Live 105 returns to the Bay Area airwaves, reviving the alt-rock format

Less than two years after Audacy’s sudden switch to an oldies Top 40 format under the name Dave FMThe station at 105.3 FM (KITS) will regain its familiar name and sound at 10:53 a.m. on Monday, June 5.

The revival comes six years after the station was initially rebranded as Alt 105.3 and a reformat that occupied the frequency for more than three decades with a playlist loaded with classic alternative rock acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Intercept modeNirvana, Oasis and green day.

John Allers, Regional Vice President of Alternative Programming, told The Chronicle that Audacy is committed to recapturing the essence of Live 105. This includes reintroducing some familiar on-air characters like Aaron Axelsenmiles”Miles DJAnzaldo and Ben “Party Ben” Gil, who will serve as the station’s official voice.

“We fully understand and respect what Live 105 has meant to everyone who has listened to it over the years,” Allers said. “Everything we do will be real.”

Radio host Aron Axelsen served as Music Director for Alt 105 (formerly Live 105) for 23 years.

Mariel Hayes

Genethe veteran music director at sister station Audacy Alice at 97.3 (KLLC-FM), will fill the same position on Live 105. Allers said the rest of the talent will be announced on the air in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the station would operate without regular DJs.

“We realize that one of our core values ​​is not just playing music that people love, but adding context to that music and becoming a companion to the audience,” Allers said. “We want to help organize culture as much as we help music.”

Since its inception in 1986, Live 105 has been important in breaking the monotony of mainstream radio by introducing local listeners to left-hand pop acts from around the world, such as Cure, New Order, Radiohead, and Strokes and white lines.

It has also been the home of Bay Area radio personalities such as Steve Masters, Big Rick Stuart, Mark Hamilton, Roland West, Alex Bennett, and Lori Thompson.

Steve Masters (right) at Live Event 105.
Steve Masters (right) at Live Event 105.105- Nada

In December 2017, following the merger between CBS Radio and Entercom, the station’s name was changed to Alt 105.3, as part of the newly formed Audacy Corporation, a Philadelphia-based media company that currently owns 235 radio stations across the United States. Despite the name change, the format has remained the same Dave came.

Bay Area listeners were surprised when Audacy made the switch to its newest format in October 2021. Sporting a blue Dodger logo and positioning itself as “Totally Random Radio,” Dave FM has ditched all of its on-air talent to serve primarily as a Spotify playlist mix of Makers Success in the 80’s such as Pat Benatar, Journey, and Huey Lewis.

The switch reminded many of the shift that occurred in 2019 when San Francisco’s freeform, album-oriented rock radio station KFOG, on 104.5-FM, was replaced by KNBR, an AM sports and talk station.

Live 105 Green Christmas Acoustic Concert on December 13, 1993.

Live 105 Green Christmas Acoustic Concert on December 13, 1993.

Leah Suzuki / The Chronicle 1993

Allers said that while he was not involved in talks to bring back Live 105, he hoped it would when he joined Audacy.

He said, “They looked at the history of what we think is a trademark and probably thought it was a mistake to let it go the first time.”

For his part, Axelsen called the Live 105 revival “a huge triumph for Bay Area radio.”

Live 105 has been known for hosting weekly programming dedicated to local and electronic music, as well as organizing the popular BFD Festival during the summer and the Not So Silent Night concert series in December. The station also regularly hosted free concerts in San Francisco at Union Square and the Embarcadero.

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