Q101 Chicago

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Broadcast area Chicago, Illinois
Slogan Chicago's Alternative
Format Alternative Rock
Former callsigns WKQX
Former frequencies 101.1 FM
Affiliations Emmis Communications
Owner Broadcast Barter Radio Networks
Sister stations WCKG
Webcast Listen Live
Website Q101.com

Q101 Chicago is an alternative Internet radio station in the Chicago metropolitan area. "Q101 Chicago" is a direct continuation of the programming that was featured on terrestrial radio station WKQX 101.1 from 1992 until 2011. Following a sale of the radio station and closedown of the format on July 14, 2011, the intellectual property of "Q101" was purchased by Chicago entrepreneurs[citation needed] Matt Dubiel and Mike Noonan under the Broadcast Barter Radio Networks banner. The company owns the name Q101, Q101.com, @Q101Chicago on all social media.The RADIO station on FM 101.1 is owned by Cumulus Media. It is an alternative format and is called "101WKQX" and is in no way currently affiliated with the name "Q101".

The station broadcasts online, and maintains a working relationship with talk-formatted WCKG 1530-AM, a station that is also managed by BBRN.[citation needed]. In fact, WCKG simulcasts Q101 weekdays from 7AM until 3PM.

Sale and move to online radio[edit]

On July 14, 2011, WKQX-FM and sister station WLUP-FM were sold by then-owner Emmis Communications to Merlin Media, with plans to convert it to an all-news station, similar to market leader WBBM (AM). Before Merlin officially took over, Broadcast Barter Radio Networks, which included[clarification needed] entrepreneurs Matt Dubiel and Mike Noonan, bought the intellectual property of "Q101" – the name, image, history from 1992-2011, logos, and domain name – from Emmis.[1] For an interim period, Q101 immediately started broadcasting the same music on Q101.com as KROX-FM (another radio station operated by Emmis) without DJs or commercials.[citation needed]

Merlin Media since moved the WKQX call sign to a low-power analog television channel (and a silent radio station in Watseka, Illinois owned by Merlin Media's CEO), and subsequently began broadcasting an alternative rock format on the aural side of the television channel as "Q87.7", but that station had no connection to "Q101 Chicago." BBRN also simulcast the stream of Q101 on co-managed WJJG/1530 AM for a brief period in 2012[2] before relaunching that station as talk-formatted WCKG. BBRN then filed a trademark infringement suit against Merlin Media following the launch of "Q87.7"; the case would be settled out of court.[3]

On January 2014, Merlin Media's Chicago cluster was taken over by Cumulus Media in a local marketing agreement, which included the former terrestrial radio home for "Q101 Chicago".[4] While the WKQX callsign has been restored on the 101.1 facility, and the alternative format featured on "Q87.7" is moving to the 101.1 facility in a month-long simulcast period, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey, Jr. publicly stated that the new format on WKQX-FM would have no connection to "Q101 Chicago" and would not use the "Q101" moniker.[5] Consequently, the station temporary used oblique branding until the simulcast ended on February 17, 2014, upon which the station was rebranded as "101WKQX."[6][7]

For their part, "Q101 Chicago" and BBRN's Matt Dubiel have also publicly stated that, despite initial erroneous reports[8] and initial listener confusion, their operation was not purchased by Cumulus Media, and that the new WKQX will have nothing to do with "Q101 Chicago".[9]


  1. ^ "Q101's Past, Present & Future To Continue Online At New Q101.com". Chicagoland Radio and Media. July 14, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  2. ^ "TWO Alternative Rock Radio Stations Launch - WJJG and WKQX". Chicagoland Radio and Media. May 7, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  3. ^ "Q101 Owner Sues Q87.7 Owner Over Trademark Infringement". Chicagoland Radio and Media. July 4, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Cumulus Purchasing All Merlin Media Properties; Alternative Coming Back To 101.1". Chicagoland Radio and Media. January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  5. ^ "Deal for "the Loop" gives radio powerhouse bigger reach in Chicago". Crain's Chicago Business. January 4, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "Alternative Returns To 101.1 Chicago". RadioInsight. January 3, 2014; updated January 8, 2014 and January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/101WKQX/status/434395646766755840
  8. ^ "Cumulus Purchases Q101, Will Return To Original Alternative Format". Archived from the original on 2014-01-06.
  9. ^ ""Cue" The Alternative, The Matt DuBiel interview". Q101.com, Broadcast Barter Radio Networks. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.