October 3rd, 2009

What happend to the Los Angeles radio station KZLA?

KZLA for years was owned by Malrite. In the 1970s they had an adult contemporary format of some sort. They also had an AM simulcast station. 710 KMPC radio owned by Gene Autry was the country music station for years and in the late 70's they flipped to Big Bands and Standards. By 1980 several stations picked up country music formats such as 570 KLAC owned by Metromedia at the time and KHJ 930 owned by RKO at the time in 1980. At that point KZLA AM and FM also went country.

The three country music outlets struggled including KZLA. In 1983 KHJ dropped country and returned to an adult contemporary format of some type. KLAC though held its own. At this point KZLA began to grow in the ratings as Los Angeles' only FM country station.

Metromedia sold KLAC in 1987 to Malrite, which had sold its AM station to an ethnic broadcaster. KLAC then moved to a classic country format. By 1990 though, KLAC went to an Easy Listening/Standards format from Westwood One. KZLA now established itself as LA's only Country Music station.

In 1994 Shamrock acquired KZLA and KLAC in a group deal. In 1996 Chancellor would acquire the two stations. The following year, Chancellor and Evergreen merged. Evergreen already had KKBT (then on 92.3) and KOST 103.5. Chancellor would acquire Viacom's KYSR 98.7 and 100.3 KXEZ. This gave Chancellor 5 FM stations. Later that year Bonneville made a corporate deal to swap several stations. Under that deal, Chancellor would have 6 FM stations, including KOST, KBIG, KYSR, KKBT, and KXEZ 100.3(which would change formats and calls), plus two AM radio stations: KFI 640, and KLAC 570. Bonneville, in return, would acquire KZLA.

As a result, KLAC and KZLA were under different owners. KZLA over the years mixed in a few non-country pop songs in their format, and also plays more classic country than most country stations. Bonneville eventually exited Los Angeles and sold KZLA in 2000 to Emmis, the station's current owners.

In 2006, KZLA began to carry NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races as the local affiliate of the Motor Racing Network. The first broadcast was the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

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