rock-all-the-time" and began simulcasting as "The ROQs of L.A.: Mother Rock!"
KPPC (AM) was sold to Universal Broadcasting, and remained on the air with its limited-schedule of Wednesday evening and Sunday operation until subsequent owners took the station — by then renamed KBLV — off the air permanently in 1996.
The two stations were wildly successful initially with the new format, but poor money management plagued the enterprise. When concert promoter Ken Roberts (1941–2014) booked Sly and the Family Stone for one KROQ-sponsored show at the Los Angeles Coliseum and the station found itself unable to cover expenses, Roberts agreed to pay for the band to play the show in exchange for a small ownership stake in the station. Roberts joined a sprawling ownership group which included a doctor, two dairymen, a political lobbyist, a secretary, and several other minor investors. Roberts with his background in the music industry made him a logical choice for president of the struggling company in the minds of the other shareholders, and he was elected such at the first meeting he attended in 1974.
Unfortunately, by 1974 the station's finances were already untenable following a year of commercial-free programming — a stunt implemented in an effort to gain market share. The stations' debt load reached $7 million; paychecks began to bounce and Shadoe Stevens and the bulk of the staff walked out, shutting the stations down. The closure would last for nearly two years.
In late 1975, the FCC ordered KROQ to return to the airwaves or surrender the stations' licenses. With barebones equipment, KROQ returned to the airwaves, broadcasting initially from the transmitter location, followed by a penthouse suite in the Pasadena Hilton Hotel, then across the street from the Hilton (117 S. Los Robles).
Ken Roberts returned to the reborn station in a more forceful ownership role, buying out his partners one by one until he remained the sole owner of the station. Shadoe Stevens was re-hired as a programming consultant and air personality with others like Los Angeles radio legends "The Obscene" Steven Clean and Frazer Smith.
KROQ's 1976 rebirth was perfectly timed with the emergence of punk rock and new wave and KROQ quickly became the voice of the burgeoning Los Angeles scene, with disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer joining the station and introducing many new and local bands, including The Ramones, The Runaways, Stray Cats and The Go-Gos, on his massively influential shows. As punk expanded its hold on the music scene of the mid to late 1970s, KROQ steadily adding more of it to their freeform format, cementing their place in the Los Angeles market. The station's proximity to Hollywood and the Los Angeles punk rock scene gave it a unique place in the development of this newer music and much later with the alternative rock genre. In the late 1970s and early 1980s KROQ was quickly becoming one of the most influential radio stations in broadcast history.
Shadoe Stevens once again left the station and Rick Carroll took over as program director in 1979 and took all of the new music and combined it in a Top 40 formatic structure. For a time the station mixed punk and new music of The Ramones, Devo, The Weirdos, Sparks, Fear, X, Berlin, and Blondie with huge mainstream artists such as The Beach Boys or even The Rolling Stones. By 1980 the station had fully committed to a post-new wave modern rock orientation. KROQ became an even greater success as the "Rock of the Eighties" was born.
By the late 1980s, the station started dipping in the ratings. New wave declined in popularity and electronic dance bands, such as Depeche Mode and New Order, started getting more airplay on the station. Listeners, confused about the lack of rock music on the station, started turning away, many to competitor AOR station KLOS.
In 1986, KROQ was purchased at a then record $45 million by Infinity Broadcasting, which merged with CBS in 1997, and is now owned by CBS Radio. Trip Reeb, a veteran radio program director, was brought on board. He made major changes, including terminating many long time DJs, streamlining the playlist, and bringing back more "guitar-based" rock music, including staples of the Long Beach heavy metal radio station KNAC: Guns N' Roses, Metallica, The Cult, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Gradually, the format switched from AOR freeform to Alternative Rock, which the station still follows today.
The station experienced similar popularity to their early 1980s heyday during the early and mid 1990s. The rise of grunge and punk pop bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Weezer, Green Day, The Offspring and others, combined with new shows such as Kevin & Bean and Loveline, as well as concert events such as "Weenie Roast" and "Almost Acoustic Christmas", helped the station surge back to number one in the ratings, which it remained until the mid 2000s, when it slipped to the middle of the pack ratings wise for L.A. area radio stations.
KROQ helped to launch the careers of previously low-key Southern California bands, such as The Offspring, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime, No Doubt, Rage Against the Machine and Tool. They pride themselves on being "world famous" for their discovery of up-and-coming artists and are often the first US station to promote new rock bands before their large-scale success. KROQ was also the first commercial station to play the Venice crossover band Suicidal Tendencies, when their song "Institutionalized" was added to their playlist and became one of KROQ's most requested songs of 1983.
Originally located at 117 S. Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena, the station moved to 3500 W. Olive Avenue in Burbank in 1987 as part of the purchase agreement and to be closer to the music industry. In 2002, the station was moved to a facility at 5901 Venice Boulevard in the Crestview neighborhood in West Los Angeles.
Unlike most other (Class B, but with grandfathered greater than B facilities) FM stations in Los Angeles whose transmitters are atop Mount Wilson, KROQ's (Class B) transmitter is located on Tongva Peak (which replaced Flint Peak in Glendale at an altitude of 2500 ft), which results in somewhat weaker signal coverage.
In 2004, KROQ began broadcasting in HD Radio. On February 20, 2006, KROQ added streaming music from the radio station to its website. On June 9, 2006, KROQ launched an HD sub-carrier, KROQ HD-2, which airs new wave and alternative tracks from the 1980s which were popular during KROQ's heyday (and is also branded "KROQ 2: Roq of the 80s"). This somewhat justified the dropping of the long-running Flashback Lunch, until then nearly the sole remnant of the new wave and 1990s modern rock days.
In February 2010, CBS Radio, which controls the live stream, blocked access for listeners outside of the United States.
In February 2015, KROQ with both Boyd R. Britton aka "Doc on the Roq" and Lisa May after deciding to drop news and traffic. The news came as a shock for longtime listeners as Doc on the Roq had been reporting news for the station for 27 years while Lisa May had been reporting traffic for the past 24 years. Fans took to to boycott the station for not renewing their contracts.
The station was awarded Radio Station of the Year in 1992 and 1993 by Rolling Stone magazine readers poll issues.
In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets Alternative station of the year award by Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included WBCN in Boston, Massachusetts, KTBZ-FM in Houston, Texas, KITS in San Francisco, California, KNDD in Seattle, Washington, and WWDC in Washington, DC.
KROQ was the recipient of an Alternate Contraband Award for Major Market Radio Alternative Radio Station of the Year 2012.
KROQ was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.
Notable former staff
- Jimmy Alvarez (Late 1980s to mid 1990s)
- Richard Blade (1982–2000)
- Adam Carolla Loveline, "Mr. Birchum" on the morning show (1995–2005)
- Carson Daly (1996)
- Raechel Donahue (1980–86)
- Mark Goodman (1990s)
- Edwin Gould aka Jed the Fish (1978–84, 1985–2011)
- Chris Hardwick (1994–98)
- Tami Heide (1991–2004)
- J.J. Jackson (1987)
- Jimmy Kimmel "Jimmy the Sports Guy" on the morning show (1994–99)
- "Spacin'" Scott Mason (1979–2000), former Director of Engineering; West Coast at CBS Radio
- Frank Murphy, producer of Kevin and Bean
- Kennedy (1991–92)
- Cassandra Peterson "Elvira Mistress of the ROQ" (1982–83)
- Dr. Drew Pinsky Loveline
- Riki Rachtman Loveline (1993–96)
- Frazer Smith (1976–80)
- Matt "Money" Smith "KROQ Sports Guy" (1994–2005)
- Shadoe Stevens (1973–80) First air personality and founding program director.
- Jim Trenton "The Poor Man", creator and host of Loveline. He hosted the show for many years with co-host Dr. Drew Pinsky (1982–93)
- Ian Whitcomb (Weekends – early 1980s)
- KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas, first aired in December 1990
- KROQ Weenie Roast, first aired in June 1993; from 2005 to 2009 and again in 2012, this festival had been presented in May. For the first time in six years, it returned to its original air time on June 5, 2010.
- KROQ LA Invasion, first aired in August 2001; this festival has not been presented since 2007.
- Epicenter, first aired in August 2009.
- KROQ Calendar & New Music, a compilation of new singles that premiered in the subsequent year (1995–present)
- Rodney on the ROQ, Vol. 1 a classic punk compilation from KROQ's Rodney Bingenheimer
- Rodney on the ROQ, Vol. 2 more good punk from KROQ's Rodney Bingenheimer
- Rodney on the ROQ, Vol. 3 even more punk from KROQ's Rodney Bingenheimer
- At KROQ, a CD-single by Morrissey
- On KROQ's Loveline, CD by Hagfish
- The Best of KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas (1999), a compilation of concerts recorded at the Acoustic Christmas
- Kevin & Bean's Super Christmas (2006)
- Kevin & Bean's Christmastime In The 909 (2004)
- Kevin and Bean: The Year They Recalled Santa Claus (2003)
- Kevin and Bean: Fo' Shizzle St. Nizzle (2002)
- Kevin and Bean: Swallow My Eggnog (2001)
- Kevin and Bean: The Real Slim Santa (2000)
- Kevin and Bean: Last Christmas (1999)
- Kevin and Bean: Santa's Swingin' Sack (1998)
- Kevin and Bean: A Family Christmas in Your Ass (1997)
- Kevin and Bean: Christmastime in the LBC (1996) – cassette tape
- Kevin and Bean: How the Juice Stole Christmas (1995) – cassette tape
- Kevin and Bean: No Toys for OJ (1994) – cassette tape
- Kevin and Bean: Santa Claus, Schamanta Claus (1993) – cassette tape
- Kevin and Bean: We've Got Your Yule Logs Hangin' (1992) – cassette tape
- Kevin and Bean: Bogus Christmas (1991) – cassette tape
- Kevin and Bean: Feel the Warmth of Kevin and Bean's Wonderful World of Christmas (The White Album) (1990) – LP
- Kroqing in Pasadena, a single from XTC (198?)
- Richard Blade's Flashback Favorites, Volumes 1–6 (1993)