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KRXQ (98.5 FM, "98 Rock") is a commercial radio station in Sacramento, California. The station is owned by Entercom Communications and broadcasts a mainstream rock format. KRXQ's studios are located in North Highlands (with a Sacramento address) and its transmitter is in Folsom.
|Broadcast area||Sacramento Metropolitan Area|
|Slogan||California's Rock Station|
|Frequency||98.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||November 1, 1959|
|Format||FM/HD1: Mainstream rock|
HD2: Live rock
|HAAT||151 meters (495 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Kalifornia RoX Q (ROX means Rocks)|
|Former callsigns||KXRQ (1959-1968)|
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||KIFM, KKDO, KSEG, KSFM, KUDL|
The station at 98.5 FM first signed on November 1, 1959 as KXRQ. Owned and operated by Dale Flewelling, it was dedicated by then-California Governor Pat Brown. From its original studios and transmitter located on the 13th floor of the Elks building in downtown Sacramento, KXRQ operated daily from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. with an effective radiated power of 35,000 watts. From its elevated location, KXRQ enjoyed broad coverage throughout the Sacramento Valley. Bruce Jensen was the program director during the station's first year and programmed a varied mix of popular music during the day and jazz late at night and weekend afternoons. From 1960 until mid-1966, Paul Thompson served in the same capacity; he adjusted the format to present a more sophisticated and swinging mix with an easy jazz touch during the daytime with more straightforward jazz heard later at night. At one point KXRQ at became an all-jazz station for about two years; however, commercial support for the station waned and it restored the swinging sound format. Following the departure of Thompson, the station continued in the same direction for a while, but by early 1968 the station was having financial difficulties, and was only broadcasting from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
In mid-1968, KXRQ was purchased by Lee Gahagen (California Talking Wireless Company). Gahagen also owned a classical music station in the South Bay area, and he intended to place a classical format on his new Sacramento frequency.
In the spring of 1968, Gahagen was approached by some students from Sacramento State University who worked at campus radio station KERS (90.7, now defunct). They convinced Gahagen to run a "freeform" radio station, similar to KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco. Gahagen agreed, and, on November 8, 1968, radio station KZAP made its debut, and its existence spanned 24 years (its formats ranging from freeform rock to classic/album/hard rock) until 1992. In KZAP's final years, its competition was hard rock rival KRXQ (93.7 FM), then known as "93 Rock".
KZAP's share dropped to the lower 2s by late 1991. On January 20, 1992 at midnight, after playing the song "Cristo Redentor" by Harvey Mandel, KZAP flipped to a country music format known as "Fresh Country 98.5". Shortly thereafter, the station changed its call letters to KNCI. In February 1994, KNCI and rival country station KRAK-FM (105.1 FM) swapped frequencies, bringing the KRAK call sign to 98.5 FM. On January 17, 1997, the station shifted its focus to classic country. The station's ratings were short of stellar.
In late 1997, KRAK owner EZ Communications entered into an agreement with Entercom to switch the station's frequency with that of KRXQ. The swap occurred on March 4, 1998 at 3 p.m., sending the KRAK call letters to 93.7 FM and KRXQ to 98.5 FM, now called "98 Rock". KRXQ continued its active rock format, focusing on the top 25–30 rock singles while mixing in recurrent and classic tracks. Generally, the station had a running library of roughly 300 songs. In the spring of 1999, Entercom fired KRXQ morning drive time hosts the Rise Guys (The Phantom, Whitey Gleason & Justin Case) from their shift and hired the Rob, Arnie and Dawn Show from KDOT in Reno. In this new format on 93.7 FM, the station garnered a 12+ share (ratings) in the lower to mid 4s to lower 5s, and dominated in the target demographic of 18- to 34-year-old adults, and male listeners.
Jim Fox was appointed station manager in late 2003, and he recruited Joe Maumee — a charismatic, gruff-voiced "fun lover" — for the evening time slot. The daily lineup consisted of Rob, Arnie and Dawn in morning drive; long-time staff member Pat Martin (formerly of KGB-FM in San Diego and KMET in Los Angeles) in middays; and Craig the Dogface Boy (Dog) joining in 2004 in afternoons.
Dog and Joe teamed up in 2008 to form the Dog and Joe Show, and Mikey (Mike Muscatello) assuming nights. Mikey left the night show for other opportunities with Cristi briefly taking over the evening timeslot; he later returned to the show. Dog and Joe left KRXQ in March 2017 to host mornings on 93.7 The River, Mikey assuming afternoons and Leeanne nights.
By the late 2000s, the station completed the shift to active rock from mainstream rock with Nielsen BDS going first and Mediabase following suit later. More recently, KRXQ moved back to mainstream rock, featuring a mix of alternative and classic rock along with hip hop tracks that crossed over to the rock chart, such as those from the Beastie Boys, Eminem, and House of Pain.
On May 28, 2009, Hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States from the Rob, Arnie, and Dawn Show drew media attention in reference to two news stories regarding transgender children. States said, "God forbid if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes". Williams and States took turns referring to gender dysphoric children as "idiots" and "freaks", who were just out "for attention" and had "a mental disorder that just needs to somehow be gotten out of them", either by verbal abuse on the part of the parents, or even shock therapy. In response, several advertisers (including Snapple, Sonic, Carl's Jr, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Verizon, Chipotle Mexican Grill, AT&T, and McDonald's) temporary pulled their advertising from KRXQ. Nissan similarly declined to renew an advertising contract with the station.
"The Flannel Channel"Edit
On the weekend of April 29–30, 2006, KRXQ stunted as "The Flannel Channel", playing mostly rock hits from the 1990s with no recent or older songs. The station returned to its regular mainstream rock format on May 1. No on-air explanation was given for the temporary name change. However, according to station manager Jim Fox, the switch was an unannounced publicity stunt to celebrate the release of Pearl Jam's new self-titled album on May 2 and to "scare the listeners". Fox explained off-air:
This weekend 98 Rock celebrated the release of Pearl Jam's new CD by spotlighting 1990s Grunge bands. Over the weekend 98 Rock became "The Flannel Channel" and we played 1990s bands exclusively. Based upon the feedback we've received, flannel is OUT! ...and so is the Flannel Channel.— Jim Fox, KRXQ station manager
KRXQ broadcasts in HD Radio with two digital subchannels:
- KRXQ-HD1 is a digital simulcast of the analog signal.
- KRXQ-HD2 broadcasts a format that features live performances from rock artists.
- "KZAP has new tune: Country", The Sacramento Bee, January 20, 1992.
- "Frequency changes are becoming...frequent", The Sacramento Bee, March 3, 1998.
- Dortch, Marlene H. (September 22, 2004). "Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
- Rowe, Michael (May 25, 2011). "KRXQ Sacramento Radio Hosts Encourage Violence Against Transgender Children". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
- Marra, Andy (June 5, 2009). "UPDATE: McDonald's Is 10th Company to Pull KRXQ Advertising". glaad.org. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
- Sacramento HD radio guide
- Official Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KRXQ
- Radio-Locator information on KRXQ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KRXQ
- Michael Rowe's June 2, 2009 article, "KRXQ Sacramento Radio Hosts Encourage Violence Against Transgender Children"
- Michael Rowe's June 6, 2009 article, "KRXQ Sacramento Radio Hosts Have History of Obscenity Involving Children: FCC Report"