|City of license||Grayling, Michigan|
|First air date||November 6, 1978|
|Format||Album-oriented rock (AOR)|
|Former callsigns||WGRY-FM (12/19/1994-1/14/2013)
|Owner||Sheryl and Gerald Coyne
(Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc.)
WQON (100.3 FM, "Q 100.3") is a radio station broadcasting an album-oriented rock (AOR) format. Licensed to Grayling, Michigan, the seat of government in Crawford County, it first began broadcasting in 1978. It is co-owned with sports WGRY-FM 101.1 and sports WGRY-AM 1230.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2013)|
WQON: The Early Years
WQON arose out of the staff of AM competitor WGRY, which first went on the air in 1970. Wayne Hindmarsh, one of that station's original employees, left WGRY to put his own station on the air.
With an intended target date of June 16, 1977, unexpected delays pushed WQON-FM's debut on the air to 12:06 p.m., November 6, 1978. Local owners were Ernie Dawson, William Scheer, Wayne Hindmarsh, and Chris Vansteenhouse. Located at 502 Norway street, a sign went up in the window stating "We're on the Air" 100.1 FM. WQON was on the air from 6 a.m. to Midnight, first operating at 3000 watts of power. Wayne Hindmarsh was at the helm as Station/Sales Manager. Bob Greenwood, who began his career at WGRY-AM years earlier was program director. WQON's very first on-air personality was Carol Trudeau. Everyone had an air shift and wrote commercials, as well as numerous other duties around the fledgling station. Betty Bennett was Office Manager.
It soon became apparent to the owners that WQON couldn't be the community station it wanted to be without more employees. Some of the first local personalities were Cheryl Alef, Chris Wright and Dave Gauthier. All were trained by Bob Greenwood and several have continued with successful careers in radio in Traverse City, Bakersfield, California, Houghton Lake and Petoskey. Chris Wright later changed his name to Chris Knight and owns an advertising agency. Community News and Sports were primary with WQON. Live broadcasts of away Football and Basketball games were featured throughout the season. WQON attended the opening of new businesses in the community. The Canoe Marathon, the Winter Sports Carnival and other local events were also broadcast. WQON-FM programming was Contemporary Music and News, plus Sports and Weather. The station sponsored special weekends, give-a-ways and dances.
In December 1982, Wayne Hindmarsh left the station to further his education by completing his MBA. In May 1985 the station was purchased by Robert Ditmer and his son Bob, owners of WWSJ-AM of St. Johns, Michigan. Ditmer began a daily hour long Talk Show/Swap Shop which was taken over by Dave Sherbert in 1989. Sherbert had joined the station in 1985. Robert Ditmer left the station in 1989 to manage his other station in St. Johns and Bob Ditmer became manager and program director.
Sale to Gannon Broadcasting/Y100 is Born
In 1994, the Ditmers, despite having acquired a construction permit to raise WQON's power to 50,000 watts and change its frequency, decided to leave the radio business in Crawford County and concentrate on their interests in St. Johns. Gannon Broadcasting jumped at the opportunity and agreed to purchase WQON that year.
Gannon Broadcasting acquired WQON-FM and moved its studios to the WGRY-AM/FM location. In a move to take advantage of a strong country format, Gannon Broadcasting Systems requested approval from the FCC to allow WQON-FM and WGRY-FM to switch frequencies and to change 100.1 to 100.3. This would permit Gannon Broadcasting Systems to increase from 3,000 to 26,500 watts. Then Gannon Broadcasting Systems made improvements to equipment and built a new 1,350 sq. ft. addition to the original WGRY-AM studio to accommodate the 3 stations. In 1995 Gannon Broadcasting made its final move. Hiring a high powered engineering firm, Gannon gained approval from the FCC and Canadian Government to increase its power to 60,000 watts with an option to move to a full 100,000 watts making the new Y-100.3 WGRY-FM a real powerhouse.
Sunday mornings at 8, Y100 featureed a Country Gold program called "Pure Country Memories" with performers from the 1930s through the 1970s. This was one of the station's most popular feature programs, especially with the 50-and-up demographics.
Longtime northern Michigan radio personality Pete Michaels was the morning DJ on Y-100.3 FM WGRY. His morning show was heavy on news, sports and weather.
Sale and Change Back to WQON
In July 2012, it was announced that WGRY-FM and sister stations WGRY and WQON were being sold by William Gannon to Sheryl and Jerry Coyne (d/b/a Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc.). Gannon expressed a desire to get out of the broadcasting business after suffering a stroke in the summer of 2011. No change to the station's country format was planned although the Coynes expressed a desire to add more local programming. The sale was consummated on October 2, 2012 for consideration of $425,000.
On January 14, 2013 WGRY-FM and adult contemporary-formatted sister station WQON 101.1 FM swapped call letters, and the new 100.3 WQON changed its format from country to classic rock, branded as "Q 100.3".
- "Gannon Broadcasting in Process of Selling Stations," CrawfordCountyAvalanche.com. http://www.crawfordcountyavalanche.com/articles/2012/07/12/news/doc4ffd93bad5217472072989.txt. 11 July 2012, Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WQON
- Radio-Locator information on WQON
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WQON