|Broadcast area||Columbus metro area|
|Branding||99.7 The Blitz|
|Slogan||Your Rock Station.|
|First air date||April 4, 2008
April 26, 1962
|Callsign meaning||W "The RocK" Z
|Former callsigns||WBZX (1992–2008)
|Owner||North American Broadcasting Company, Inc.
(North American Broadcasting Company, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WMNI, WJKR|
WRKZ (99.7 FM) — branded 99.7 The Blitz — is a commercial active rock radio station licensed to Columbus, Ohio serving the Columbus metro area. Both the WRKZ studios and transmitter are located in Columbus, and the station itself is owned by North American Broadcasting Company, Inc.
99.7FM went on the air in 1962. At that time, FM radio had not been widely adopted (a US commercial FM station had broadcast in stereo for the first time in June, 1961) and WMNI-FM (as it was then known) mostly rebroadcast its sister AM station's easy listening music format. Like most stations, it has changed formats over the years. By 1978 the station's call letters were WRMZ and, in the early '80s, it started to broadcast a country music format. Joe Hill, now of Tucson AZ was the weekend overnight announcer from March to August 1983. In the late '80s and early '90s the station was known as WMGG, Magic 99-7, and played predominantly '60s-era classic rock/oldies.
The Blitz: 1992–2008
The Blitz began during the July 4 weekend, 1992, and had an active rock format. The call letters when the station went by this name was WBZX. It was also formerly the home of the syndicated The Howard Stern Show for several years before that show went to Sirius Satellite Radio.
The Rock: 2008–10
On April 3, 2008, The Blitz began stunting with radio static and a voice mentioning that the "station is rebooting". The last song played on The Blitz was Breaking Benjamin's "Until the End". The next day at 5:00pm, WBZX relaunched as The Rock, along with the call letters changing to WRKZ. The new station premiered with "Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The Rock still had the Active Rock format, but it focused less on new music and played popular rock music from the 1980s.
The station added Premiere Radio Network's syndicated "Bob and Tom" show during Morning Drive in December 2008.
During the last few months as The Rock, the station added rock songs from the '60s and '70s into its playlist, shifting it into a Mainstream Rock direction. Only a few months later, the station hosted its first-ever "Town Hall Meeting", with Program Director Hal Fish and on-air personalities Ronni Hunter and Blazor taking calls, emails and texts as to what Columbus area listeners wanted more and less of on 99.7. A week later, on April 1, 2010, they once again went to the airwaves and detailed an "Action Plan" as to what would happen on the station in the following weeks, including the return of such Blitz-era staples as "Choose It Or Lose It" as well as a showcase for local musical talent. In addition, a website was launched at blitzorrock.com to determine whether or not listeners wanted to keep the station named The Rock or for The Blitz to make a return.
The Blitz: 2010–present
On April 22, 2010, at a "Blitz or Rock Reveal Party" it was announced that the station would be once again called The Blitz. It premiered with Mudvayne's "Happy?", followed by Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness". Along with the changes, it was also announced that the "Bob & Tom Show" would be dropped in a few weeks and be replaced by a local morning show. The show that replaced it was Blazor and Mo in the morning, which ironically was the same show that Bob & Tom replaced in December 2008.
In early December 2011, Mo (Maurice Jovan) was no longer on the air. On February 6, 2012, Mark Blazor resigned.
WRKZ features a local lineup. Loper and Randi in the Morning, a talk show, airs during weekday mornings, while the music hosts Nuber, Ronni Hunter & Hales as well as the rest of the Blitz Renegade Roster.