The Peak launched in September 1996 with a modern adult contemporary format built on the popularity of artists such as Hootie & the Blowfish, Counting Crows and Alanis Morissette. Gene & Julie were the stations first morning program who would help to grow the stations audience before moving to a bigger market in 1999. By 2000, The Peaks' format had skewed towards alternative rock after its sister station KTEG "The Edge" moved on to heavier rock. Their slogan at that time was "music for the rest of us" and would be one of the top rated stations in Albuquerque. But by early 2001 two of its competitors would challenge the station creating a fierce battle in the alternative format. By 2003 KPEK would bring on Tony & Jackie who had been heard on local top 40 stations KKSS, KCHQ, and KKOB-FM in past years. The Peak would also shift to a Hot AC format returning it to a pop-based format rather than a rock-based one.