|Broadcast area||Denver, Colorado
|Slogan||#1 For Today's Hottest Music|
|Frequency||107.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||July 9, 1966 (as KLAK-FM at 107.7)|
|Format||Analog/HD1: Rhythmic Top 40|
|Callsign meaning||KQ KS1075|
|Former callsigns||KLAK-FM (1966–1970)
|Former frequencies||107.7 MHz (1966–1970)
104.3 MHz (KQKS calls)
(Entercom Denver II License, LLC)
|Sister stations||KEZW, KALC, KQMT|
|Webcast||KS107.5 Webstream Player and Listen Live Page|
KQKS, also known as KS107.5, is a Rhythmic Top 40 radio station. It is owned by Entercom, serving the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. The station, which broadcasts at 107.5 megahertz (MHz) with an ERP of 91 kilowatts (kW), is licensed to Lakewood. KQKS' current slogan is #1 For Today's Hottest Music, which they use to reflect its current musical mix of R&B, hip hop and Rhythmic Pop hits. Its studios are located in the Denver Tech Center district, and the transmitter is in Lakewood on Green Mountain.
KQKS's origins began in December 1986, when Western Cities Broadcasting purchased KLMO-FM (licensed to Longmont) and moved the transmitter site closer to Denver and flipped to an Adult Contemporary format. At the time, the station was positioned at 104.3 FM and known as "104.3 Kiss FM". In mid-1987, the branding was shortened to "KS104". On August 1, 1987, amidst heavy competition against three other AC FM's in the Denver market, and with only one Top 40 station in the market, KQKS segued to a Mainstream Top 40 format, again as "KS104." By 1989, KQKS evolved into a Dance-leaning Rhythmic Top 40, but by 1993, it would shift back to a mainstream Top 40 direction once again after they were left as the market's sole surviving Top 40 radio station.
Airstaff at the time: Mornings—Mark Speers & Laurie Michaels, Middays—PJ Cruise, Afternoons—Michael Hayes, Nights—Sweet G, Late Nights—Ed Atkins, Overnights—JJ Cruze, Swing—Brody Scott.
However, by 1995, they would see new competition from two new stations, KHHT and KALC, vying for listeners with a mainstream Top 40 format. As a direct result, KQKS returned to its rhythmic contemporary roots that year. But by 1996, KQKS was struck by a major blow when the entire on-air staff defected across the street to the newly minted Rhythmic Contemporary rival, KJMN, and began attacking them on-air and on the streets.
Change was on the horizon in the Mile High City. By November 1996, Western Cities sold "KS104" to Jefferson-Pilot, who kept the station jockless for 2 months. Jefferson-Pilot was also the owner of KHHT at the time. But on January 8, 1997, history would be made in the market when Jefferson-Pilot moved KQKS to 107.5 and relaunched it as "KS1075", replacing KHHT's ill-fated Top 40 format and turning KQKS' former home at 104.3 FM into a Classic Country outlet (they are now a Sports outlet) on January 18. The move would also pay off in the ratings as well, resulting in KJMN throwing in the towel on March 30, 1997. Since then, KQKS has faced several competitors, but no one has even come close to toppling them since, especially in the Arbitron PPMs, where they maintained a top 5 status in the Denver ratings. In 2009, Clear Channel flipped KPTT (who had once competed against them as Top 40/CHR KFMD from 2000 to 2005) to Rhythmic Top 40, resulting in KQKS adding more rap to its playlist. While Rap and Hip-hop accounts for over 50% of KS1075's playlist, the station, like most of the other Rhythmics in the United States, has added some Rhythmic Pop/Dance tracks due to changing tastes among its listeners. As of 2017, KQKS continued to compete against KPTT, who has shifted back to Top 40/CHR, as well as increased competition from KFCO, who previously had a Classic Hip-Hop direction until shifting to a current-focused Rhythmic presentation, and Gold-based Rhythmic AC KJHM.
The current airstaff includes: Mornings—Tony V, Mario ‘DJ Chonz’ Rodriguez & Ya Girl Cedes, Middays—Tashamokia, Afternoons—Big Mic, Nights—Rosa and Overnights—Baby Boy. Weekends—Buhrm Gotti, Unique and Kingdom, and mixers DJ Chonz, DJ Dizzy D, DJ Tanastadi, DJ Baby Boy, DJ Staxx and DJ Nunez provide mixes. For 15 years, Larry Ulibarri, Kendall B, and Kathie J held down the morning time slot, the longest in the station's history, from 2001 until March 2017 when a contract dispute resulted in their departure from KQKS; Kendall B had already left the station in January 2017 to pursue other opportunities.
In late 2005, Lincoln Financial Group acquired Jefferson-Pilot, thus in turn resulted in LFG becoming KQKS' parent company due to LFG's decision to keep J-P's broadcasting properties in its portfolio despite turning down offers by other broadcasting groups to sell the stations. On April 3, 2006, KQKS and the other stations began replacing the ownership on-air liners "A Jefferson-Pilot Station" with "A Lincoln Financial Station" as LFG retired the JP name. In June 2007, Lincoln announced that would put its television and radio stations up for sale. KQKS, along with its sister stations in Denver was among the properties being shopped around by Lincoln, until the company suspended those plans in 2008 due to financial concerns.
On December 8, 2014, Entercom announced it would purchase Lincoln Financial Group's entire 15-station lineup in a $106.5 million deal, and would operate the outlets under a LMA deal. On December 22, 2014, Entercom announced that it will retain KQKS and its current format. The FCC approved the deal on June 26, 2015.
The station made its on-air debut in 1966 as KLAK-FM, originally broadcasting at 107.7, and shared a Country format with its AM sister (1600 AM) until 1970, when it relocated to 107.5 and became KJAE, who would then switch formats to Top 40, but this first attempt at this format would be short lived when they returned to Country in 1973 and restored the KLAK-FM calls. In 1978, it changed call letters to KPPL and sported a Beautiful Music/MOR format, followed by a brief stint with a Modern Rock format by 1983.
In 1984, 107.5 switched to Top 40/CHR and took the call letters KRXY, and adopted the moniker Y108 FM. It was the top rated CHR station in Denver during the 1980s. KRXY would also simulcast on 1600 AM as "KRXY-AM" during this time. In October 1987, KRXY's then owners, Malrite Communications, would sell the station to ABC Radio. KRXY would eventually be overtaken in ratings by KQKS (then at 104.3) in 1991. KRXY began to lean toward Adult Top 40/Hot AC and eventually dropped the iconic Y-108 FM nickname, and became "Mix 107.5" with a Hot AC format in June 1991. After Jefferson-Pilot bought the station from ABC in January 1993, its calls were changed to KWMX on January 20. KWMX faced competition from KOSI and KALC in the mid-1990s; in response, KWMX adjusted its playlist to fit with the current Modern Pop/Rock direction that KALC, and eventually the Hot AC format, was embracing at the time, in early 1996, and changed their moniker slightly to "107-5 The Mix." The attempt proved unsuccessful for KWMX. In July 1996, KWMX's morning show was let go; at Midnight on August 2, the station began stunting with movie soundtracks. At 5 PM on the 2nd, KWMX officially flipped back to Top 40, changed its moniker to "K-Hits 107.5", and adopted new call letters KHHT (which took effect August 30, 1996). However, the new format failed, as the station was poorly promoted and programmed. On January 8, 1997, after Jefferson-Pilot bought KQKS, they dropped the K-Hits format and moved the KQKS calls and its Rhythmic format to 107.5, where it has been ever since (the call letter change to KQKS took place February 21, 1997).
KQKS played a pivotal role in breaking the record "That's What Love Can Do" by the American female group Boy Krazy. The song, produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, was a commercial failure upon its original release in Europe in 1991, but by late 1992, it wound up receiving airplay on the station after one of the staffers heard a remix done by Hot Tracks, breathing new life into it. The record would climb up the charts, becoming a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, Top 40 Mainstream and Rhythmic Contemporary charts in 1993. Boy Krazy mentions KQKS in their thank you credits on the single which can be found on their first (and only) 1993 self-titled album.
- "KS 107.5 Launches New Morning Show" from Radio Insight (May 31, 2017)
- "10 Questions with ... The KS 1075 Morning Show" from All Access (February 3, 2010)
- "KS 107.5 Morning Show With Larry and Kathie Canceled After Contract Dispute" from Westword (March 30, 2017)
- "Entercom Acquires Lincoln Financial Media" from Radio Insight (December 8, 2014)
- "FCC OKs Lincoln Financial-Entercom Deal" from All Access (June 26, 2015)
- KS107.5 - #1 For Today's Hottest Music!
- Audio clip of K-Hits 107.5 debut
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KQKS
- Radio-Locator information on KQKS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KQKS