|Slogan||"The Best Country, The Most Fun"|
|Owner||Brewer Broadcasting Corp.|
WQLK (96.1 FM) is a radio station licensed to Richmond, Indiana, located at 96.1 MHz on the FM dial. WQLK broadcasts at an effective radiated power of 50,000 Watts with its studios, offices, and tower located east of US 35 on Tingler Road just north of Richmond.
The station used to broadcast Richmond High School football and boys basketball broadcasts until 2000. Those broadcasts have since moved to sister station, 1017 The Point. WHON AM-FM
WQLK is Richmond's oldest FM radio signal. The station signed on as WGLM, featuring a Jazz format. This format continued until 1970 when the station adopted a Country format. Jazz remained a fixture on the station, however. WQLK continued to broadcast a Sunday morning jazz program until 1992 when the station became "Kicks 96". By 1974, the station changed its call sign to WQLK and adopted an Easy listening format and briefly returned to country before flip-flopping formats with its AM sister station, WHON in 1979 to become Top 40 as K-96.
Throughout the early- and mid-1980s, WQLK saw quite a bit of success as a Top 40. What made K-96 stand out from stations in nearby Dayton, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati was that it leaned more to toward the Rock side of the genre. This "Rock 40" format gave artists such as The Police, Duran Duran, Def Leppard, for example, more exposure than heard on a conventional Top 40. K-96 did play some Rhythmic music, but mainly those from bands that were considered to be new wave music. By today's standards, "Rock 40" would be termed as a Modern Rock format.
By the end of the 1980s, WQLK became a classic hits station featuring mainly 1970s rock. The format quickly morphed into classic rock by 1990 and then album oriented rock by the early 1990s. The station retained the "K-96" moniker and the koala mascot throughout these format tweaks. In the spring of 1992, and with rumors of a format change in the air, their playlist began to shift slightly incorporating songs by Mary Chapin Carpenter (Passionate Kisses), Restless Heart (When She Cries) and even country crooner Vince Gill (I Still Believe In You) into their playlists right alongside format regulars Led Zeppelin, Boston and John Mellencamp. Popular air personalities from this time period include The Captain, Jim Rhodes, The Buddha and Mike Fox.
Finally in July 1992, the "K-96" era of the station came to an end. At 5pm on the Friday before the format change, the radio station began playing the song "Kicks" by Paul Revere & the Raiders continuously all weekend. The following Monday at 5am, morning show hosts J.R. & The Buddha premiered the radio station's new contemporary Country format as, "Kicks 96." J.R. & The Buddha remained as the radio station's morning show until J.R. was replaced by Buzz Cannon in 1995. At this time Buzz also took over as the station's Program Director. The Buzz & Buddha morning show remained an integral part of the station's success until Buzz's departure in 1999. Upon Buzz's departure from the station, Buddha took over as Program Director and evening air personality Angie Fox was promoted to mornings. Buddha was replaced as Program Director in 2001 by afternoon air-personality Steve Baker who remained the station's P.D. until October 31, 2008. Baker was replaced by Phil O'Reilly on November 1, 2008. The radio station's General Manager Dave Strycker has remained the station's G.M. since 1978. Angie & The Buddha have won numerous awards from The Indiana Broadcasters Association as have Steve Baker, News Director Jeff Lane and Production Director Joe Winters. Though the station has tweaked itself slightly over the years to include older songs and has changed their positioning statement from Hot Country Kicks 96 to The Best Country & The Most Fun, Kicks 96, their county format remains relatively the same to this day. Key air-personalities since 1993 include: Mark Brim, Buzz Cannon, The Buddha, Angie Fox, Allen Rantz, Paul Partezana, Dave McKay, Steve Baker, and Randy Klemme/Big R.