|Broadcast area||Lansing, Michigan|
|First air date||1976 (as WJOX-FM)|
|Former callsigns||WJOX-FM (1976-3/13/81)
|Owner||Duey E. Wright
(Midwest Communications, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WLMI, WQTX, WWDK|
WJXQ (106.1 FM, "Q106") is a radio station broadcasting a mainstream rock format. Licensed to Charlotte, Michigan, it first began broadcasting under the WKHM-FM call sign. Its studios are located on Cedar St. in Holt, Michigan.
WJXQ can be heard as far west as Grand Rapids and as far east as the Detroit Metro area and Flint/Lapeer with a good antenna.
The station was originally a simulcast of full-service AC sister station WKHM-AM 970, under the call letters WKHM-FM. (Other than call letters, the station is no relation to the current WKHM-FM, known as "K105.3.")
The simulcast ended in 1976, when 106.1 FM changed calls to WJOX, and switched to TM Programming's automated "Stereo Rock" Top 40 format. The station's morning show (hosted by local talent Jerry Barnhart) was live, but the rest of the dayparts were full automation, complete with pre-recorded song backsells from TM's John Borders, a voice who was heard on Stereo Rock stations across the country at the time. The station's moniker during this time was "Rock 106 WJOX", and it served mainly the Jackson area.
The TM format was maintained until 1981, when the station moved its tower and transmitter location from Jackson (also the station's then-city of license) to a location four miles east-north-east of the town of Springport in the northwestern part of Jackson County and increased power from 20,000 watts to 50,000 watts in preparation to invade the Lansing market with a brand new format. (WJXQ can be heard as far away as Angola, Indiana, Alma, Michigan, as far west as Kentwood on the outskirts of Grand Rapids and as far east as Novi in the western suburbs of Detroit.)
On the afternoon of March 11, 1981, WJOX became WJXQ. The station's power had more than doubled from a new tower site, giving it a strong signal into Lansing. Gone was the automated TM Stereo Rock format, replaced by a rock-intensive Top 40 format with high-energy live air talent. The station also had a new moniker, "Q106". The first song played on the new station was Elton John's "Funeral For a Friend", which new program director Jim Ryan followed on the air by declaring, "That was for you, Brad" (a reference to Brad Curtis, then program director of WILS-FM, one of WJXQ's prime competitors). Within three months, WJXQ claimed the #1 spot 12+ in the Lansing Arbitron ratings from relative obscurity. WILS-FM was hit hard and changed to an AC format in April 1984; its ratings would not recover until over a decade later when the station became CHR-formatted Z101.7 WHZZ (now Adult Hits "Mike FM").
The 1980s/1990s - Q106 vs. WVIC
The new Q106 would soon face tough competition from cross-town rival WVIC, consulted by E. Alvin Davis. The two stations engaged in a Top 40 (CHR) format war in the early and mid 1980s, from which WVIC would eventually emerge as the ratings leader. In the fall of 1985, Q106 dropped its rock-intensive approach for a more pop-oriented approach to the CHR format, playing more artists like Madonna and appearing to take on WVIC directly. The effort ultimately failed, and within two years, Q106 was gearing back toward a rock-oriented format, this time concentrating on Album Oriented Rock (AOR). It was here that the station found its niche, and its ratings began to rebound.
By the early 1990s, Q106 had solid ratings, helped in great part by the success of the Tim Barron and Deb Hart morning show, which had developed a steady following. When Barron and Hart left the station for WVIC (then Active Rock "Buzz 95") in January 1997, they were replaced by the syndicated Bob and Tom Show from Indianapolis' WFBQ, which remains popular on the station to this day.
Q106 briefly changed its moniker to "New 106" in the fall of 1997. This was accompanied by a format modification toward Active/Alternative Rock. The moniker returned to the familiar "Q106" within six months, although the format modifications remained in place.
On March 17, 2010, it was announced that the Rubber City Radio Group based in Akron, Ohio, was planning to sell WJXQ, along with sister stations WWDK, WQTX, and WLMI to Midwest Communications. The deal officially closed on July 1, 2010.