Contributed by Jeffrey James Holland on CD, here’s one we know virtually nothing about. KDAY was a somewhat legendary Top 40 station in the 60s and 70s, but here in 1989 it’s an Urban station playing mainly rap and a few slow jams. There’s three jocks highlighted along with the stop sets with ads tailored to the African American community.

Not sure how popular the station was in ’89, but it is notable that they were promoting themselves as an AM Stereo station. We give them extra credit for that!

If you know the details of this or any KDAY broadcast from that time period, we’d appreciate your comments below.

By Steve West

Steve West is a 41 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve is the founder of and - All the BIG Hits!

11 thoughts on “Composite: 1580 AM Stereo KDAY Santa Monica/Los Angeles | 1989”
  1. KDAY was Top 40 in the late 50s and early 60s (with Art Laboe, George Carlin and Alan Freed among the DJs)…but as a daytimer at 1580, never had the signal to compete.

    The FCC authorized a night pattern for them in the late 60s, the station went 24/7, but despite some interesting talent (the GM was a former sales manager at KHJ who managed to get Sam Riddle and Tom Maule to come to KDAY), the numbers still weren’t there.

    Part of the problem was the nighttime signal was directional…and sent most of the power out over the Pacific. KDAY had listeners in Hawaii…but not in East L.A.

    In the early 70s, programmer Bob Wilson (who later founded Radio & Records)took the station to an album-rock approach and hired Wolfman Jack for nights in 1972. Wolfman’s one year at KDAY brought them their highest ratings to that time. When he left for WNBC, they fell again.

    In 1974, with Wilson gone, KDAY went to a very polished R&B format featuring J.J. Johnson from KFRC. It steamrollered KGFJ (1,000 watts at 1230) and, in a town where KHJ had always played a lot of crossover black music, it was huge..the station went from #23 to #3 overall…and in 1975, got within 8/10ths of a point of KHJ.

    After that, it was a slow slide back down. After a 1986 no-show, they became the first all-rap station (with some slow jams mixed in like here).

    L.A. realtor Fred Sands (who also owned KNAC-FM in Long Beach)bought the station in 1991 and flipped it to a business format. It’s now Asian language, but there’s a hip-hop FM in L.A. using the KDAY calls now.

  2. Legendary station in Southern Cal. One of the first radio stations in the country to exclusively play rap in heavy rotation when at the time other stations like WBLS and 98.7 Kiss were dumping it on the weekends(they slowly started adding rap into rotation when respectively Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack and DJ Red Alert and Chuck Chillout shows took off). I had a pleasure to interview on my college radio show a couple of years back Greg Mack he was the former MD of KDAY during its glory years. Here is the link for the interviews on youtube. //…118.2621.0.2896.…0.0…1ac.1.OQvUpc6TWEU

  3. I am the voice on this aircheck from AM STEREO KDAY. Jesse Torrero ‘The Brown Beauty On Duty’. I was there from the early 80 till it went dark in 1991 of which I participated in that last show on being the 3rd to last voice heard on one of the greatest AM stations ever 1580 KDAY in Los Angeles. It was a sad day when it was sold to Fred Sands, who frankly did not care about the station nor the community it served. I worked every shift at the station from mornings to all nights and had the number rated Saturday night show according to Arbitron weekend numbers called ‘The High Energy Show’. You can find out a little more about that cutting edge show from a interview I did recently at the link: // go to my web site at // see what I am up to now. KDAY was the best radio experience I have had in my 35 years on the air. Ed Kirby (GM), Jack Patterson (PD), Greg Mack (MD), Rory Kaufman (Public Relations Director) JJ Johnson, Russ Parr, Lisa Canning, Don Tracy, Mark Morganella, Steve Woods, Roger Alde, Lee Marshall (King News), Gary Dillard, Tony G, Mwok, Joe Cooley, Hamburger Helper (HAZZE), La Flavor (DJ Eddie), Capricorn Boys, Jetaime, Gilbert, and yours truly Jesse Torrero all were part of something very special that will never be here again. We were the first staion in the world to break HIP HOP, RAP, and Dance Music 24/7 365 days ayear and we pulled big numbers in the 3s at its highest for a directional AM signal a night that carried out into the Pacific Ocean. I once got a call from Russia, Hong Kong Japan, Alaska, Hawaii amazing what 50000 watts can do on a clear and perfect night. KDAY simply the best!

  4. Hey Jesse, Pleasure to listen to you and KDAY.There are some pretty cool videos on youtube from 1580. If you have any more airchecks from those days, I know I would love to hear it…………..

  5. To Me 1580 KDAY Could Ever I Stress ! Ever Be The Same .With Out The ReaL Cast & The Real Hip Hop I Love !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I was an intern at at 1580 KDAY in the late 70s when it was the jingle was K-D-A-Y Santa Monica…the BEST Beat in Town. It later changed to the Beat of the 80s. It was a very interesting time, my introduction into the radio business. It’s hard to believe now, but AM was hotter than FM back then and KDAY was at its height. A LOT was going, so much so, I wasn’t even allowed to go downstairs where the jocks were a lot of times. The late Steve Woods was the THE man, along with J.J. Johnson, also Michelle Roth and i forgot the other female personality. I could write a book, and probably will. In fact, i found this page doing research for a film project that takes place in L.A. in the 70s. I may be reaching out to you Jesse Torres if you happen to see this post!

  7. How can I get those early 80’s and mid 80’s sunday night scratching, mixing, almost 3 hours scratching, and mixing every sunday archives,like don’t feel it by hashim, Egypt Egypt by Egyptian lover,when doves cry by prince,electric kingdom by twilight 22, five minutes of funk,by whodini, dial a freak by uncle jamms army, ,its time by hashim, and its like that by run dmc. funky little beat by connie, the show by doug e fresh and slick rick and all of these songs that I mention in this comment. 1985 and 1986 Monday thru Friday in the afternoon, there was 30 minutes mixing and scratching, there was a mix i want where when the dj played ll cool j,rock the bells, when rock the bells song was almost over with the dj blend in ll cool j,rock the bells to utfo Roxanne roxanne song and part of utfo Roxanne roxanne song the dj played both records of utfo of roxanne roxanne song vocal version and no words part of utfo roxanne roxanne song at the same time. And i want also a mix of nasty boys by janet Jackson where the dj played both records of nasty boys vocal version and no words part of nasty boys song at the same time.

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