KTWV is a commercial FM radio station owned by CBS Radio. KTWV is located in Los Angeles and broadcasts at 94.7 MHz to Los Angeles and its suburbs in Orange County, Riverside–San Bernardino and Ventura Counties. Airing an Urban Adult Contemporary radio format branded as "94-7 The Wave", the station has studios on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles, and its transmitter is based on Mount Wilson.
From 1968 until 1987, the 94.7 frequency was home of KMET, a very popular album-oriented rock station owned by Metromedia. Prior to KMET, the station was called KLAC-FM, named for its original AM sister station KLAC (570 AM). KMET's ratings were high until the early 1980s when it lost ground to the competition. Many observers believe the station's ratings struggles were in large part caused by embracing the advice of New York music consultants and abandoning its identity as the "Soundtrack for Southern California." Specifically, it abandoned the spontaneity of having disc jockeys pick the music to be played on the air. Together with reduced advertising budgets, this resulted in significant ratings drops.
Metromedia sold its TV stations in 1986 and restructured and became known as Metropolitan Broadcasting. By the end of 1986, the rock format on KMET had very low ratings and as a result, the format would end on February 14, 1987.
The station changed to a new age music/soft rock/contemporary jazz format with the nickname "The Wave," with initial focus primarily on non-vocal new-age music. The first song on "The Wave" was Sting's "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free". During the Wave's new age music period, management told the station employees to refer to The Wave as a "mood service" rather than a "radio station". For the first 19 months, there were no live disc jockeys; instead, there were "vignettes" done by actors, informing listeners of the time, where the current hour was a part of the dialog. Ratings were weak, and John Sebastian was hired as the new Program Director. On September 19, 1988, live jocks returned to the station. Sebastian hired Don Burns, Talaya Trigueros, Keri Tombazian, Amy Hiatt and China Smith.
The Wave is often regarded as the first NAC station in the United States. But some media writers disagree, preferring to award that title to KLRS in Santa Cruz, California. KLRS went on the air one month after The Wave, but was the first station in North America to play a true new-age music format, continuing to do so until its demise in 1990.
The era of The Wave has the distinction of being the only time legendary disc jockey J.J. Jackson has ever worked at the station. Jackson was a veteran of then-rival rock station KLOS (while The Wave was still rocker KMET) for ten years, before becoming one of the original VJ's" (video jockeys) on MTV when the channel debuted in 1981. Jackson was a DJ for a brief time at The Wave in 2004.
There was a Canadian Smooth Jazz radio station that was named after KTWV. CIWV-FM in Hamilton, Ontario, also serving Toronto, used "The Wave" moniker and was also located on 94.7 FM. It ran from 2000 until 2011, when it flipped to Country.
In February 2010, veteran Los Angeles programmer Jhani Kaye, who also programs Classic Hits-formatted sister station KRTH, took over programming of KTWV from the departed Paul Goldstein. Kaye, who previously programmed crosstown mainstream AC competitor KOST, made immediate changes to KTWV's format, increasing the amount of R&B and soft-pop vocals in the station's playlist and reducing the number of smooth jazz instrumentals played (with most of the remaining instrumentals being cover versions of pop hits), transitioning into a smooth adult contemporary direction. In addition, all references to the term "smooth jazz" were eliminated from the station's web site and on-air positioning, as the station reformatted to become more of a competitor to Kaye's former station, KOST.
As of May 28, 2010, longtime on-air personality Don Burns was no longer heard on weekday afternoons. His show had been voice-tracked from his home in the Palm Springs area. The station replaced Burns with Deborah Howell, doing the show live from the KTWV studios. Longtime Wave air personality Keri Tombazian was also released as the station made further air staff changes.
KTWV's morning program is hosted by Pat Prescott. Between May 2010 and June 2012, Prescott co-hosted the show with Kim Amidon. Amidon, a former morning DJ at adult contemporary station KOST, replaced departing host and musician Brian McKnight in the summer of 2010. (In turn, McKnight's predecessor on The Wave's morning show was saxophonist Dave Koz, who has a successful syndicated radio show of his own.) Prescott has hosted or co-hosted the morning program since 2001.
In November 2013, the station introduced a revamped logo still utilizing the same font and branding, as well as a format tweak and a slogan change from "Southern California's Place to Unwind and Relax" to "Smooth R&B." As of June 2014, KTWV reintroduced some mainstream AC pop crossovers into the playlist and updated its website, which dropped the "Smooth R&B" tag from its logo. By February 2015, after the flip of KHHT from rhythmic oldies to urban contemporary, KTWV began adding more classic soul and current R&B songs to fill the void of KHHT's departure. At the same time, most of the mainstream AC pop crossovers were dropped. The station also adopted the new "Soul of Southern California" slogan. The moves have seen KTWV's ratings improve, putting the station among the Los Angeles market's top ten statons. As of the May 2015 Nielsen ratings period for the Los Angeles market, KTWV currently holds a 4.4 overall share of the market.
Smooth Jazz in Los Angeles can now be heard at , or out of Palm Springs.
On September 15, 2010, KTWV launched "Wave Classics", an HD Radio format featuring older smooth jazz instrumentals no longer heard on the main station, on its digital HD2 sub-channel. As a result, the FM simulcast of sister station KNX was moved from HD2 to HD3, ending the Los Angeles simulcast of another sister station, Country-formatted KFRG in Riverside, California. And shortly after, the KNX simulcast moved to KAMP-FM 97.1 HD2 marking the short return of KFRG which only lasted a few months.