Radio Dubuque, Inc is a Dubuque, Iowa based corporation that owns four radio stations. The company was founded in 2000 by Paul Hemmer, Tom Parsley and Don Rabbitt. The company currently owns KDTH AM 1370, and the following FM stations, 97.3 The Rock (formerly KGRR), KATF "KAT-FM" 92.9, and WVRE "The River" 101.1.
The Rock offers active rock. KAT-FM plays Adult Contemporary. WVRE "The River" plays country music. KDTH offers adult standards, oldies, classic big band, news, sports, and other special programming. The stations participate in the CBS and Fox News radio network.
The station became an immediate success and within a year several offers were made by out of market groups to purchase it. Hemmer resisted and continued to build equity and a loyal following of listeners. In late 1999 he was approached by two broadcasters with whom he was acquainted in a "think tank" called "The International Broadcasters Idea Bank." Don Rabbitt and Tom Parsley, then of Worthington, Minnesota, agreed to purchase KGRR provided Hemmer could use his friendship with the owners of KDTH and KATF-FM to sell those properties so they could create a 3 station group to compete effectively with the stations in Dubuque owned by Cumulus Broadcasting. (WDBQ AM, KLYV-FM, WJOD-FM, KXGE-FM).
Woodward Communications, publishers of The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald newspaper owned KDTH and KATF. They agreed in January 2000 to sell their stations to the new Radio Dubuque group with Parsley as President, Hemmer as VP, and Don Rabbitt as CFO. KGRR relocated from studios on JFK Road to the KDTH/KAT-FM building at 8th & Bluff in downtown Dubuque. Several years later the company constructed an additional FM station, WVRE (101.1 FM) licensed to Dickeyville, Wisconsin. Hemmer had applied for a construction permit for this new facility in late 1995, but a competing application and changes in FCC rules on new stations delayed the debut of the new station until 2003. It also broadcasts from the 8th & Bluff location with a modern country format. The company is currently building a new facility on University Avenue which they intend to move to upon completion.