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|City||Forestbrook, South Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina|
|Slogan||The Grand Strand's Alternative|
|First air date||March 11, 1985|
|Former callsigns||WAVF (1985-2008)|
(Alpha Media Licensee LLC)
|Sister stations||WMYB, WRNN, WRNN-FM, WYAV|
WKZQ-FM (96.1 FM, "96-1 KZQ") is an Alternative rock radio station licensed to Forestbrook, South Carolina and serves the Grand Strand area. The station is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to broadcast at 96.1 MHz with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 8,500 watts.
The format and call sign WKZQ-FM had been on 101.7 MHz since the late 1970s before a frequency swap on September 23, 2008.
WKZQ-FM signed on July 3, 1969. Originally on 101.7 MHz, WKZQ was established as a "beautiful music" automated station, operating out of the back room of its big sister AM rocker, WTGR. At one point WKZQ played middle of the road music during the day, and Top 40 at night when WTGR had to go off the air. In the mid-1970s General Manager Bill Hennecy transitioned to an oldies format with limited live announcers in AM drive (Hennecy), afternoons (J. Patrick Milan), and night (Tom Walters). Other day parts were automated until Hennecy hired Greg Fowler who took the FM station live and progressively formatted it to a mix of Top 40 and oldies with female Personality Linda King along with (Bad) Brad Todd with the overnight duties when Rock 102 went 24 hours live in 1975..
During the 1980s WKZQ had a full-time Top 40 format. WTGR became WKZQ and began simulcasting the FM. In 1985, Marv Clark was morning host and The Freakin' Deacon was also a DJ. When the FM station increased power from 3,000 to 50,000 watts in 1989, the format changed to rock.
On March 11, 1997, Tony Hirsh announced he was buying WKZQ and WKZQ-FM from Tom Rogers, president of Grand Strand Broadcasting, which had owned both stations since each signed on.
Under the direction of Hennecy and Fowler Q-102 overtook its sister station and went on to become Billboard Magazine's Station of the Year and won numerous Brandon 'Station of the Year' awards. Notable rock jocks who passed through 'KZQ were Sirius Satellite Radio host and programmer, Human Numan (who was known as Shotgun Jeff Stone), the late Bob Decay (killed in auto accident in late '70s), Kenn Heinlein (WLS' Citizen Kenn), The Freakin' Deacon, Brian Phillips, Jay Charland, Mike Urben, John Van Pelt, Chuckie Boo Boo "Boo" Baron (who was named by James Brown!), Bob Chase, Mike Willis, Scott Summers, Marv Clark, Henry Kaye, Chris William, John Kilgo, Ray Mariner, Jack Boston, and Fowler, who left to become manager of country sensation, Alabama. As of May 21, 2009, Milan, Van Pelt, Jack Murphy and Deacon, can be heard online at QRockRadio.
In the 1990s, with other stations playing classic rock, WKZQ changed its emphasis to new rock also making the addition of a female in the APD/Music director position- On Air 7-Midnight Summer James (SUMMER) who continues to perform On Air Radio/TV in the Los Angeles & San Diego markets along with imaging stations across the country. Summer is known for making the largest jump from 'Small Market' Myrtle Beach to 'Major Market' #2 Los Angeles.
With the purchase of the station by NextMedia Group, Brian Rickman was named Program/Music Director and adjusted the station's format to Alternative Rock. In January 2002 Mad Max and Special-K joined WKZQ and hosted the Mad Max Morning Show until Special K's exit in February 2005. Mad Max and Special-K received #1 ratings and various awards including "Best Of The Beach" from the local Sun News as well as numerous Radio and Records "Best Stunts" awards. The Mad Max Morning Show heavily featured phone pranks, on location stunts as well as listener contests. Abbi along with Jerzee Boy were added to the show in the spring of 2005. Mad Max left KZQ in May 2006.
The station won Radio and Records magazine's 2007 Industry Achievement Award for best Alternative Station for markets 100 and up. It was the station's second nomination in three years and the first win. Finalists also included WJSE, KQXR, WBTZ, KXNA, and WSFM.
Mason "Mase" Brazelle was named Music Director of the Year for modern rock, secondary markets, in 2011.
KZQ's playlist includes New and Classic Alternative ranging from AWOLNATION, Black Keys, Jack White and Artic Monkeys to The Clash, Nirvana, Beastie Boys and Pearl Jam.
NextMedia Group sold WKZQ-FM and its 32 other radio stations to Digity, LLC for $85 million; the transaction was consummated on February 10, 2014.
Effective February 25, 2016, Digity and its 124 radio stations were acquired by Alpha Media for $264 million.
- David Wren and Toby Eddings, "WJYR Owner Buys 2 WKZQs," The Sun News, March 12, 1997.
- Taylor, Chuck, "10 Musical Stations with Bold Directors and Bold Teams--Shaking Up the Airwaves," Billboard, 8/6/2011, Vol. 123, Issue 27.
- Toby Eddings, "WYAK changes its lineup and image," The Sun News, Apr. 25, 1999.
- "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
- Palisin, Steve (September 30, 2008). "'Cool' another choice on Strand radio dial". Myrtle Beach Online. The Sun News. Archived from the original on October 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
- "Business Pulse for Horry, Georgetown and Brunswick counties". The Sun News. 2012-01-08. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- Palisin, Steve (2013-04-25). "ESPN Radio has a new home on Myrtle Beach radio". The Sun News.
- Palisin, Steve (September 27, 2014). "Tesh happy to return to Myrtle Beach airwaves". The Sun News.