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Scoop: Great 98.1 old-school KISS succumbs to dull Breeze

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Radio personalities Christie James and Chino Iglesias were charming on the old 98.1 KISS, which changed format to adult contemporary this week. (Courtesy Twitter)

So much for The Bay’s throwback old school.

On Wednesday, the former KISQ (98.1 KISS) became the adult contemporary “The Breeze,” with an announcement saying it will play 10,000 songs commercial-free — the likes of Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton and Vanessa Williams. Ugh.

No word on what’s happening with the talent; but from the looks of the website, it appears that morning listeners may have heard the last “Other People’s Problems” and “Real or Fake” headlines from the adorable team of Christie (James) and Chino (Iglesias).

(Sarah and Vinnie – or Kevin Klein – here we come!)

While a press release issued Wednesday said the “full talent line-up for 98.1 The Breeze will be announced in the coming weeks,” searches of the website turned up familiar KISS names — Renel, Lisa St. Regis, Tony Sandoval, Morris Knight – but no details about their roles.

In the statement, Don Parker, senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia San Francisco, said the new station “delivers relaxing favorites that are perfect while you work, help you unwind after a long day.”

And in a nice example of corporate speak, Kathryn Wilcox, president of iHeartMedia San Francisco Region, said “The Breeze is a great addition to our San Francisco iHeartMedia cluster – allowing us to continue to deliver the largest audience of any radio or TV outlet in the Bay Area.”


Tonight’s episode of “Fluffy Breaks Even” has Gabriel Iglesias visiting The City, hanging with Tony Gemignani at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, then working out with Chris LaLanne, nephew of “godfather of fitness” Jack LaLanne; the show airs at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Fuse; however, it’s difficult to determine if it’s being broadcast locally. … WJM, a San Francisco teen rock group (Jeremy Yun and Max Simas, 13, and William Lipton, 12) will appear at 8 p.m. Sunday on NBC’s hit kid talent show “Little Big Shots,” hosted by Steve Harvey; the band’s new album is “Questions.”


Now’s the time for creative bartenders to apply to compete in the 10th United States Bartender Guild’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition sponsored by Bombay Sapphire; submissions will be accepted April 18 through April 24; visit www.MostImaginativeBartender.com. … Amid the Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King memorabilia, the Hard Rock Cafe in The City has a fun tax day offer. Between 5 and 7 p.m. Monday, guests who sing a song onstage in front of the entire restaurant get a free Legendary Burger. … Speaking of burgers, Bay Area chefs Chris Cosentino (Cockscomb), Sean McTiernan (Mason Pacific) and Domenica Catelli (Catelli’s Restaurant in Geyserville) are participating in the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project by serving their own recipes April 25 at Cockscomb in The City. Note: A “Blended Burger” mixes mushrooms with the beef.


Actress Abigail Breslin is 20. … S.F. Giant Cory Gearrin is 30. … Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is 39. … Actor Adrien Brody is 43. … Actor Anthony Michael Hall is 48. … Actor Brad Garrett is 56. … Actress Julie Christie is 76. … Singer Loretta Lynn is 84.

— Staff reports

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  • Paul Bearer

    I’m truly saddened by this format change.

    Dagger to the heart.

    RIP 98.1 KISS FM.

  • “the new station “delivers relaxing favorites that are perfect while you work, help you unwind after a long day.”’
    That’s what KOIT is for! We don’t need two KOITs!
    What the f is going on?! First, all the half way decent TV morning news anchors get tossed, then KGO radio news totally goes away, and now they’re messing with the music formats of the radio stations. The Bay Area used to be *the* market for great media – people all around the world listening to our stations. But now they’re just crap!
    The 99.7 regular morning crew is on vacation this week. I hope that doesn’t mean something omnibus. :-{

  • jimbo

    Agree wholeheartedly. Now we’re looking at a station that sounds about a mix of 96.5 and 103.7 (the latter of which has changed like 4 times already since the departure of “smooth jazz”). A main reason for the failure of radio stations, above market ratings, is lack of originality. But in all honesty, I could sense some recent desperation on the part of 98.1 as they were beginning to inject full-blown rap crap as part of their “R&B” lineup. 102.9 used to be much better as well.

  • Gigi

    Kiss 98.1 was the only radio station I listened to anymore….other than that I rely on my iTunes and Pandora for good music. But on my rides to work and home, 98.1 was always awesome to listen to….how sad. A legend radio station gone. As for “The Breeze”…..blow me!

  • MikeSchaeferSF

    FYI, Renel has been gone from Kiss-FM since last year. iHeart is competing with Cumulus for the “Dumbest Corporate Decisions” title, apparently.

  • Paul Bearer

    I was thinking the same thing about 99.7.

  • Paul Bearer

    Once 98.1 started playing Coolio, Notorious B.I.G. and Vanilla Ice about a year ago, I knew this station was in trouble.

  • Kim

    Perhaps we should note who their advertisers are . . . and then contact them to say we are switching them off because of the format change.

  • DeShonne DeFlorimonte

    I agree Kim I was very disappointed in the change.

  • Adía

    I gave it a listen unintentionally because KISS was a preset on my car radio. I was just getting used to them moving away from old school jams. I won’t be listening again

  • Sharon Lloyd

    I was listening to 102.9 the Steve Harvey which brought great enjoyment but after they stopped his show I found 98.1 which brought me the same enjoyment. Guess I will look for something else on the same line of great music and laughter in the morning because those two stations SUCKS????

  • valleygirl1981

    Whaaaat? No more MC Hammer, Bobby Brown, the Double Dutch Bus, or Madonna!

  • Yahly Basil

    It just got better by a large margin. Please continue play this type of music…Adult music! KOIT use to play sounds like this back when, every now and then but somehow, somewhere they forgot and went left of the field.

  • nanceezme

    Where are Chino and Christie?? They were the reason I listened to 98.1 on my way to work. NOONE wants your relaxing, boring music on the WY to work!!!

  • Dina

    I got in my car last night and KISS was on my radio…instead of hearing Mary Jane Girls or Prince I heard some god awful Chicago and Barbra Streisand Slow jams…..I was so disappointed, and knew instantly they were a casualty of this recent mess.

    “In the statement, Don Parker, senior vice president of programming for
    iHeartMedia San Francisco, said the new station “delivers relaxing
    favorites that are perfect while you work, help you unwind after a long

    Um no, now I will have unbridled road rage!!!!!!!!

    it constantly amazes me how the people in charge think they know what they’re doing but they really have no f’ing clue.

  • Steve

    This is very sad! There’s another Old School station you should check out that’s called Steve Fox’s Old School on the web. It’s right here in the Bay Area and it’s great! It’s perfect for those who listened to 98.1 KISS FM.

  • syl

    This is not right. I will not be listening anymore. I want the old Kiss FM to be back on the radio. Need to have my Sunday night oldies!

  • Alicia

    The new radio station SUCKS!!!! I mean it’s the worst thing I’ve EVER HEARD!!!! Talk about put you to sleep and make you want to slit your wrists from depression crap! It’s not relaxing in ANYWAY SHAPE OR FORM!!!! I want 98.1 KISS FM music! I WANT CHINO & CHRISTIE, I WANT SUNDAY NIGHT OLDIES! This was the worst thing ever.

    99.7 is mediocre and I can’t stand listening to all the other stations and their stupid crap. I listened to Chino & Christie every morning. They made my commute manageable. They made me laugh. Even my 16-yr old liked listening. I almost went into full on road rage mode listening to the new crap cause it was so depressing love song. Gross, gross, gross!!! Who wants to be depressed in the morning!

    This has got to be one of the stupidest moves EVER!!!!! Who are you president radio dumb idiot to tell us what’s good for us! Your new station will fail cause no one will listen! Even if you bring the radio personalities back… The music you are now playing is crap! I want my 90’s music back. This was the ONLY station that played good music from several different decades!!!

    Your new station is a FAIL!!!!

  • Paul Bearer

    well said!

  • fenderliketheguitar

    I want my R&B!!!

  • alyzu

    Too true! And it’s a toss up as to which is worse.

  • Ann

    I have the feeling that some old white farts decided this was what we all needed to become drones while listening to this mind numbingly boring and nauseating elevator music. I am a middle aged white woman from the suburbs from the era of great R&B and still need edgy exciting black R&B like Chaka Khan and Rick James and other great 80s-90s mucic while I drive for my job and get stuck in traffic. This is incredibly disappointing and I too will not listen to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ann

    Thanks so much for sharing Steve Fox’s Old School-you can also download the app for your phone. I checked it out and the music is great. Will just have to decide whether to listen on my Android phone or my notebook when in the car, to get the best sound….

  • Zippster

    At least The Breeze will have you as it’s only listener.

  • Zippster

    As another poster stated, listening to The Breeze makes me want to slit my wrists.

    The new station “delivers relaxing favorites that are perfect while you work, help you unwind after a long day.”

    Umm, that’s what porn is for.


  • dee arr

    Thanks will have to check that out

  • Rebecca Becky Souza

    As I had a long drive from the South Bay to Concord I couldn’t wait to turn on Sunday Night Oldies and to my dismay, that is NOT what I heard. Lousy takeovers have no clue what gets us thru. Disappointed beyond belief….I won’t be listening!

  • Nancy Maldonado Ochoa

    Sunday nights will never be the same!! I am heartbroken!! I have been listening to the Sunday Night Oldie show since I was a kid, and this change hurts my heart! The music on the radio now a days is pure garbage, and I’m an old soul at heart! My soul hurts with this change! :( I want my Sunday Night Oldies back!

  • Kim

    It’s about greed and money. The 1% don’t care about the rest of us.

  • Conny

    Download Tune In Radio and listen to 104.3 Mega from Arizona. Great music and they have Steve Harvey in the mornings. I LOVE IT! And you will too :)

  • Karolyn Harrington

    I woke up to my usual KISS Christie & Chino alarm. But what I heard was soooo NOT the station I have awaken to for 22 years. To replace Ol’ School with that wonder bread crap is an insult to my ears. Why do you have to mess up what works. I wish I could wake up last week laughing with C & C instead of silence cause I will not listen to this crap.

  • Karolyn Harrington

    I am also going to go with Pandora & Amazon Prime screw these morons.

  • Karolyn Harrington

    Making it like we all like the same thing! Be careful not unbridled road rage (Laughing cause I had wake up to Barry Manilow rage!)

  • Karolyn Harrington

    Thank you Steve

  • Karolyn Harrington



    A lot of transplants coming from all over the country/world.. The target audience has changed. The SF Bay Area is a completely different place than it was 10-20 years ago. It’s truly sad.

  • Just✿Natalie

    I wasn’t sure what the hell was going on, I only tune in for background noise in the morning and evening. I’d kept hearing what was clearly not old school and thought maybe I keep tuning into some new special segment. Then last night I heard it, something about commercial free, 10 relaxing songs in a row, the breeze. Still in denial, I double checked the station numbers this morning – you know, maybe I skipped over to 98.3 by mistake or something. Nope. So its over? Your blog post confirms a fat yep I do not want to accept. I’m not a bay native but over the years I’ve come to enjoy some stations and hosts that for some silly reason keep getting taken away. Kiss fm was really the last of OK radio I could find. Is there a decent jazz station available? That’s all I really want anyway.

  • Mobile hot dog cart man

    Looks like it’s back to Satellite radio, iPod music and CD’s until I find another radio station. I am really disappointed. I wonder if this also means no more Sunday night Oldies? What a shame. Santa Clara man

  • Kevin from San Jose.

    Breeze 98.1 plays the same songs, same format as KBAY 94.5, KOIT 96.5. Adult contemporary music, relaxing music for the Grandma listeners. I guess The Bay Area need to ad more radio stations that play the same format, same grandma music, so they can be more relax.

  • Jun Dacasin

    I can go to other station to listen to some relaxing music. I listen to this station everyday for my old school music but I was shock on weekend when the music change on me. I was wondering what happen to the old school music I listen to every time im in my car. This new music totally blows and also suck asss!!!!!!!!! Give me back my old school music!!!!!

  • Neva

    I’m going to miss my 98.1 KISS FM!!!! The Breeze sucks and I was so angry on my drive home last Wednesday, with no clue as to what happened to my favorite radio station. I loved mornings listening to Chino and Christie, now my drive into work commuting every morning has not been fun! Bring back the good “Old School” music that I grew up on and I have started listening to “Steve Fox’s Old School” streaming online now too . Good music and reminds me of KISS FM. Let’s all boycott “The Breeze” and I’ve already deleted the station from my car for good!

  • Curtis Rasmussen

    This is the most asinine statement in this whole thread. Radio is a business just like any other, providing a service and employing many people.

    Why did the format change to the new sucktronic ‘easy listening’ borefest? They aren’t saying but I bet they had a revenue problem with the old format.

  • Renee Campbell Tierney

    I couldn’t agree more with you on that. I was like WTF is going on and now this, makes sense.

  • Renee Campbell Tierney


  • t-lasagana

    89.5 KPOO is where you should now turn your dial. They have an eclectic line up of genres of music including R and B and old school.

  • gretchen ise

    I have never commented on anything before!! But i am SO in disbelief and sadness and anger regarding the loss of KISS FM. That music (that they used to play) is immemorial and deserves more respect than to be discarded and replaced with pablum. Mind-numbing, soul-killing pablum. My life has been lived to the music that they not only played, but celebrated. And i have raised my two teens to this music ( and many other genres) but my son was known for promoting disco saturday night to every one of his friends!! We will miss you intensely!! And i will NEVER listen to the “Breeze”!! Uuuggghhh!!

  • gretchen ise

    And Renel— a Bay area institution. Wow!! Such a sad end to her life’s work!

  • BadAsssssWoman

    This “new station” wasn’t an addition, oh president of I-Heart Media. It was a replacement where none was wanted, needed, or even necessary. By bringing in this station of snooze, an incredible void of old school R&B has been created. And the radio personalities were warm and inviting and had been around for years. My 17 year old daughter also wondered what the f happened. You screwed up BIG TIME. Fix it. Make it right.

  • BadAsssssWoman

    Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be hearing Jungle Love any time soon. Whaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

  • Samy Fried

    What is this crap? Seriously? I am banning this station. Kiss fm was my favorite station. Fuck you guys.

  • GM

    new format SUCKS

  • D B

    I absolutely LOVE the new format! the BREEZE is amazing, thank you for changing to a better radio station! Indeed relaxing in this hellish Bay area traffic!

  • justus1896

    First we need to know who bought the station and what the hell do they think they are doing. It is like we are going to change the way (these people) notice I said these people think. Same with KGO and KBLX they by our stations that we support and then think they can change us. This shit needs to stop.

  • Tish

    Really upset over this! Clear channel what were you thinking?? Its bad enough San Francisco has lost its live music vibe. The breeze is so boring people will fall asleep at the wheel to this, not good!. Depressed Mode? I mean come on! As a bay native I truly feel the party is OVER! :(

  • Tish

    Great channel its all about public radio!!!!

  • Shira

    Horrible horrible. Adult contemporary. Wtf does that even mean??

  • phylliis

    I was also shocked I kept thinking that this is the wrong stations and starting changing the channels and started thinking that something is so wrong. I grew up on the old school music listening to that music made my day. now this music that they’ve playing isn’t what everyone likes and what a shame to change the format of this station. There was nothing wrong with 98.1 kiss it was great music please bring it back this new station is totally boring and not interesting.

  • kellip

    I must say I agree with this eloquent dissertation. WTF SF? No more KFOG, no more KOIT, no more 98.1? Does corporate radio realize that music is emotion – driven by art, culture, personality? We get connected to the soul and people involved. We “contemporary adults” have deep seated affection for SF and the radio DJ’s that get us through our commutes, deepest darkest sad, and happy commute home, road trip places (when else are we actually listening to radio but in the car or at work – alone?). Seriously f’d up i-not-a-heartradio. You just don’t get anything but the dollar signs . Short-sited move that we all are suffering from. i’ve had to re-program two of my five radio buttons in the last 2 months. who loses? me.