WQXI (AM)

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WQXI
WQXI790.PNG
City of license Atlanta, Georgia
Broadcast area Atlanta metropolitan area
Branding 790 The Zone
Slogan The Falcons Play Here
Frequency 790 kHz AM
Repeaters 94.1-2 WSTR-HD2
First air date 1948
Format Sports
Power 28,000 watts daytime
1,000 watts nighttime
Class B
Facility ID 30825
Transmitter coordinates 33°48′42″N 84°21′12″W / 33.811566°N 84.353322°W / 33.811566; -84.353322
Callsign meaning W QuiXIe
Affiliations ESPN Radio
GT IMG Sports Network
Atlanta Falcons
Owner Lincoln Financial Media Co. of GA
Sister stations WSTR
Website 790thezone.com

WQXI, "790 The Zone", is a radio station licensed to the city of Atlanta broadcasting at a frequency of 790 kHz. The station has a power of 28,000 watts in the daytime, and 1,000 watts at night. WQXI's signal is non-directional during the daytime, and directional at night to protect WBBM in Chicago at nearby 780 AM. As of 2009, the station broadcasts in the IBiquity HD Radio AM hybrid digital mode during daytime hours.

History[edit]

WQXI first went on the air in 1948 as an all music station, playing pop standards. Their independent status was unique programming as the established stations, WCON (590 AM, now WDWD), WSB (750 AM), and WGST (then at 920 AM, now WGKA; now at 640 AM), were all network affiliates. By the 1960s WQXI was Top 40 with the moniker "Quixie in Dixie". Among the stations personalities was Dr. Don Rose in the late 1960s, who went on to near legendary status at KFRC in San Francisco.

For a time, it was owned by Esquire Inc. When Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympic Games, the station simulcast the French radio news channel France Info for several hours a day. During the mid-1990s, WQXI also aired Spanish-language music for several hours a day as "La Pantera" (The Panther).

The former WQXI-FM is now WSTR-FM (94.1 FM), and WQXI-TV is now WXIA-TV (11).

The station is now a local sports radio talk format owned by Lincoln Financial Media. WQXI is the AM radio flagship of the Atlanta Falcons,[1] and until 2013, WQXI was the flagship station of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets[2] The station formerly broadcast the syndicated Yahoo! Sports Radio during the overnight hours.

For many years, WQXI was hobbled by signal issues. Even with its 28,000-watt daytime signal, it only provides grade B coverage to several of Atlanta's outer suburbs. At night, it is almost unlistenable outside of Atlanta itself. To solve this problem, it is simulcast in HD Radio on WSTR's HD2 subchannel. WQXI's audio is also broadcast on Channel 18 of the Georgia Tech Cable Network.

WQXI was the inspiration for the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. Series creator Hugh Wilson dealt with the station when he worked in advertising. WKRP episodes which included dropping turkeys from a helicopter and the "dancing ducks promotion," with ducks dancing on hot plates, were actually done by Jerry Blum at WQXI. Blum leased an 18-wheeler and tossed hundreds of live turkeys from a suburban Atlanta shopping center.[3][not in citation given]

On May 20, 2014, Lincoln Financial Media dropped WQXI's local programming and became a full-time affiliate of ESPN Radio. The station's Atlanta Falcons broadcasts are not affected by the change.[4]

Controversy[edit]

On June 17, 2013, during WQXI's morning program Mayhem in the AM hosts Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini mocked New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason and his battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The trio used a robotic-sounding voice to imitate Gleason, who speaks with a voice synthesizer, and told several knock-knock jokes about him. Station management suspended the three hosts as soon as the program went off the air, and fired them later that afternoon. The station's vice-president and General Manager Rick Mack has since apologized for the incident.[5]

References[edit]

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