Streams

WBLS Absorbs KISS-FM; ESPN Takes Over Frequency

Friday, April 27, 2012

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.

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Comments [19]

Charles scott

I'm L.I. N.Y. I Grew up a Wbls & kiss fm listener. We don't have Michael Baisden or Tom Joyner is because like other black owed campanies, bls sold out to white as well. I live in FL, now & still listen bls online. Thank God because I also listen to Tom Joyner & Michael Baisden online & wish others are doing so as well

May. 07 2013 11:15 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

WBLS has been the voice of urban music for the better part of my life. They were playing rhythm and blues
before any other station. It was WBLS and WNJR. Their personnel such as Frankie Crocker, Hal Jackson (may he rest in peace), Montague The Magnificent and all their other D.J's were top of the line. The addition of Felix Hernandez is tantamount to adding a hall of fame player to your line up. He plays music that is unparalleled.. My concern in listening
is the quality of the sound. I have found a home at WBLS. Keep on keeping on!

Jul. 29 2012 03:12 PM
rickey amis

i grew up on kiss fm and red alert i also listen to wbls however when it was 10pm on saturday night you would always find my listening to the red alert show i think it is so sad what happen to kiss please bring back bob slade because he had a show on sunday night that would just wrap up my whole day he would play nothing but oldies and i really enjoyed that show so please bring him back because his show was the best im glad that bls have picked up some of kiss fms personalities however please bring back bob slade he was and still is the best

May. 16 2012 09:31 AM
Patricia from Newark New Jersey

I was shocked and devestated that Kiss FM was taken off the air. We no long have a choice in music. We will no longer have the same vechicle for information and community activism. This is sad for both New York and New Jersey . If you really want to make us stronger, find a place for both Tom Joyner and Micheal Baisden at BLS.

May. 14 2012 03:14 PM
Marianne Tate

I am so sorry that KISS FM, Tom Joyner and the Morning Show, Michael Baisden and others that worked there are no more. I wish the truth about this downturn comes to light and reveal the details about what really happened sooner than later. We were never prepared but spoofed at the end when KISS left their listeners without saying goodbye. I feel both WBLS and KISS make a difference in the black community. It is up to the audience to speak out about what's needed and what they want in a radio station; positive role models like the forementioned. This is not the first time this has happened and I'm sick of history repeating itself over and over again.

May. 11 2012 07:05 PM
Dana L from Plainfield,

I feel as though I have been robbed. It isn't a surprise to me that something like this would happen. Anytime we have something or someone that is positive, uplifting, and truthful, they are going to silence and try to destroy it. There is so much power in knowledge... Keeping us in the dark (blind , uninformed, and complacent) is their complete mission. That is when WE will be completely at their mercy...
I am surprised that the artists are not out and commenting on this. This will have a great impact on them!!!
It is time for us to come together and demand the respect!!!!!! It is time we rely on self, not on people or interests that have no interest in us only what we can do for them....

May. 01 2012 02:56 PM
Jae Wilkins from East Orange, NJ

Please put Michael Baisden and Tom Joyner back on the air. It is very necessary that our African American community has a chance to hear what is going on around and in our communities as soon as it happens. We need these men to help with the peoples' understanding of current issues, and the need for them to vote and keep abreast of situations impacting our way of life. We need these men to bring sound advice to the young listeners who tune into your station.
Why this has all happened at this time is quite clear, it is an attempt to thwart the efforts of President Obama being re-elected as President. By keeping us in the dark and only having exposure to manipulated news, our people will not know what's happening or when it's happening. Please, don't fall for the trick, please keep us strong and involved in the forward movement of our people.

Let's be real, let's be strong,

Jae Wilkins

Apr. 30 2012 06:50 PM
thom

wbls has failed our commmunity. sorry i will not be listening to the steve harvey clown show. will pick up Tom Joyner the internet or satellite. What a shame this is more about politics than business.

Apr. 30 2012 03:55 PM
Victoria T from New York, NY

I am very shocked and saddened by the closing of Kiss Fm. They were the voice of our community and now all we get is a stupid sports station. Kiss was there through teenage years and when I got sick and lost my vision they were there. I think we all know why this happened, when you take away the voice of the people you take away their power and knowledge. Folks wake up call and write to the FCC, elected officials and even President Obama and let them know this is a biased attack on self-empowerment of people of color and we need a solution. Let them know we want our station back and we want to be the same way it was before not a watered down version with changes that will be worse. I think we should have our own radio station I know it cost a lot of money but I am pretty sure some people who can pull that money together..

Apr. 30 2012 10:11 AM
BrendaTNYC from New York City

I haven't listened to KISS FM for years, but yet, but yet...
There will always be something a bit sad (to my old-fashioned soul) when a real music radio station (versus canned satellite music) disappears. I'm not a sports fan, perhaps the new format is good news to some, I don't know. I do know that KISS played music that other stations weren't playing. The world (or at least my world) gets a little less interesting when we lose a piece of diversity.
www.HereSheIsBoys.com

Apr. 30 2012 08:04 AM
Geena Romano On Facebook from Staten Island,New York and NJ

i think it is a sad day today.even if i was only listening to KISS FM in NYC recently over the years, i grewup "BORN EARLY SEVENTIES"so i m goin to miss the ORIGINAL BLACK RADIO STATION,and also for mi latino's in nj tri state ny.
oh well EVERY GREAT THING in life i guess must come to a end,
but i was shock to hear this,cause i do not believe ALL good things must end like this.

and agree wit MOST commentary here.yep.and i am sick of HOT 97 so why don't this HORRID STATION GET OFF THE AIRWAVES! glad i m not avid radio listener to much on hot 97,they sux and all day play horrid talent of or lackthereof; Nikki Minaj,who wear a dildo on stage in front of 12 pre-teen year old boys and girls,is NOT a talented artist,and need to be a shame of her self,but yet OUR LATINO BLK STATION HOT 97 play her out and i am sick of it!
and lil wayne another cornball UNTALENTED ARTIST,

i will keep on listening to classic 103.5 freestyle still on air thank god
and sometimes, 105.1 FM and Z-100
and CD'my i pod of classic GREAT MUSIC 50'S to early 2000's
and some new stuff.BUT NOT MUCH,as i will just miss 98.7 is on the radio
here in nJ NyC tri-state. sad.RIP 98.7 KISS FM surely NOT supporting or listenin to no damn SPORTS RADIO ESPN,gosh they only have what 100 cable
channels.

i WILL THOUGH listen to WBLS sometime though.
slow jam classics i love late-nite.

and some club stuff but not much.

Apr. 30 2012 12:31 AM
Arthur L. Workman from Brooklyn, New York

To Nettie C -- no offense who ever you are -- but this is why there's far too much ignorant hatred on each other -- yeah you are entitled to your opinions but let's be very civil -- if you are going to put someon down why not do it in a very responsible way by still being extremely respectful -- how would you like it if someone wrote the same harsh crap about you. If you're a true adult please act like one. You may not realize it -- Nettie but what ever you foolishly write is always going to be watched and read by not only people of color but also by white higher ups -- you may not care but don't make the rest of us look foolish because of you. Think before you write. Hal Jackson has done a great many things -- you'll never come anywhere close to being the person he is -- at least not with an attitude like that. Please be responsible and respectful. This isn't a personal attack on you or any of the others posting - I am just expressing what I know we as adults should do.

Apr. 29 2012 02:28 PM

I will not be listening to this station and i hope all of new york Joins us . Not buying any or using the products advertised on this station . I knew i would happen soon they they shut down the mouths of those who are trying to uplift people Michael Baisden and Tom Jorney . If he was calling us Niggas and pushing music our kids should not be listening to . This merger would have nopt taken place . To Hell With WBLS CALLING ITSELF BLACK RADIO AND TO HELL WITH ESPN ! BLACK RADIO HUH WE DONT LISTEN TO SPORTS WE WATCH AND PLAY THE SHIT !

Apr. 29 2012 01:31 PM
Arthur L. Workman from Brooklyn, New York

What ever new station takes over 98.7 kiss Fm -- I will not be listening to. This is yet another foul attempt at silencing the strong highly opinionated & very intellectually intelligent black voice. What's next move every person of color completely out of the NYC area. What I am saying it's like that's what's happening already. Kick out all the Rush Limberger cheese heads -- yeah I know I didn't spell Rush's name properly but it really doesn't matter -- Limberger cheese is stinky -- Rush always has something stupidly stinky blasting from his mouth. I hope this get posted and he reads this. Yeah talking to you Rush.

Apr. 29 2012 01:30 PM
Michelle m

This is devastating for the black community.

Apr. 29 2012 09:57 AM
clive betters

ESPN-ABC-WABC.... not many degrees of seperation..get it...
the demonic mouse, wins yet again...

Apr. 29 2012 03:29 AM
Myka


WBLS…..you low life pigs……so another one down huh....yeah it is clear you folks are trying to finish of black radio. We won’t let you....it is funny how Michael Baisden and Tom Joyner can have successful shows but they are going off the air. This is not about business….this is about and attempt to continue an assault of black radio. You guys have made it clear that you will do anything in your power to continue to shove smut and garbage (gansta rap and other bad music) down the mouths of young black folks. It is clear that you guys see show like Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden as a treat, after all it was them that were very influential in rally the troops against the injustice that was done to Trayvon Martin and you guys are doing nothing more than trying to take that voice away. While the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s of the world are continuing to have a much larger voice. We still have the NAACP and BET and a host of magazines, which is exactly why many white owed companies continue to purchase or attempt to purchase many black media outlets. ESPN will no longer have my support due to this action.

Apr. 28 2012 05:17 PM
michelle jones

I'M NOT THAT EXCITED ABOUT THIS SO CALLED MERGE. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO ALL THOSE VERY IMPORTANT PROGRAMS ON KISS FM LIKE OPEN LINE, HOUR OF POWER WITH AL SHARPTON, RHYTHM IN REVIEW, MIKE SHANNON OR MICHAEL BAISDEN. THOSE PROGRAMS WERE VERY INFORMATIVE TO OUR COMMUNITY. I NEVER LIKE WBLS THAT MUCH WITH STEVEY HARVEY CLOWNING. WE ONLY HAD THOSE TWO STATIONS THAT FOCUS ON THE URBAN COMMUNITY NOW WE HAVE 1 & 105.1 HIPHOP STATION. I'M NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS MERGE SOUNDS LIKE WE ARE BEING MISLEAD AS ALWAYS BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY WE WILL GET THE FULL EFFECT & KNOWLEDGE FROM 1 STATION AS WE HAD BEFORE WITH TWO. AS USUAL TO THE BIG WIGS WITH MONEY SEEM TO THINK OUR OPINON DOESN'T COUNT. AS LONG AS WE ARE BOPING OUR HEADS TO HIP HOP MUSIC WE ARE GOOD. INFORMATIVE & EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMING WE DON'T NEED. SOOO VERYY SADDD...

Apr. 28 2012 03:56 PM
olufemi

This is a sad news. We are only down to one station to serve the black community, especially those of us who like the oldies and goodies. Also, I am happy for the merge. However, who knows what might happen to wbls in the future. It is highly important to have more stations such as kiss fm and wbls who strive , and are dedicated to not only discussing issues in our community, but plays the kind of music that enables one to reflect in the past.

Apr. 28 2012 09:27 AM

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