|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Frequency||106.7 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Slogan||The World Famous KROQ|
|Subchannels||HD2: "The ROQ of the 80s" (New wave/Classic alternative)|
HD3: "New Arrivals" (New Alternative)
(Entercom License, LLC)
|KAMP-FM, KCBS-FM, KNX, KRTH, KTWV|
First air date
|November 1962 (as KPPC-FM)|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|Sounds like "K-rock"|
5,600 watts with beam tilt
|HAAT||423 meters (1,388 ft)|
Listen Live (HD2)
KROQ-FM (106.7 FM, pronounced "kay-rock") is a radio station licensed to Pasadena, California serving the Greater Los Angeles Area. Owned by Entercom, it broadcasts an Alternative rock format, branding itself as The World Famous KROQ.
The station has studios at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in the Crestview neighborhood in West Los Angeles. The transmitter is based in the Verdugo Mountains. It was the flagship station of Kevin and Bean (revamped as "Kevin in the Mornings With Allie & Jensen" in 2019) and former show Loveline, hosted originally by Jim "The Poorman" Trenton with Dr. Drew Pinsky, and later by "Psycho" Mike Catherwood with Pinsky. The station's main competitor is iHeartMedia's KYSR.
On April 23, 1962,KPPC-FM signed on the air. It was owned by the Pasadena Presbyterian Church as a companion to its KPPC, a limited-hours AM radio station that had broadcast since 1924. In 1967, the Pasadena Presbyterian Church sold KPPC-AM-FM to Crosby-Avery Broadcasting for $310,000. The church had been attempting to sell the radio stations for a year; station manager Edgar Pierce said the church found commercial radio incompatible with the noncommercial nature of its other efforts. Crosby-Avery was owned by Leon Crosby, a general manager of San Francisco's KMPX, a station that had just gone to a full-time freeform progressive rock format, and Lewis Avery, former partner in a national ad sales firm. With KMPX soaring to success but KPPC, with its middle-of-the-road format, ailing, Crosby and Avery brought in the architects of KMPX, Tom and Raechel Donahue, to turn around their new station in Southern California.
In 1969, Crosby sold KPPC-AM-FM and KMPX to the National Science Network for $1.2 million. Crosby used the funds to buy a then-silent San Francisco television station, KEMO-TV. National Science Network's management of the KPPC stations was turbulent, capped by an October 1971 mass firing of the air staff, but the period also included technical upgrades. NSN moved the studios out of the church basement and to 99 Chester Street in Pasadena and the transmitter to Flint Peak, with a slight power increase to 25,700 watts.
In 1971, Ludwig Wolfgang Frohlich, founder of the National Science Network and previous owner of an ad agency, died. On his death, control of the estate was transferred to Ingrid and Thomas Burns.
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, with National Science Network's estate selling off its assets, KROQ's owners bought KPPC-AM-FM (immediately divesting the AM station to meet then-current ownership limits), 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!" Meanwhile, KPPC on 1240 AM was sold to Universal Broadcasting, a religious broadcaster, and remained on the air with its limited-schedule of Wednesday evening and Sunday operation until subsequent owners took the station 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.
KROQ's rebirth was simultaneous with the emergence of punk rock in the late 1970s and new wave, and KROQ quickly became the voice of the burgeoning Los Angeles punk and new wave scene. Disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer introduced many new bands on his show. As punk expanded its hold on the music scene during the mid to late 1970s, and KROQ steadily adding more of it to their freeform format, this cemented their place in the Los Angeles market.
In 1979, Shadoe Stevens once again left the station, with Rick Carroll taking over as program director, and took all of the new music and combined it in a Top 40 formatic structure. 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 80s" evolved. During that decade, the station mixed punk rock, such as The Ramones, The Clash, The Pandoras and X, with New Wave, such as U2, Oingo Boingo, Talking Heads, The Police, The Cars, Devo, The Weirdos, Sparks, Fear, Berlin, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Blondie, Ska and similar genres with artists such as English Beat, Fine Young Cannibals and 60s underground rocker Iggy Pop, and huge mainstream artists such as The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones. It was also not uncommon for certain KROQ dee-jays to play current hip-hop and soul/funk artists such as Arrested Development, Prince and Parliament Funkadelic.
Carroll, as a consultant, took the "Rock of the 80s" format to other stations, including 91X in San Diego, KOEU in Palm Springs, California, KMGN FM in Bakersfield, California, The Quake in San Francisco and KYYX in Seattle, among a few on the US West Coast in the 1980s.
In 1986, KROQ was purchased at a then-record $45 million by Infinity Broadcasting. By the late 1980s, the station had started dipping in the ratings. New wave had declined in popularity and electronic dance bands, such as Depeche Mode and New Order, started getting more airplay on the station. Also during this period, KROQ began focusing on college rock (or so-called alternative rock) by adding bands into their playlist such as R.E.M., the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Psychedelic Furs, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Replacements, Camper Van Beethoven, Jane's Addiction, the Pixies, The Alarm, The Cult, Violent Femmes, Love and Rockets, Dramarama and Social Distortion, as well as heavier acts like Faith No More and Living Colour and guitar-oriented hip-hop groups like Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys.
Throughout the 1990s, KROQ's format focused on mainly alternative rock (or alternative metal), grunge, punk pop, Britpop, industrial music and nu metal, giving up-and-coming bands their first exposure on the station or in Southern California, including Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Oasis, Foo Fighters, Green Day, The Offspring, Sublime, No Doubt, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Bad Religion, Weezer, Blink-182, Hole, Garbage and System of a Down. They also began adding heavier acts to their playlists such as Metallica, Tool, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, all of whom were staples on the Long Beach heavy metal radio station KNAC, formerly an alternative/new wave/punk rock radio station. These helped the station surge back to number one in the ratings, for which it remained until the mid-2000s, when it slipped to the middle-of-the-pack, ratings-wise, for Los Angeles area radio stations.
The 1990s also saw a continuation of the weekday morning Kevin & Bean Show, as well as "Rodney on the Roq," hosted by Rodney Bingenheimer, on Sunday nights. Late at night the station played Loveline, hosted by "The Poorman" Jim Trenton and Dr. Drew Pinsky. The show's purpose was to bring correct information regarding human sexuality and relationships to those 13 to 25 years of age. KROQ also began its own festivals Almost Acoustic Christmas and Weenie Roast, which have taken place every year since 1990 and 1993 respectively, except 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 in Glendale at an altitude of 2,650 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").
In February 2010, CBS Radio, which controlled the live stream, blocked access for listeners outside of the United States.
In February 2015, KROQ severed ties with Boyd "Doc on the Roq" Britton 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 Facebook to boycott the station for not renewing their contracts.
Although considered one of the legendary radio stations in the country and still a strong revenue generator for parent company CBS, ratings for KROQ have been rather depressed over the last couple of years. In fact, competitor KYSR moved ahead of KROQ in 2015 including a 3.4 to 2.3 lead in the most recent August 2016 Nielsen ratings.
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.
KROQ broadcasts an HD Radio subchannel, The ROQ of the 80's, which features classic rock from the 1980s. In August 2018, Entercom announced it would re-launch the subchannel, adding former KROQ personalities Freddy Snakeskin and Tami Heide as DJs.