ENCINITAS — For nearly 20 years, KPRI/ 102.1 FM stood alone in San Diego’s market as an independent radio station amid a sea of corporately owned and operated competitors.
This week, the ride came to an end for the adult-alternative station, as it was announced that Compass Radio, the owners of the local station, had sold it to a Rocklin-based nonprofit company that runs radio stations that specialize in contemporary Christian music.
The sale of KPRI to the Educational Media Foundation is expected to close in mid-January of next year, as it requires Federal Communications Commission approval, according to the radio industry website, All-Access.
But the station changed formats sometime on Monday, switching from adult alternative staples to the new owner’s K-LOVE format, which includes popular Christian Adult Contemporary artists such as Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp and Colton Dixon.
“This is a step we take with very mixed emotions,” Compass President and Co-owner Jonathan Schwartz said to All-Access. “We have loved the opportunity to serve San Diego for the last two decades, and we are grateful to our staff, listeners, advertisers, and the San Diego community.”
KPRI originally began in 1996 as Sets 102 FM by Schwartz and co-owner Robert John Hughes. The station was best known for its format of playing two- or three-song sets of a single artist’s music in a row. In 1995, Hughes and Schwartz purchased the 102.1 frequency and in 2002 changed the call letters to KPRI, a nod to San Diego’s original rock station that went off the air during the 1980s.
“KPRI has been a true labor of love,” Hughes said to All-Access. “All I can say is: I thank each and every one who has helped us create and sustain a truly amazing radio station.”