KYLD (94.9 FM, WiLD 94.9) is a commercial radio station in San Francisco, California, serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The station airs a Top 40 (CHR) format on its analog primary signal. The station has studios located in the SoMa district of San Francisco, and the transmitter is located atop the San Bruno Mountains.
The 94.9 MHz signed on March 12, 1958 with the KSFR call letters.
The "original" KSAN
This station was home to legendary freeform rock station KSAN from 1968 until 1980, when they switched to country music. The KSAN call letters were transferred to 107.7 FM on July 4, 1997 in a frequency swap that brought KYLD to 94.9.
In the 1970s, an Urban/R&B station operated on 107.7 and was known as KSOL (K-Soul). Originally broadcast on 1450 AM (now KEST), KSOL moved to the FM position in the early '70s, making it the first Urban contemporary radio station on the FM dial in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sly Stone played a part in influencing the station to the point where it was a successful radio station in the region. While KSOL managed to fend off competition from KBLX unscathed throughout the 1980s, the station's ratings began to decline due to competition from KMEL, then a Top 40 station which was slowly evolving in a rhythmic-turned-mainstream urban direction. Eventually, the decision was made to end KSOL 107.7 and its format. The DJs were notified beforehand and held a goodbye show to send off KSOL on February 10, 1992. The final song on KSOL was "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson. After a very brief stunt of country music, KSOL segued into a 72-hour loop of "Wild Thing" by Tone Lōc.
KYLD originally started their current format at 107.7 licensed to San Mateo, California when owned by United Broadcasting on February 13, 1992. The first song was "D.M.S.R" by Prince. For the first year and a half, the station retained the old KSOL call letters. Allen Shaw's Crescent Communications bought the station in December 1993 and changed KSOL's call letters to KYLD the following year. They also purchased 99.1 in San Jose from Viacom, and began simulcasting 107.7's programming in the South Bay, in order to help fill 107.7's signal limitations. Program Director Rick Thomas and Music Director Michael Martin were the original team that set a plan in motion that was the beginning of the end for the then dominant KMEL. They came with a strategy of playing "old school" and up tempo freestyle/dance songs like those heard on heritage San Jose radio station HOT 97.7. Of course, KMEL finally settled in on the urban contemporary format at the same time, and that station and KYLD battled with each other throughout the mid-1990s.
At 12:01 AM on July 2, 1997, KYLD moved to 94.9, giving the station more signal coverage. The station's music mix includes current R&B/Hip-Hop, Dance, and some mainstream/rhythmic pop product, along with radio personalities and mixers.
In the wake of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, KYLD was sold that year to Chancellor Media (before merged with Capstar to become AMFM, and later, merged with iHeartMedia's predecessor Clear Channel). The move eliminated the ongoing competition with now-sister station KMEL; KMEL maintained its audience approach and format, while KYLD shifted to a Pop-heavy Rhythmic direction as the market had no Top 40/Pop station of its own. KZQZ was the last CHR/Top 40 station in The Bay Area, as they dropped the format in 2002 for a classic hits format. Up until February 2015, KYLD was a reporter to Nielsen BDS and Mediabase on their Rhythmic panel, but was moved to both trades' Top 40/CHR panel.
The Top 40 void, however, would finally be filled by two new competitors. In September 2006, KYLD got some competition when KFRC changed their oldies format to a Rhythmic AC format. KFRC changed their call letters to KMVQ in May 2007, and by November 2008, shifted to Top 40/CHR. By September 2009, KNGY joined the fray by dropping its Dance format for Top 40/CHR as well, becoming KREV. While KREV has some-what struggled to attract an audience, KMVQ has become a serious competitor to KYLD, as KMVQ has beaten the station in several ratings periods, sometimes by a wide margin.
The station's logo was briefly featured in Colette Carr's music video for her 2013 single "," where it can be spotted on an iPhone.
In 1993, a story was circulating that President Bill Clinton tied up traffic on an LAX runway for over an hour while getting a haircut on Air Force One from the hairstylist Cristophe. KYLD's morning DJ Mancow Muller staged a parody of the incident on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge during rush hour. He used vans to block the westbound lanes on the bridge while his then sidekick, Jesus "Chuy" Gomez, got a haircut. As a result of this stunt, Muller was not only fired from the station, but prosecuted and subsequently convicted of a felony by a San Francisco Municipal Court. His sentence included three years probation, a $500 fine and 100 hours of community service. KYLD eventually paid $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a bridge commuter.
After Muller's departure, KYLD replaced his program with yet another successful—and yet later, another controversial—morning show, The Dog House, hosted by JV (Jeff Vandergrift) and Elvis (Dan Lay). Their program became the #1 rated morning show in the Bay Area receiving higher ratings than Howard Stern. Despite their success in the ratings, they would find themselves in trouble with station management over a series of stunts that would get them in hot water with the local authorities. One stunt in particular had members of the show dressed up as escaped inmates (and law enforcement officials to fine them for the prank and endangering the public) and causing a walkout at a San Jose high school. But the last straw for The Dog House came on April 21, 2005, when station management fired the show after they made offensive comments toward two female members of the San Francisco Renegades Drum and Bugle Corps. The band's members, Lisa Johnson and Robin Kinoshita, were at the station to promote an annual fundraiser when JV and Elvis allegedly made lewd remarks towards them. JV has since returned to KYLD as their morning host.
On August 6, 2008, KYLD PD Jazzy Jim Archer and evening host Joe Breezy were fired over an April Fool's Day 2008 prank, in which the station promised to give away a pair of breasts from "Dr. Sanders." Unfortunately, it was a promo to give away chicken breasts from Kentucky Fried Chicken. The winner was not impressed and filed a complaint against the station.
KYLD-HD2, AKA "FuZic", is a subcarrier of KYLD. The station began broadcasting as "WiLD en Espanol" on January 19, 2006, offering a commercial-free, jockless Rhythmic/Dance Top 40 format targeting a bilingual Hispanic audience. In early 2007 it was replaced by a new format, the brainchild of Program Director "Jazzy Jim", which focuses on future hit music, thus the name "FuZiC". It's a unique blend of Unsigned Artists and Independent Label releases alongside "Album Cuts" from Established Superstar Artists and "Foundation Songs" (tracks that gave much inspiration to today's music). FUZIC is also the only Bay Area HD-2 Channel to have "Jocks" and "Mix-Shows". In 2007 they were nominated for Top HD-2 Channel in the U.S.