XETRA-FM (91.1 MHz) branded as 91X, and sometimes identified as XTRA-FM, is an English language, Mexican-owned radio station broadcasting from Tijuana, Baja California. It airs an alternative rock radio format. The studios and offices are on Cornerstone Court in San Diego's Mira Mesa neighborhood. The station is one of three Mexican outlets programmed by Local Media San Diego LLC, along with 90.3 XHITZ-FM and 92.5 XHRM-FM; LMSD also owns 100.7 KFBG. It is Mexico's first Alternative radio station and has influenced other radio stations (including XHMORE) to create the Spanish-language rock radio format in 1994.
|City||Tijuana, Baja California|
|Broadcast area||San Diego-Tijuana|
|Slogan||"Local. Independent. Alternative."|
|First air date||1968 (at 91.3 MHz)|
|HAAT||179 meters (587 ft)|
|Call sign meaning||Disambiguation of "Extra"|
|Operator||Local Media San Diego, LLC|
|Owner||Comunicación XERSA, S.A. de C.V.|
|Sister stations||KFBG, KFMB, XHITZ-FM, XHRM-FM|
As a Mexican station, XETRA-FM must carry mandated public service announcements, electoral advertising, the Mexican National Anthem at midnight and 5 a.m., and La Hora Nacional on Sunday nights. 91X's audio stream often blocks these features with alternate programming. The station is powered at 100,000 watts. It is considered a border blaster, covering the majority of San Diego County, as well as southwestern Riverside County, from its tower in Tijuana.
On November 20, 1968, Radiodifusora del Pacífico, S.A. de C.V., then-owner of AM 690 XETRA (now XEWW), received a concession for a new FM station with the call sign, XETRA-FM on 91.3 MHz. At first, the station broadcast with 3,000 watts from the AM transmitter site in Playas de Rosarito.
On September 5, 1978, XETRA-FM moved to 91.1 MHz and began broadcasting with 100,000 watts from a new transmitter site atop Mount San Antonio. The signal was aimed squarely at the San Diego radio market. XETRA-FM programmed an album-oriented rock (AOR) format. Initially, programming was recorded at the downtown San Diego studios in the Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich Building and driven across the border to the transmitter site several times a day. That proved to be unworkable.
Disc jockeys then began commuting from San Diego to Tijuana for each shift.
In 1979 Frank Felix started consulting programming at 91X. His format was based on a highly rated concept he developed as Programming Director at KBPI. His programming list consisted of 239 AOR tracks and deemphasized DJ personality and station promotions. "Every time a jock opens his mouth, he runs the chance of alienating someone." Felis said. "Most promotions are designed to sell a record album or record company, or to help out the sales department, none of which are my concerns. My concern is Arbitron".
Rock of the 80sEdit
On January 11, 1983, at 6 p.m., 91X followed in the footsteps of KROQ-FM in Los Angeles and switched formats to the "Rock of the 80s" modern rock sound. KROQ Program Director Rick Carroll was hired as the consultant. 91X played "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin as the final song of the AOR format. Immediately afterward, then-Executive Vice President and General Manager John Lynch made the announcement of the format change. DJ Todd Ralston went right into "Sex (I'm A...)" by Berlin. Former 91X on-air personality Jim LaMarca recounts the transition:
- "The day 91X (then known as XETRA-FM) went "Rock of the 80s," almost no one knew it was coming, so there was no speculation. An air staff meeting was called for 3 pm. These really straight liner-card jocks were sitting around the conference room when in walks wild Rick Carroll with a cardboard box. He dumps it on the table and says, 'I'm Rick from Los Angeles and this is your new format.' The first song was played at 6 p.m. by Todd Tolkoff who was given the name Mad Max. He said, 'This is 91X "Rock of the 80s" and this is "Sex" from Berlin.' Everyone at the station (remember, he is now in Mexico 30 minutes away) thought this song was too weird. It seemed slow and goofy, but hey this was all new to us. It also took forever. Well no wonder, he was playing a long-play version so the LP should have been playing at 45 rpm. Since we had never heard the song no one knew. This happened a lot."
This "Rock of the '80s" format evolved to the alternative music format of today.
During the 1980s and 1990s, 91X was one of the top-rated and most influential alternative stations in America.
Clear Channel acquisitionEdit
In 1996, the U.S. marketing and operating rights to 91X were acquired by Jacor Communications, and simultaneously the Mexican concession was transferred to XETRA Comunicaciones, S.A. de C.V. Jacor was acquired by Clear Channel Communications in 1999, which kept the modern rock sound in place.
In 2005, the FCC amended its ownership rules to make leases of foreign stations attributable to ownership within the U.S. market they serve: this placed Clear Channel over the FCC's 8-station limit for the San Diego market. This also included LMA deals on domestic stations.
Finest City Broadcasting, a new company under the direction of former Clear Channel/San Diego VP/Market Manager Mike Glickenhaus, took over operations of three of the four Mexican stations; Clear Channel temporarily retained the fourth, XHOCL-FM, before selling it to MVS Radio. Simultaneously, the concession was transferred to a new company, Comunicación XERSA, S.A. de C.V., owned 51 percent by silent Mexican investors and 49 percent by a Mexican company owned by Finest City (Controladora Finest City, S. de R.L. de C.V.). Glickenhaus left FCB in May 2007.
Broadcast Company of the AmericasEdit
In December 2009, Finest City, faced with considerable debt and foreclosure, put the entire cluster up for sale. On January 7, 2010, Broadcast Company of the Americas (BCA) emerged as the buyer in the foreclosure sale. BCA was owned by John Lynch (father of football player John Lynch). Lynch also served as XETRA-FM's vice president and general manager in its early days.
Lynch, operating under the name Noble Broadcast Consultants, also owned and operated AM 690 XETRA (now XEWW-AM), which shared staff and facilities with 91X. Clear Channel formerly owned the U.S. programming and sales rights to that station as well, and spun those rights off to a different operator.
On October 6, 2015, Midwest Television (owners of AM 760 KFMB and 100.7 KFMB-FM) announced that it had entered into a joint operating agreement with Local Media San Diego LLC, forming an entity known as SDLocal, to manage their collective cluster of stations. The intent of this agreement was to "[preserve the] local ownership and operation of San Diego's top-rated radio stations". The agreement ended at the end of 2016. Local Media San Diego eventually acquired KFMB and KFMB-FM outright from Tegna, Inc. on March 17, 2020, with KFMB (AM) being concurrently divested to Clear Channel's successor, iHeartMedia; Tegna had purchased Midwest Television's stations in 2018.
In early 2019, XETRA-FM changed to their current slogan, solidifying its continued local operations, and noticeably leaned towards AAA. However, it still airs some new music programming.
As of 2019, XETRA's chief rival is XHMORE-FM, which primarily airs a Spanish-language rock radio format. Other competitors include classic rival XHPRS-FM, which joined the competition in December 2018. Across the border, XETRA competes with CHR-leaning KBZT.
Past programming and personalitiesEdit
When Howard Stern was hosting a syndicated morning show on terrestrial radio, 91X was his original San Diego network affiliate. He was pulled from XETRA-FM in 1997 and moved to then-sister station 105.3 KIOZ after Stern's discussions ran afoul of the Dirección General de Radio, Televisión y Cinematografía, Mexico's broadcast content regulator. RTC threatened to sanction XETRA-FM for airing Stern's program, which on several occasions in late 1996 included what the Mexican government believed were anti-Mexican remarks that violated the Federal Radio and Television Law.
On December 27, 2007, Chris Cantore was let go from the alternative rocker after a decade of service.
On April 1, 2008, "The 91X Morning Show," hosted by Mat Diablo, debuted after a month-long marketing campaign that centered on the question "Who is Mat Diablo?" It lasted two years. On May 7, 2010, the "91X Morning Show" was canceled after control of XETRA-FM was transferred to BCA.
"Music In The Morning" was hosted by Oz Medina, who previously worked as 91X's Music Director and Afternoon Host from 1987-1993. Medina was later replaced by Matt Stone.
Until 2008, 91X aired Reggae Makossa, a program featuring reggae and roots music that is now heard on 102.5 XHUAN-FM. The program was originally hosted by Makeda Dread and Demaja Le. Demaja Le left in 1998 to program 88.3 KSDS. Makeda Dread still hosts the show.
Up until January 2012, 91X carried the syndicated Loveline, heard on weeknights.
- Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones. Infraestructura de Estaciones de Radio FM. Last modified 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2015-06-25. Technical information from the IFT Coverage Viewer.
- "Broadcasting Battle Rages Over Border". Los Angeles Times. October 29, 1978. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 2007-08-09. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- "Spanish firm buys operating rights for 690 AM, heard from Baja to L.A." San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on May 15, 2007.
- RPC: SCT Nov. 24, 2005 Letter - Concession Transfer - XETRA-FM
- "Local Media, KFMB Stations announce joint-operating agreement". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "KFMB-A, KFMB-F (100.7 KFM-BFM)/San Diego, Local Media San Diego To End Joint Operating Agreement". All Access. September 28, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Venta, Lance (March 17, 2020). "Local Media San Diego Closes KFMB AM/FM Purchase; Sells 760 To iHeartMedia". RadioInsight. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- Miller, Mark K. (February 15, 2018). "Tegna Completes KFMB San Diego Purchase". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- Freeman, John (1997-05-27). "91X lost Stern after rants stirred Mexico's rancor". San Diego Union-Tribune.
- "Local Media of America acquires Finest City Broadcasting in Foreclosure Sale". Retrieved 22 May 2011.