By Tamara Palmer
It’s the end of an era in Southern California as hip-hop radio station KDAY has been reportedly sold for $19.5 million to RBC Communications, which will flip the format to a Chinese language station.
KDAY was once a pioneering station on the AM dial that introduced the greater Los Angeles area to emerging hip-hop sounds from both New York and their own stomping grounds in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Dr. Dre, to just name one luminary, got an early kickstart when his World Class Wrecking Cru and later N.W.A. were heavily featured on KDAY. Hip-hop was blasted around the clock on the station until it ceased in 1991.
The station was later resurrected for a new generation when it took over the frequency at 93.5 FM in 2004. KDAY began broadcasting old and new rap hits, with a special emphasis on the West Coast sound, on and off for the next three years. In 2008, after a few brief switches in format, KDAY 93.5 FM solidified its commitment to hip-hop.
With the sale of KDAY, Magic Broadcasting has now taken itself out of the radio business in California, just as it has over the past three years with the sales of five other stations that were all located in Alabama. Radio Insight reports that Magic first tried to sell KDAY to a company called SoCal935 LLC for $35 million in 2010, but the sale was never completed.
In recent years, KDAY had much success producing the sold-out live events Fresh Fresh and Krush Groove, both featuring lineups heavy on West Coast talent and history. As RapFix spoke with performers at these shows, it was clear that KDAY held a special place in all of their hearts. “They play some of the other stuff that other stations play, but you hear these rare gems that no other station that I know of in the country is playing in hip-hop,” said Too $hort, backstage after headlining “Krush Groove” two years ago.
“If you’re not from LA, you wouldn’t know what KDAY means to us,” explained Mack 10 of the station’s importance to keeping the continuum of the culture alive when we talked to him after the Fresh Fest show later that year. “They’ve repped the West harder than any station in the world!”
Meanwhile, his Westside Connection Ice Cube recognized the station’s influence on the whole his career when he blessed the station with a closing performance at last year’s show, which was also the 20th anniversary of the LA Riots. He threw up praise to KDAY just as he got 6000 people to throw up dubs.
KDAY has currently sold out the two days of what appears to be the final Krush Groove concerts at the 6000-capacity Gibson Amphitheater in LA on April 19-20. The bill includes Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, DJ Quik, Too $hort, Dogg Pound, Warren G, Mack 10, Glasses Malone, and Compton’s Most Wanted. The absence of one of hip-hop’s strongest champions on Los Angeles airwaves, and the amazing live events that have gone with it, will surely be felt.