The station was started in 1978 by Rainbow Broadcasting, owners of KJAS 1170 located in Jackson, Missouri. The original call letters were KJAQ-FM, "Q99". The station was sold to Al Sikes in the early 1980s. Target Media, owned by Tom Stine and Mark Rollings, purchased the stations in 1986 and moved the station from a 3-bedroom house in Gordonville to new studios in Cape Girardeau. Target Media sold KJAS AM 1170 in 1988. Target Media then sold Q99 to Zimmer Broadcasting in 1997. Zimmer sold the station—along with all of its other southeast Missouri (Cape Girardeau, Sikeston, and Poplar Bluff), and southern Illinois (Marion and Carbondale) properties (17 stations: WCIL, WCIL-FM, WJPF, WOOZ-FM, WUEZ, WXLT, KCGQ-FM, KEZS-FM, KGIR, KGKS, KJEZ, KKLR-FM, KLSC, KMAL, KSIM, KWOC, and KZIM) -- to Max Media, LLC. The sales occurred in December 2003, for a reported price of $43 million.
^Homan, John D. (2003-12-19). "Zimmer sells 17 radio stations". Southern Illinoisan. "The Zimmer Radio Group, a family-owned media company, announced Wednesday it will sell 17 of its 32 stations [...] to Mississippi River Radio."