|Broadcast area||Spokane area|
|Branding||Newsradio 590 KQNT|
|Slogan||Spokane's News Source|
|First air date||February 28, 1922 in Seattle, October 30, 1925 in Spokane|
|Format||News Talk Information|
|Callsign meaning||K(H)Q News Talk|
|Former callsigns||KHQ (1922-1985)|
|Affiliations||Fox News Radio, Premiere Radio Networks|
|Owner||iHeartMedia, Inc. |
(Capstar TX LLC)
|Sister stations||KCDA, KFOO-FM, KISC, KKZX, KZFS|
KQNT (590 AM) is a news/talk radio station owned by iHeartMedia and licensed to Spokane, Washington. It offers a mix of news and syndicated talk, featuring programming from Fox News Radio and Premiere Radio Networks.
KQNT is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States. It was first licensed in February 1922 as KHQ in Seattle, Washington, before moving to Spokane in 1925.
KQNT airs a live local morning show from 5-9 a.m., and receives hourly news updates from Fox News Radio and local news, traffic, and weather updates from KHQ-TV 6, Spokane's NBC TV affiliate. The station's talk shows include Rush Limbaugh, Dave Ramsey, Glenn Beck, America Now with Andy Dean, and Coast to Coast AM, all distributed by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks.
In early 1922 there was growing interest by the general public about the introduction of radio broadcasting. On December 1, 1921 the U.S. Department of Commerce, which regulated radio at this time, adopted a regulation formally establishing a broadcasting station category, which set aside the wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) for entertainment broadcasts, and 485 meters (619 kHz) for market and weather reports. By the end of 1922 there were over 500 authorized stations in the United States.
The first station in Seattle licensed under the new broadcasting regulation was KFC on December 8, 1921, operated jointly by the Northern Radio and Electric Company and the Post-Intelligencer newspaper. Vincent I. Kraft's KJR didn't receive a broadcasting station license until March 9, 1922, however Kraft had been broadcasting over an Experimental station since 1920. Therefore, when Louis Wasmer launched a new station in late February 1922, it was described at the time as "the third broadcaster".
Wasmer was a former United Wireless Telegraph Company radiotelegraph operator, who opened the Excelsior Motorcycle and Bicycle Co. in 1911, and also sold radio equipment. Wasmer's first license was issued with the randomly assigned call letters KHQ on February 28, 1922, for operation on the 360 meter entertainment wavelength. Following two weeks of transmitter adjustment, the station actually made its debut broadcast on February 27, 1922. Its initial schedule was reported to be phonograph music presented every evening between 7 and 8:30.
In March the station suspended operations for nearly two weeks, returning with a 50-watt transmitter that replaced the original 10-watt set, which had been sold to the Economy Market so it could establish station KZC. Because there was only the single entertainment wavelength of 360 meters available for use by multiple stations, each region had to set up a timesharing agreement to allocate timeslots. On November 28, 1922 KHQ had the fewest programs of the four listed stations, with a schedule of just 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
In May 1925 it was announced that KHQ was temporarily going off the air in order to give Bush & Lane time to "make extensive alterations in the studio", while making a major upgrade in the facilities. Instead, after broadcasting in Seattle for three years, Wasmer moved the station to Spokane, reportedly transporting the radio equipment in a motorcycle sidecar. KHQ was Spokane's fifth radio station, preceded by KFZ, KOE, KFIO (now KSBN) and KFPY (now KXLY), although only KFIO and KFPY were still licensed at the time of KHQ's arrival.
Part of the move included an upgrade from 100 to 1,000 watts, although still on 1100 kHz. KHQ went on the air with great fanfare from the Davenport Hotel in Spokane on October 30, 1925.  Announcer Frank "Spark Plug" Buhlert told listeners that "The first 500 persons who send telegrams or phone in that they have heard the program will receive a souvenir bag of ore from the world's largest lead mine, the Bunker Hill & Sullivan, at Kellogg, Idaho." The debut broadcast ran from 8 p.m. to midnight, and included assorted speeches and music.
Wasmer moved the station's studios and office across Post Street from the Davenport Hotel to the seventh floor of Spokane Stock Exchange Building (also called the Eilers Building) in 1928 because the fledgling station had outgrown its quarters in the hotel. KGA later joined KHQ in the building, which was subsequently renamed the Radio Central Building.
KHQ changed its transmitting frequency a number of times in the mid-twenties, until November 11, 1928, when, under the provisions of a major reallocation resulting from the Federal Radio Commission's (FRC) General Order 40, it was reassigned to 590 kHz which it and its successors have used ever since.
The August 1941 adoption of the Federal Communications Commission's "duopoly" rule restricted licensees from operating more than one radio station in a given market. At this time Louis Wasmer, Inc. owned two Spokane stations: KHQ and KGA. To conform with the FCC order, in 1946 Wasmer sold KHQ to the Cowles Publishing Company, publisher of The Seattle Spokesman-Review newspaper, which used it to launch an FM station (now KISC) and a television station (which still bears the KHQ-TV calls). KHQ stayed in the Radio Central Building until 1960, when it moved to a modern facility next to its transmitter site on South Regal on the Moran Prairie.
Cowles sold off its radio interests in 1984; on New Year's Day 1985, and kept the historic KHQ call letters for its TV station. Because of a FCC rule in place at the time that prohibited TV and radio stations in the same market but with different ownership from sharing the same call letters, AM 590 changed its call to KLSN, with the slogan "Listen 5-90".
On December 1, 1986 the station changed its call sign to KAQQ, which was phonetically similar to the original KHQ call letters.
On New Year's Day 2002 the call letters became KQNT.
- Excelsior Motorcycle and Bicycle Co. (advertisement), Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 29, 1924, page 7.
- "Amendments to Regulations", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
- "Three Broadcasters Busy", Seattle Daily Times, February 28, 1922, page 5.
- "Who's Who in Seattle", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 3, 1922, page 17.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, March 1, 1922, page 2. Limited Commercial license, serial #307, issued for operation on 360 meters for a period of three months to Louis Wasmer in Seattle, Washington.
- "Stronger Set Is Ready", Seattle Daily Times, March 29, 1922, page 7.
- "Radio News", Seattle Daily Times, April 25, 1922, page 25.
- "What's In The Air", Seattle Star, November 28, 1922, page 5.
- "Bush & Lane Station To Broadcast Wednesday", Seattle Times, January 18, 1925, page 5.
- "Additions and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, February 2, 1925, page 8.
- "KHQ To Be Improved", Seattle Daily Times, May 17, 1925, page 18.
- "KHQ - 1922 to Present" by Bill Harms (philcobill.com)
- "Louis Wasmer, Pioneer of Radio, Dies", Seattle Daily Times, August 25, 1967, page 49.
- "New Radio Will Make Bow Tonight", Spokane Daily Chronicle, 30 October 1925, page 3.
- "Ceremonies Will Mark Opening of New Radio Plant," Spokane Chronicle, 30 October 1925.
- "KHQ Goes On Air Here", Spokane Spokesman-Review, 30 October 1925, page 11.
- "KHQ's Debut is Big Success", Spokane Spokesman-Review, 31 October 1925, page 1.
- "Chronicle to Broadcast Halloween Parade Report", Spokane Daily Chronicle, 31 October 1925, page 2.
- "KHQ Will Move Radio Studios", Spokane Spokesman-Review, 2 May 1928.
- "KHQ - Radio Central Building" by Bill Harms, Spokane Radio History (philcobill.com)
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, 30 November 1928, page 8.
- "Ban On Multiple Ownership in Same Area", Broadcasting, August 11, 1941, pages 6-7.
- "FCC Approves KHQ Sale to Newspaper", Broadcasting, February 11, 1946, page 42.
- KHQ Radio Broadcasting Station Licenses from 1934 to 1937. Federal Communications Commission. Washington, DC. From the National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- "KQNT Call Sign History". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- News/Talk 590's website (590kqnt.iheart.com)
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KQNT
- Radio-Locator Information on KQNT
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KQNT