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Report: Live 105 alt-rock station to return to airwaves on Monday

The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during Live 105’s BFD Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on June 18, 1999. | Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

RIP, Dave FM—we barely knew ye.

After two years as Dave, KITS-FM 105.3 will restore its Live 105 alternative rock format at 10:53 a.m. Monday, according to reporting by the San Francisco Chronicle. DJ Aaron Axelsen, who was the station’s longtime music director, will also return to the station, according to the Chronicle.

Reached via text message for comment, Axelsen offered a cryptic response: “Root!!!”

The station’s Live 105 “modern rock” format debuted in 1986, spinning the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed and the Cure, as well as dance music. In the 1990s, the station became the place to catch songs by up-and-coming grunge artists like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. In the early 2000s, the format was tweaked slightly again to include both legacy artists like the Pixies, the Clash and Depeche Mode as well as new acts like the Killers, Bloc Party, Muse and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Axelsen, currently the program director at Flood FM, created two long-running weekly shows: Subsonic, an electronic music showcase, and Soundcheck, which featured all new music. Through these two shows, he introduced mainstream Bay Area listeners to Daft Punk, Diplo, the Chemical Brothers, LCD Soundsystem, the Arcade Fire, the Strokes and Billie Eilish. The station also hosted the popular BFD Festival and Not So Silent Night concerts.

Damon Albarn, left, and Alex James of Blur attend Live 105's BFD Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on June 13, 1997. | Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

In December 2017, Live 105, which is owned by Audacy, was rebranded as Alt 105, with minor changes to the format, which then leaned more heavily on current dance-y pop-oriented acts like the 1975, Imagine Dragons and Twenty One Pilots.

However, fans were gobsmacked by Audacy’s next move: In October 2021, Alt 105 was replaced by an AI-generated “totally random radio” station playing Top 40 hits from the past 40 years with zero on-air personalities. The station was branded as a Dave, which came across as a congenial but clueless bot wearing an ill-fitting human suit. A long-suffering social media director vainly attempted to warm local audiences up to Dave FM presenting music news and Bay Area facts on Instagram, as commenters hurled insults like “Shut up, Dave,” “Go home, Dave,” and “Bring back Live 105!”

It looks like those commenters’ wishes will finally come true.