The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

New owners likely to change 'old school' hip-hop KDAY to Chinese-language programming

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This will be tough to take for L.A. fans of "old school" hip-hop: The owners of the Los Angeles classic hip-hop radio station 93.5 FM KDAY and KDEY Riverside/Ontario have agreed to sell the pair of stations to a group likely to change to a Chinese-language format.  

Magic Broadcasting is selling KDAY to Irwindale-based RBC Communications for $19.5 million, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission. RBC is 20 percent owned by Phoenix Satellite Television, which operates cable networks in China.

For the last nine years, the independent KDAY has attracted fans of classic hip-hop despite a weak 4,200-watt signal. The station was nearly sold in 2010, but the deal didn't close. 

Lance Venta, founder of the Radio Insight blog, said recently that it wasn't a question of "if" KDAY would be sold, but "when."

"Because the station had been previously on the market, it was just a matter of what group would come in and what would be their intentions for the station," Venta told KPCC. 

While KDAY has its ardent followers, Venta says it's still a small station trying to do battle in a large media market. 

"They don't have the power to compete against a Clear Channel or CBS, and they don't have the reach of the Power 106, to compare it to the other hip-hop station, making it harder for a smaller company to compete long-term," Venta said. 

The possible switch to a Chinese-language format won't happen fast, Venta added. The FCC approval process takes months, and the last deal to sell KDAY/KDEY never closed. If the deal doesn't close, KDAY's hip-hop format could hang on.  

VIDEO

The changeover to KDAY, uploaded to YouTube on Aug 19, 2009.

"KDAY back in LA!!"

 

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