|City||Council Bluffs, Iowa|
|Broadcast area||Omaha-Council Bluffs|
(NRG License Sub, LLC)
|Sister stations||KMMQ, KOIL, KOOO, KOPW, KOZN, KZOT|
KQKQ-FM (98.5 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a modern adult contemporary format. Licensed to Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States, the station serves the Omaha metropolitan area. The station is currently owned by NRG Media. Its studios are located at Dodge Street and 50th Avenue in Midtown Omaha, and its transmitter site is located in North Central Omaha at the Omaha master antenna farm on North 72nd Avenue and Crown Point.
Prior to September 1980, KQKQ was known as KQ98, a hard rock station.
From September 1980 to March 2004, KQKQ was a Top 40/CHR station known as Sweet 98, and was the Omaha market's first personality-driven FM music station, putting new pressure on market-leader KGOR's automated CHR/MOR operation.
Sweet 98 signed on in September 1980 with Mark Evans hosting and Dick Warner reading news; together, they called themselves "The Breakfast Flakes". The remainder of the lineup included Greg MacArthur (Koogler) doing middays, Doc Winston (Bruce Soderholm) handling afternoons, Jay Taylor (Craig Wendel) in the evenings, and "Brooklyn Dave" holding down overnights. Brooklyn Dave only lasted a few months before being replaced by Rick Jeffrey.
Operating on a shoestring budget in its early days, the station made its name through a variety of promotions and gimmicks under the guidance of General Manager Bill Cunningham and Evans, who doubled as program director. In September 1980, listeners were offered the opportunity to win $50,000 for answering their phones with the phrase, "I listen to the new sound of Sweet 98."
At approximately the same time, the station opened its "Supermouth" contest, whereby local teens competed for a year-long stint as a Sweet 98 evening jock, a $1,000-a-month salary, a $1,000 wardrobe, and use of a new Pontiac Firebird, emblazoned with station logos and a giant Supermouth emblem on the hood. According to the station, it received over 5,000 applications, from which it auditioned over 300 in 30-second over-the-phone song intros. After narrowing the field to 20 semi-finalists who were given 15 minutes of live airtime apiece, 10 finalists received 30-minute auditions (again live). On February 14, 1981, after five hours of on-air auditions, Cunningham proclaimed Alan Bone, an 18-year-old UNL student, the station's first Supermouth. In all, the station crowned seven Supermouths, the most successful of whom was Scotty "Hot Scott" O'Hanlon, who eventually dominated evenings for most of the late 80s.
Another 1981 promotion involved the station asking listeners to affix Sweet 98 "stickificates" to their bumpers for a chance to win $98,000. After stringing the promotion out over several months by sending jocks out in a "Roving (Buick) Riviera" to pull stickificate-bearing cars over and give out small cash prizes and gift certificates, the station told listeners to bring their stickificates (and cars) to the Crossroads Mall parking lot at 72nd and Dodge one early June evening. The result was a colossal traffic jam, lots of chaos, and a cascade of publicity for the station, proving - to Cunningham and Evans, anyway - that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
In 1982, the station initiated on-air bingo games as a means of increasing listenership, a promotional idea that dragged on for several ratings periods, in one form or another. "Big Guy", a squeaky-voiced character created by Evans, was the mascot of Sweet 98's bingo promotions. In the fall of 1982, listeners were tormented for an entire afternoon when Big Guy ostensibly took over the control room and played the Toni Basil song "Mickey" over and over, while an exasperated Will Honeylamb (Cunningham's on-air persona) pounded on the studio door, imploring the little fella to give him back control of his station.
A later bingo promotion culminated in what was billed as the "world's largest bingo game", wherein roughly 10,000 listeners crowded into Omaha's Civic Auditorium for a long evening of shtick and bingo for thousands in cash and prizes. One memorable moment came when a seemingly meek, elderly woman claimed to have a bingo and made her way, gingerly, to the stage, only to be told that she did not, after all, have the matching numbers. Upon receiving this news, the formerly adorable grandmother unleashed a profanity-laced tirade on Cunningham and his underlings, much to the delight of the crowd.
The Sweet 98 studios were originally located in a dilapidated building at 3600 Broadway in Council Bluffs. Formerly an apartment building next to what was rumored to have once been a brothel, the Council Bluffs digs were condemned on several occasions in the early 1980s and razed shortly after the move to downtown Omaha in 1987. So bad was the Council Bluffs facility that when a thunderstorm knocked the power out in 1982, the station operated off the generator of a run-down R.V. parked in the mud-and-gravel lot behind the building.
The downtown Omaha studios were much more plush and prominently located in the famed Old Market at 10th and Farnam. The window-front studios featured a hydraulic lift which the jocks could raise and lower with a foot pedal to greet revelers who frequently passed by the while celebrating birthdays, weddings, and graduations and making song dedications.
A spaceman jumpsuit hung on the wall of the studio. It was ostensibly for the disc-jockeys to wear, though none of the on air talent will admit to ever wearing it.
In 1992, The Breakfast Flakes were permanently taken off the air for the new Rockett in the Morning Show with G. Rockett Phillips, Tom Zenner, and Liz Adams. The show ran for 3 and 1/2 years and after The Johnny Danger show didn't work out, Rockett got asked to come back for another year. Then, the Morning show later became The Sweet Morning Zoo with Darren & Wayne, who would later be replaced by Pat & JT.
Sweet 98 began hosting a big concert event in the late 90s known as "Sweetstock" which featured big named Top 40 bands at the time including NSync. The last Sweetstock event was held in 2002.
After dropping significantly in the ratings with KQCH (94.1 FM) taking over as the leading Top 40 station in Omaha during the early 2000s, "Sweet 98" signed off at 3 p.m. on March 11, 2004, and began stunting with a robotic countdown accompanied by "On the Run" by Pink Floyd. The countdown ended at 3 p.m. the following day, when it flipped to Modern AC as "Q98Five, Modern Hit Music." The first song on "Q" was "How You Remind Me" by Nickelback. The new format puts less emphasis on personalities and focuses more on music news and upcoming concerts in the Omaha area. While playing some of the same music that was featured in the CHR format, most hip hop, rap, teen pop and dance songs have been removed from the playlist for songs tailored more to an older adult listening audience. The format has since evolved to a more broad-based Hot AC.
The station now goes by the moniker "Q98Five, More Music" and features the long-running morning show Pat & JT, who dominate Arbitron ratings for Women in the Omaha - Council Bluffs - Lincoln metropolitan area.
Some of Pat and JT show guests and players include:
Wendy Townley - A nerdy woman that comes in and talks about her awkward adventures in life. She is also the author of "Nerdy Thirty".
Dax Holt - Celebrity expert that calls in from TMZ every Friday.
John Carroll - Former Survivor Marquesas Contestant infamous for orchestrating the urine cure for a jellyfish sting. Carroll, a registered nurse at the time, has since passed the bar and is a practicing Attorney in Nebraska. He raises wild turkeys on his eastern Nebraska acreage.
Deb Brockman - Medium who talks to dead people and reunites listeners with their lost love ones.
The former Sweet 98 was a staple of the airwaves in the '80s and '90s with such hosts as:
- Will Honeylamb, on-air moniker of GM Bill Cunningham (1980–87)
- Mark Evans, mornings, operations director
- The Breakfast Flakes (Mark Evans, Dick Warner, Special K, Capt. Tony Wike, Ryno, Hot Scott, Steve Lundy, The Cub)
- Dr. Dick Warner "Nostalgia Rock Host" (1980–90)
- Greg MacArthur, production director
- Doc Winston, afternoons (1980–82)
- Jammin "Jay" Taylor, evenings, music director (1980–86)
- Brooklyn Dave, overnights (1980)
- Rick Jeffrey, overnights (1981–82)
- Alan Bone, Original "Supermouth" (1981–82), then "Alan the All-Night Guy" (1982–84)
- Special K.,news director & production
- Jeff Spencer (Curt McLey), formerly of 59/WOW, afternoon drive at KGGO/Des Moines, and KSO/Des Moines (as T.G. Captain)
- Beau Sox (known in dozens of other markets as Beau Richards)
- Chris Saklar
- Dave Wingert, mornings (1982–83)
- Woody (Emmett Jones), afternoons (1982–83)
- Hot Scott, aka Scott O'Hanlon, 3rd "Supermouth"
- Buddy Hollis, middays, program director (1984–85)
- Capt. Tony Wike, morning news, voice characters (1985–91)
- Skip Day
- Mark "Ryno" Ryan
- Steve Lundy, mornings, (1988–92)
- Lonesome Rhodes, "Jim Snyder" middays, copyrighter, traffic director
- Leggie Peggie (1990-1992)
- G. Rockett Philips, mornings twice (1992–95), (1997–98)
- Laura Morgan
- J.P Foxx - aka Jeoffrey Noble -Host of Hot Mix (1995–2001)
- Pat the Ball Boy
- Artie the One Man Party
- That Girl Charlie
- Helmet Head
- Louis Desjardins
- Rod Meyer, longest part timer (1990-04)
- Adam Thunder
- Drew Bentley, program director, operations manager (1987–91)
- Dave Smliey
- Dave Swanson
- Jon Jefferies
- J.J. Morgan
- Jimi Jamm
- Johnny Danger, mornings between Rockett's two stints (1995–97)
- Dave "The Hit Man" Gray
- Liz Adams, music director (1988–93)
- Chris O'Conner
- Jay Tweedy
- Jonny Qwest
- Paul Kraimer
- Staci Kelly
- Rod Zilla
- Big "Dan" Kiley, program director (1992–95)
- The Real Mike Steele
- Jerry Balleta
- Ken Karr
- Jeff Larsen
- Norm Roberts
- Wayne Coy
- CD Man
- Jay Towers
- Linda Welby
- Marty Riemenschneider, General Manager
- Jeff Degan (1998)
- Big Party (1998)
- Max McCartney
- Darrin Stone
- Joey Lager
- Derek Knight
- Tommy B.
- Terianne Hannibal
- Nurse Angie
- Tom Zenner
- Gary Java
- Scott Smith "The Cub" mornings (1991–92)
- Mimi Merriman (Supermouth 2)