|City||WQBK-FM: Rensselaer, New York
WQBJ: Cobleskill, New York
|Broadcast area||WQBK-FM: Capital District, Upper Hudson Valley
WQBJ: Mohawk Valley, Oneonta, Utica-Rome
|Slogan||Albany's Rock Station|
|Frequency||WQBK-FM: 103.9 MHz
WQBJ: 103.5 MHz
|First air date||WQBK-FM: 1972
WQBJ: 1986 (as WITU)
|ERP||WQBK-FM: 6,000 watts
WQBJ: 50,000 watts
|HAAT||WQBK-FM: 92 meters
WQBJ: 150 meters
|Facility ID||WQBK-FM: 40767
|Callsign meaning||WQBK-FM: Randomly assigned by the FCC
WQBJ: Variation of WQBK
|Former callsigns||WQBK-FM: none
(Townsquare Media of Albany, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WQSH, WGNA-FM, WTMM-FM|
WQBK-FM and WQBJ (103.9 and 103.5 FM, Q103) are mainstream rock music formatted radio stations licensed to Rensselaer, New York and Cobleskill, New York respectively, and serving New York's Capital District and Mohawk Valley. The stations are owned by Townsquare Media. WQBK-FM broadcasts at 6 kilowatts ERP from a tower in Bethlehem, New York, while WQBJ broadcasts at 50 kilowatts ERP from a tower northwest of Fultonville, New York. WQBK-FM is also one of the three commercial Albany FM radio stations to have never changed their call letters (WGNA-FM and WFLY are the others).
WQBK-FM is the longest-running commercial rock music station in the Albany radio market, predating WPYX by five years. Throughout the years, the station has continued to evolve through various rock formats, beginning with progressive rock in August 1975; the station currently airs an alternative-leaning active rock format.
History of WQBJ
Prior to joining the simulcast of WQBK-FM, WQBJ signed on in 1986 as WITU with an adult contemporary format. It became WACS in 1988, still adult contemporary at the time. In 1989, WACS was sold to the owners of 98.3 WSHZ (now WTRY-FM) and they simulcasted an adult contemporary, and later oldies format (SHO Radio) as WSHQ. The sale of WSHZ to the owners of WTRY in 1992 led to a return to adult contemporary (albeit satellite fed) on 103.5 as a stopgap for the station before it was sold to Maximum Media in 1994. The calls were changed to the current WQBJ and it has been a simulcast of WQBK-FM's rock format ever since, despite several ownership changes.
History of WQBK-FM
WQBK-FM signed on in 1972 as the sister station to WQBK, an AM daytimer (today's WGDJ) which had aired MOR music. The station originally simulcasted WQBK-AM's programming and continued it through the evening hours. However, by early 1975, WQBK-FM began to air Progressive Rock, starting at 4PM. The earlier hours of the day were still a simulcast of WQBK (AM). WQBK-FM flipped to a full-time Progressive Rock format in August 1975. The original broadcast day was 7AM-1AM, signing off overnight. The station was now promoted as The Progressive 104; two years later, the iconic Q104 branding appeared on the station.
By the early 1980s, WPYX had arrived in the Albany market with a more mainstream format, while WQBK-FM kept its more progressive format, albeit updated. The original owners sold the station and its AM sister in 1984 to Dick Berkson, who tweaked the format from a new-wave format to a more mainstream format with elements of the Big Chill format (which had a heavy lean on 1960s music), and rebranded the station as QBK-FM 104 with the slogan The Rock That Matters.
However, this format caused WQBK-FM to lose its audience share, and in 1987, the station relaunched as a more mainstream classic rock format as well as the return of the Q104 branding. During this period, the programming was classic-heavy with a limited amount of currents (mainly new material from core artists of the time). Five years later, WQBK-FM would pick up The Howard Stern Show and deseat WGY morning host Don Weeks for the next thirteen years.
In 1994, WQBK-FM added a simulcast on recent acquisition WQBJ at 103.5 MHz in Cobleskill. One year later, the stations flipped to mainstream rock and rebranded as 103.5/103.9 The Edge, placed between classic rock WPYX and active rock WZRQ. However, after several months of faltering ratings, the stations flipped to modern rock, which made the stations a success in the Albany market within a year (scoring in the top 5 ratings and #1 18-34 spot) thanks to the combination of modern rock and Howard Stern.
In 1996, Radio Enterprises purchased Maximum Media (then-owners of WQBK-FM, WQBJ, and WQBK (now WGDJ)); two years later, Clear Channel would purchase Radio Enterprises, and increased voicetracking and automation at the station as well as leaning towards active rock. The stations eventually flipped officially to active rock on September 17, 1999; two weeks later, former sister station WHRL flipped to modern rock to fill the hole left by The Edge's flip to active rock.
When AMFM merged with Clear Channel in 2000, WQBK-FM/WQBJ/WTMM were divested to Regent Communications (now Townsquare Media) due to market concentration concerns; the format was tweaked to a more mainstream active rock format as a result of the acquisition by Regent; eventually developing a lean towards modern rock. However, ratings began to decline at The Edge by 2005, and with Howard Stern moving to Sirius Satellite Radio, the future of The Edge's format was bleak.
On the morning of December 16, 2005, The Edge format was flipped to album-oriented rock, changing their moniker to Q103 (a reference to the former Q104) and the Where Rock Lives slogan and introducing The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show (based at sister station WGRD-FM in Grand Rapids, Michigan) as a replacement for the departed Howard Stern show. The Edge name was later revived on Pamal Broadcasting's new active rock station WZMR (which formerly held the modern rock-formatted Z104.9 in 1999 before flipping to a jazz format and is now country music as 104.9 The Cat). During this time, the stations were positioned between WPYX and WZMR in terms of music playlist.
Two years later, the stations would flip back to active rock and introduce slogans such as Relentless Rock and Go Rock Yourself to promote the new format, which is climbing back up the ratings. Like the former Edge, the stations have a modern rock lean, although most modern rock songs played on the stations are those found on both the modern and active rock charts. A year later, WHRL flipped to active rock, sparking the Clear Channel-Regent non-compete agreement again (which was used in 2007 when WBZZ had a Hot AC format and flipped to AC as a result); however, WHRL eventually flipped to a simulcast of WGY.
By the end of 2010, WQBK-FM/WQBJ was the only Active Rock radio station remaining in the Albany market, as both WZMR and WHRL had flipped to country music as 104.9 The Cat and a simulcast of talk radio WGY respectively. Mediabase & Arbitron now report WQBK-FM/WQBJ as an active rock station, replacing WZMR; while Nielsen BDS reports the station on the mainstream rock panel as of 2012, meaning active rock was pretty much replaced by mainstream rock on this station. On September 2, 2011, the station gained a new competitor on 100.9 FM WKLI Rock 100.9 when the station flipped from variety hits to active rock; however, WQBK-FM still leans more alternative than its competitor.
In October 2013, WKLI-FM flipped from active rock to country music, leaving WQBK-FM as the only active rock radio station in the Albany area once again.
For a brief period in 2000, WQBK-FM/WQBJ had an association with startup cable-only UPN affiliate WEDG-TV which used the "EdgeTV" branding and a variant of the radio station's logo as their on-air logo. After The Edge was taken over by Regent Communications, that station changed its name to "UPN4" and was dissolved in 2003 when off-air affiliate WNYA signed on.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WQBK
- Radio-Locator information on WQBK
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WQBK
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WQBJ
- Radio-Locator information on WQBJ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WQBJ