98.7 KISS-FM is no more. The soul and R&B station will find a new home and name on the dial: 107.5 WBLS.
KISS-FM’s parent company, Emmis Communications, has announced that it’s selling the station’s intellectual property rights to WBLS, while ESPN will take over KISS FM's former frequency.
“WBLS and WRKS have been the voice of the tri-state black community for 30 years and we plan to merge the best of both stations to create a stronger voice to deliver the best in R&B music while also super serving our community,” said WBLS General Manager Deon Levingston, in a statement posted to KISS’s revamped website. The site features the station’s two logos side by side, along with the slogan “One Family. One Station. Our Voice.”
Paul Levinson, a communications and media studies professor at Fordham University, said the move is not surprising in an age where music fans can listen to whatever music they want, whenever they want, on line. Sports, he said, is still “well-served” by traditional radio.
“It’s just a very different kind of listening experience to follow some kind of sporting event or listen to sports commentary than it is to want to hear a specific song at a particular time,” he said.
Some KISS FM hosts will migrate to WBLS, according to Emmis. But morning show host Tom Joyner won’t be one of them.
Brooklyn resident Staci Celentano said she’ll miss him.
“He actually played like contemporary, alternative music, a little bit of pop culture music,” she said. “He’s a great DJ.”
Other fans of the station said they’re sad to see it go, but happy that WBLS seems committed to preserving part of its character.
“It’s exciting. It’s also sad,” said Sade Adona, who grew up listening to KISS-FM online before she moved to New York.
“When I heard the announcement I thought that we were losing KISS-FM,” she said. “But you know, it’s a big historical, monumental staple of New York and I think it’s a big deal for them to be merging.”
The station changes take effect on Monday, April 30.