iHeart launches variety pop station in Sacramento

(Image courtesy iHeart Radio, Graphic by The Desk)

After more than a month of “stunting,” Sacramento’s newest radio station KSTE-FM finally has a permanent music format.

On Wednesday, KSTE (107.9 FM) launched a variety pop format under the “Kiss 107.9” brand name, promising top hits from the 1990s and 2000s.

So far, the brand has lived up to its name, with KSTE airing songs from Twenty One Pilots, Shaggy, the Pussycat Dolls and other pop acts.

KSTE went on the air last month with a marathon loop of cinematic music from the Star Wars movie franchise. Over the last several weeks, it has offered a variety of music formats — from classic alternative to Latino pop — with the station allowing listeners to vote on their favorite playlists.

iHeart Radio acquired a license to broadcast on 107.9 FM through a spectrum auction held by the Federal Communications Commission last year. The company paid more than $6.1 million for the license, according to reports.

Prior to May, the 107.9 FM frequency had been vacant in Sacramento after its former license holder, Entercom Communications, turned it in order to satisfy regulatory requirements and activist demands over its then-proposed merger with CBS Radio. The two companies finalized the merger in 2017. Entercom is now known as Audacy.

In addition to KSTE-FM, iHeart Radio operates several other stations in Sacramento, including news-talk broadcaster KFBK (1530 AM, 93.1 FM), local talk station KSTE-AM (650 AM), soft rock-format outlet KBEB (92.5 FM, “The Breeze”), KYRV (93.7 FM, “The River”) and KHYL (101.1 FM, “V101”). The company also broadcasts a limited, low-power radio station that airs a country music format.