KWAV is a commercial radio station in Monterey, California, broadcasting to the Santa Cruz-Monterey-Salinas, California, area on 96.9 FM. Its studios are in Monterey while its transmitter is located on Mount Toro, south of Salinas. KWAV is a Class B FM radio station with a higher power than would be granted under the present U.S. Federal Communications Commission rules; it is often referred as a "Superpower" Grandfathered Class B.
|Broadcast area||Santa Cruz|
|Frequency||96.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1961|
HD3: Smooth jazz
|Former callsigns||KHFR (1962–1966)|
|Operator||Stephens Media |
(Full Acquisition pending)
|Owner||Mapleton Communications |
(Mapleton License of Monterey, LLC)
KWAV airs an adult contemporary music format branded as "K-Wave 96.9".
In the mid-1990s, KWAV was branded as "Today's Hits, Yesterday's Favorites." The Adult Contemporary music mix was upbeat, featuring an R&B-leaning playlist with Cher, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Paula Abdul, The Pointer Sisters, Vanessa Williams, Brian McKnight, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Smokey Robinson, Timmy T, Stevie B, Expose, and Ace of Base as core artists. Other core artists included Amy Grant, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Sting, Michael Bolton, Billy Joel, Richard Marx, Paul Young, Restless Heart, Don Hensley, Foreigner, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, Huey Lewis, Heart, Roxette, Basia, and Swingout Sister. Also included were numerous pop/alternative crossover tracks by Melissa Etheridge, Duran Duran, Carrie Underwood, Lisa Loeb, Hootie & The Blowfish, Meatloaf, and Dionne Farris. By early 1996, the music mix became very upbeat - almost Hot Adult Contemporary in nature - and included songs by Blues Traveler, Gin Blossoms and The Cranberries.[original research?]
In February 1996, the station revamped its image, becoming "Soft Rock Favorites" and shifting its playlist to include more 1970s songs.
In March 1999, the station dropped its "Love Songs Til Midnight" all-request call-in program in favor of the nationally syndicated Delilah program. "LSTM" host Candy James subsequently moved to middays.
From 2000-2005, the station's music mix included numerous R&B oldies by Al Green, The Supremes, The Spinners, and The Four Tops.
In 2003, local TV personality Barry Brown and Karen Hamilton joined as hosts of the morning program (5:30 to 9:00).
In 2005, the station shifted its playlist to include fewer oldies and more of the upbeat 1980s and 1990s R&B-leaning tracks it used to play in the mid-1990s. The station also began adding 1970s-era R&B/disco tracks by artists such as Earth Wind & Fire, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor, and The Beegees. The branding remains "Soft Rock Favorites."
On July 1, 2019, Mapleton Communications announced its intent to sell its remaining 37 stations to Stephens Media Group. Stephens began operating the station that same day.
Vic Johnson, Bob March, Teddy Greene, Michael Redding, Jerry Connelly, John Van Camp, Dean Knox, Greg Dean, Jeff Powers, Dennis Miller, Bo Woods, Alan Richmond, Sandy Shore, John Garabo, Gary Russell, Sebastian Thomas, Debi McCallister (now at KQFC in Boise, Idaho), Jack Peterson, and the team of Barry Brown, Jay Peterson and Karen Hamilton. Afternoon drive and Production Director Gary Summers.
- Smith, D. (September 9, 1998). ""Superpower" Grandfathered FM's". w9wi.com. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- "Monterey radio stations KWAV, KBOQ change hands". The Monterey County Herald. May 30, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (1 July 2019). "Stephens Media Group Acquires 37 Stations From Mapleton Communications". Radio Insight. Retrieved 4 July 2019.