Q101 Chicago

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Q101 Chicago
CityChicago, Illinois
Broadcast areaChicago
Chicago metropolitan area
BrandingQ101 Chicago
SloganChicago's Alternative
FrequencyOnline only
First air dateJuly 15, 2011 (2011-07-15)
FormatModern Rock
OwnerBroadcast Barter Radio Networks
WebcastListen Live

Q101 Chicago is a commercial Internet radio station based in Chicago, Illinois, serving primarily Chicago and the surrounding Chicago metropolitan area. Independently owned by Broadcast Barter Radio Networks, the station streams a modern rock format promoted as a "continuation" of "Q101," the intellectual property and related trademarks of Chicago-licensed terrestrial radio station WKQX (101.1 FM) between 1992 and 2011 (divested from then-station owner Emmis Communications in July 2011).

This streaming service is not to be confused with the current WKQX, which despite programming a modern rock format of its own and also streams online in addition to their standard analog transmission, is branded and identified as "101WKQX."


On June 21, 2011, WKQX (101.1 FM) and sister station WLUP (97.9 FM) were sold by then-owner Emmis Communications to Merlin Media, who had plans to launch an all-news station on WKQX's frequency.[1][2] That July 14, the day before Merlin was to take over both stations via a local marketing agreement, Emmis divested the intellectual property of "Q101" – the name, history from 1992-2011, logos, social media profiles, trademarks and domain name – to Broadcast Barter Radio Networks, headed by Matt Dubiel and Mike Noonan.[3] Consequently, the Internet stream of WKQX ceased as a stream of the station at midnight and began programming separately as a new streaming service, initially without DJs or commercials, under the "Q101.com" name. Thus, July 15, 2011 can be regarded as the "start date" for the current "Q101 Chicago."

Upon taking over WKQX, Merlin Media changed the station's callsign to WWWN, then to WIQI; the WKQX calls were "parked" on a then-silent radio station in Watseka, Illinois owned by Merlin Media's CEO. Then, on April 30, 2012, Merlin Media began leasing WLFM-LP, a low-power analog television channel broadcasting on analog channel 6 but whose aural power is receivable at 87.7 MHz, changed the callsign to WKQX-LP and launched a modern rock format of their own as "Q87.7."[4] At the same time, the operators of "Q101 Chicago" began a simulcast of their audio stream at various times on WJJG (1530 AM), an AM radio station licensed to operate during the daytime hours managed by Matt Dubeil, one of the people behind BBRN.[5] BBRN then filed a trademark infringement suit against Merlin Media following the launch of "Q87.7"; the case would be settled out of court.[6]

WIQI and WLUP were taken over by Cumulus Media in a local marketing agreement announced on January 3, 2014; the modern rock format heard on "Q87.7" would be moved over to WIQI, which concurrently changed back to the WKQX callsign.[7] After a month-long simulcast period with WKQX-LP with oblique "101.1 FM" branding, WKQX was relaunched as "101WKQX" on February 17, 2014,[8][9] with no connection to "Q101 Chicago" and would not use the "Q101" moniker.[10][11]


  1. ^ Feder, Robert (June 21, 2011). "Q101, Loop deal blows Randy Michaels back into radio business". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  2. ^ "Merlin Media launches Chicago's first all-news FM station" from Chicago Tribune, 7/31/2011
  3. ^ "Q101's Past, Present & Future To Continue Online At New Q101.com". Chicagoland Radio and Media. July 14, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  4. ^ Feder, Robert (April 24, 2012). "Randy rocks Chicago again: Merlin conjures up new alternative". TimeOut Chicago. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  5. ^ "TWO Alternative Rock Radio Stations Launch - WJJG and WKQX". Chicagoland Radio and Media. May 7, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  6. ^ "Q101 Owner Sues Q87.7 Owner Over Trademark Infringement". Chicagoland Radio and Media. July 4, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "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)
  8. ^ "WKQX To Unveil New Identity Monday," from RadioInsight, originally reported 2/12/2014 and updated 2/17/2014
  9. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/101WKQX/status/434395646766755840
  10. ^ "Deal for "the Loop" gives radio powerhouse bigger reach in Chicago". Crain's Chicago Business. January 4, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  11. ^ ""Cue" The Alternative, The Matt DuBiel interview". Q101.com, Broadcast Barter Radio Networks. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.