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City Salamanca, New York
Broadcast area Olean, New York
Branding 98 Rocks
Frequency 98.3 MHz
First air date October 15, 1988 (as WQRT)
Format Classic rock/AOR
ERP 3,200 watts
HAAT 135 meters
Class A
Facility ID 9408
Transmitter coordinates 42°6′32.00″N 78°36′28.00″W / 42.1088889°N 78.6077778°W / 42.1088889; -78.6077778
Callsign meaning We're Q Rock Salamanca
Former callsigns WQRT (1988-2006)
Owner Bettina Finn, William and Paige Christian
(Sound Communications, LLC)
Sister stations WMXO, WOEN, WGGO
Webcast Listen Live
Website 98rockswqrs.com

WQRS (98.3 FM) is a radio station in Salamanca, New York in the Olean, New York broadcasting area. The station broadcasts a classic rock format, with its license owned by Sound Communications, LLC. The station's transmitter, owned separately by previous licensee Michael Washington and leased to Sound, is based in Carrollton.


The station signed on October 15, 1988[1] It signed on as WQRT, and its slogan was "Great 98 Country." Although it was part of the boom in rural and suburban FM stations that gave country music a major boost in the late 1980s, WQRT followed an approach more akin to the older country outlets of the time, with a mix of modern and traditional classic country. They served the Salamanca, Bradford, and Olean markets. WQRT was the top rated station since there were not many country stations. One year after WQRT's sign-on, 95.7 in Olean switched from its old adult-contemporary/easy listening format to country and became WPIG; WPIG, in contrast to WQRT's classic approach, followed the more modern approach of most of the newer country stations and focused on the "hot country" style emerging at the time, allowing WQRT to maintain its niche for several more years. During this era, WQRT was owned by Gary Livingston.

Beginning in the late 1990s, the station rebranded as 98 Rocks, under the ownership of Michael Washington until the year 2006, when Washington sold the station to Pembrook Pines Media Group. The intention was to split WQRT into two stations, WQRS (Q Rock Salamanca) and WQRW (Q Rock Wellsville).[2] However, when the station's only local jock, Scott Douglas, was let go by the company in 2007, those plans were dropped. WQRW was still built, but now airs a Hot Adult Contemporary format instead.

The loss of Douglas, and the lack of a local replacement, hurt the station badly, resulting from the station losing over half of its market share, from third-place in the mid-2000s [1] to tenth in the most recent books. Between January and March 2009, Michael Hamm hosted a live morning show at the station, but left for WDOE in Dunkirk, New York after his short stint (Hamm later held a second stint at WPIG for several more years). WQRS primarily broadcast programming from Dial Global's "Classic Rock" (and before that, The Classic Rock Experience from ABC) and also carried the syndicated Nights with Alice Cooper program.

In September 2010, WQRS quietly ended its classic rock format and switched to an all-satellite country music format, simulcasting WZKZ in Alfred and competing with WBYB, WDDH, and market leader WPIG for the country music audience. During its time as a country outlet WQRS was the local affiliate for the Colgate Country Showdown; WPIG took over that distinction in 2014. WQRS affiliated with the New York Yankees Radio Network in 2011.

On October 2, 2013 WQRS changed their format back to classic rock and returned to the "98 Rocks" brand. The current format is locally originated (but automated) and features a broader, album-oriented playlist, programmed by Roxanne Stuart who also hosts the morning show. In late September 2014, Sound Communication became the owner of WQRS, with a few changes, the main being budget cuts, shifting Roxanne Stuart out of programming position, keeping Stuart's basic format and Stuart continuing to helm the "Most Music" show, moved to afternoon drive as the syndicated Lex & Terry was added to morning drive. Sound Communications' Twin Tiers area program director, Chris Russell, also held an airshift until leaving for WGWE in 2016.

The WQRS call sign was previously heard on a classical music FM station in Detroit, Michigan.


  1. ^ http://buffalobroadcasters.com/hist_main.asp
  2. ^ Report from The Villager of Ellicottville in September 2006.

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