KISQ (98.1 MHz, "98.1 The Breeze"), is a commercial Soft Adult Contemporary FM radio station licensed to San Francisco, California and owned by iHeartMedia. The transmitter is in Mount Beacon atop the Marin Headlands above Sausalito, California, while its studios are in the SoMa district of San Francisco.
|City||San Francisco, California|
|Broadcast area||San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California|
|Branding||98.1 The Breeze|
|Slogan||Your #1 for Relaxing Favorites at Work|
|Frequency||98.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Repeater(s)||See § FM Booster's|
|First air date||July 17, 1958 (as KAFE)|
|HAAT||309.6 meters (1,016 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Sounds like "Kiss" (former branding)|
|Former callsigns||KAFE (1958-1965)|
(AMFM Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||KIOI, KKSF, KMEL, KNEW, KOSF, KYLD|
KISQ is the flagship station for "The Breeze" network of workplace-oriented radio stations.
98.1 FM first signed on the air on July 17, 1958 as KAFE with a classical music format. KAFE was owned and built by engineer Dan Solo, who had previously worked at KRE. Saying that automation made operating a station cheaper, he applied for a license in 1957. Solo's first proposed transmitter site, a 50 ft (15 m) tower at his home, wound up violating a zoning ordinance, and KAFE signed on from a site atop Grizzly Peak. Solo sold his station to Hal Cox in 1959; Cox relocated the tower to Sausalito.
In 1965, the McLendon-Pacific Corporation acquired KAFE and paired it with its existing station, KABL 960 AM, as KABL-FM. The station featured a beautiful music/easy listening format. By the early 1990s, the format had given way to soft adult contemporary, and competed directly with KOIT, which had successfully made the same transition a few years earlier. The format was a modest success, although it was unable to overcome KOIT's dominance in the ratings. In the spring of 1993, KABL-FM re-branded as "B98" and transitioned to a mainstream AC format focused on hit songs from the 80s and 90s, placing the station between soft AC KOIT and hot AC KIOI. The move did little to improve station ratings.
On February 14,1994, KABL-FM switched to a 1970s-based classic hits format, branded as "Big 98.1". Jay Peterson was music director during this time. The call letters were changed to KBGG-FM on January 2, 1995. Later that year, Shamrock Broadcasting of Burbank, California reached a deal to sell KBGG, as well as KNEW and KSAN, to Chancellor Media.
The format was a moderate success. The station later expanded its playlist to include songs from the late 1960s and early 1980s.
On July 22, 1997, after playing "No Matter What" by Badfinger, KBGG began stunting with sounds of radio tuning and ground control transmissions, while promoting a new format to come. At 1 p.m. the next day, Chancellor Media (later to become AMFM, Inc., and then Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia)) flipped KBGG to Urban AC as KISQ, "98.1 Kiss FM". The first song on "Kiss FM" was "Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire. Despite the format, KISQ leaned heavily on a format similar to a Classic Soul/Urban Oldies format, with a playlist of more old school R&B music with occasionally few new R&B songs (mostly mainstream with no neo-soul). This may have helped garner a diverse audience of blacks, Latinos, and whites who listen to R&B and this station in particular. The station's owners may have also formatted the playlist this way not only to protect longtime Urban Contemporary-sister station KMEL, which plays some old school in addition to current Hip Hop/R&B, but to differentiate itself from competitor KBLX, which plays new and old R&B. Since September 2006, KISQ has also been in competition with KMVQ, a Rhythmic Adult station, but when Clear Channel decided to gravitate most California urban AC stations to rhythmic AC stations (including KHHT in Los Angeles), KISQ retained the Mainstream Urban AC format. Mediabase began reporting the station's playlist, with newer music of those sourced from rhythmic AC stations. By 2008, KMVQ took on the Top 40 format at the time the "MOViN' " format declined in popularity, allowing KISQ to evolve its format more in a rhythmic AC direction.
By 2011, the station was described as having a gold-based Rhythmic Oldies format, with no currents. It also began playing a few new wave hits from the 1980s from artists such as The Police and Human League. At the same time as the format adjustment, the station changed its logo to one bearing resemblance to a logo most urban oldies/rhythmic oldies used during the peak time of the format in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
In June 2015, the station added "Throwback" to its slogan while adding some classic hip hop in its playlist, removing the new wave and Disco tracks from the station (most of which moved over to sister KOSF), in order to better compete with KRBQ. The next month, the station reduced most of the classic hip hop tracks in favor of more familiar upbeat R&B and dance tracks, as well as ballads.
As 98.1 The BreezeEdit
On April 13, 2016, at 2 p.m., after playing "Kiss and Say Goodbye" by The Manhattans and "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men, KISQ flipped back to Adult Contemporary as "98.1 The Breeze." The first song on "The Breeze" was "Easy" by The Commodores. Core artists of the format include Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Elton John, Celine Dion and George Michael.
The new format positions KISQ up against KOIT’s older demographics (KISQ registered a 2.3 share in Kiss's last book, the March 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings, while KOIT had a 4.6 share).
Due to the success of the format, iHeart used the 2016 format change to launch a new network of stations around the country. As of 2019, the network has numerous stations branded as "The Breeze" (or a variant thereof) in multiple major markets.
KISQ is rebroadcast on the following FM boosters:
|City of license||Facility
|KISQ-FM2||98.1||Pleasanton, California||59993||10,000 (Vert.)||−55 m (−180 ft)||D||FCC|
|KISQ-FM3||98.1||Concord, California||59973||1,000 (Vert.)||884 m (2,900 ft)||D||FCC|
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-09-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) HD Radio Guide for San Francisco
- "Engineer Promotes Own Radio Station". Oakland Tribune. July 11, 1958. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
- "KISQ San Francisco Flips To AC The Breeze" from All Access (April 13, 2016)
- KISQ San Francisco Flips to Soft AC The Breeze Radioinsight - April 13, 2016