name = WAQZ
branding = Channel Z (1991-2003)
New Rock 97.3 (2003-2005)
Everything Alternative (2006)
May 15, 1991at 107.1 MHz April 1, 2000at 97.3 MHz
November 9, 2006
frequency = 107.1 MHz (1991-1998)
97.3 MHz (2000-2006)
callsign_meaning = WAQZ (Channel Z)
Clear Channel(1991-1998) CBS Radio(2000-2006)
Entercom Communications (2006)
WAQZ was the
alternative rock FM radio stationin the Cincinnati, Ohioarea for the most part of 15 years, from 1991 to 2006. Throughout its history, the station was broadcast at 107.1 FM from 1991 to 1998, and at 97.3 FM from 2000 to 2006.
The station was known as Channel Z from 1993 to 1998, again from 2000 to 2003, New Rock 97.3 from 2003 to 2005, and finally 97.3 Everything Alternative in 2006. WAQZ went off the air on
November 9, 2006, replaced by a new alternative station, WSWD, on 94.9 FM.
Channel Z at 107.1 FM
The independently owned WOXY (97X), based in
Oxford, Ohio, was the first alternative station in the region, as it launched in 1983. However, WOXY's signal did not serve the entire Cincinnati area, so some listeners could not pick up the signal. In the early 1990s, as bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Green Daydominated the music scene, there was an increasing demand for a higher-powered alternative station to serve all of Greater Cincinnati.
In early 1993, Jacor Communications, now
Clear Channel, would eventually answer this demand. In 1991, WRBZ changed its call letters to WAQZ. The station was called 'The Heat' and carried a satellite-fed top 40format (there were no local jocks on air). Jacor Communicatons, who at the time also owned the market's long time album-oriented rock station WEBN, wanted to compete with new rival Z-Rock, at 96.5, a satellite-fed hard rockstation based out of Dallas, TX. Jacor purchased the station in late 1991 and flipped formats to a locally programmed hard rockformat. The name was changed to the 'Power Pig'. There were no on-air personalities, only voice overs and jocks from WEBN would do rock reports which would air occasionally. The voice-overs which aired often took aim at Z-Rock and jocks from other local stations, one being Mark Sebastion, who at the time was at Top 40 station Q102. Jacor would eventually succeed in its mission to wipe out competitor Z-Rock, as they went off the air in September 1992, switching to a country format, leaving the Power Pig the only hard rockstation, other than sister WEBN. In the spring of 1993, in the wake of a changing music scene and the decline in popularity to the station's hair-metal rock format, Jacor flipped the format and the 'Power Pig' name and switched to a new alternative format called Channel Z.B., Mike. [http://home.cinci.rr.com/cincyradio/history.html Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Radio - Station History] . November 4, 2006.]
Cincinnati CityBeat, Channel Z offered an "exciting lineup of real music and real music information."McFarland, Todd. "Z Means Zip". Cincinnati CityBeat. September 3, 1998.] The tagline for Channel Z at 107.1 FM was "The New Music Revolution," and the station was centered around alternative music. This format lasted for seven years.
The alternative format on 107.1 FM was in trouble by 1998. On
August 11, 1998, the format of WAQZ at 107.1 FM flipped from alternative to top 40.B., Mike. [http://home.cinci.rr.com/cincyradio/history.html Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Radio - Station History] . November 4, 2006.] The station's on-air staff and announcers began referring to the station as simply 107 FM and acknowledged that the alternative format was discarded.McFarland, Todd. "Z Means Zip". Cincinnati CityBeat. September 3, 1998.]
September 29, 1998, at 5 PM eastern time, WAQZ at 107.1 FM played its last song, "Closing Time" by Semisonic. Immediately after the song ended, WAQZ became KISS 107 FM, with new call letters WKFS, and permanently switched to the top 40 format.B., Mike. [http://home.cinci.rr.com/cincyradio/history.html Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Radio - Station History] . November 4, 2006.]
Channel Z at 97.3 FM
Throughout the rest of 1998, 1999, and early 2000, Oxford's 97X was again the only alternative music offering in the entire Greater Cincinnati region, leaving many potential listeners of alternative music out of the signal's range.
March 31, 2000, Infinity Broadcasting, now known as CBS Radio, picked up where Jacor Communications left off in 1998 by re-introducing WAQZ as Z97.3 at 97.3 FM, replacing the former classic rockstation on that frequency, WYLX. When the station flipped formats, "Bawitdaba" by Kid Rockwas played continuously for about three days. Many fans around the Cincinnati area began referring to the station as the new Channel Z, and after a couple of weeks the station officially changed its name from Z97.3 to Channel Z.B., Mike. [http://home.cinci.rr.com/cincyradio/history.html Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Radio - Station History] . November 4, 2006.]
Initial criticism of the new Channel Z targeted its primarily
mainstream rockplaylist, which included bands that were already being played on Cincinnati's mainstream rock station, WEBN, such as Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Staind, Nickelback, and Creed.Kiesewetter, John. [http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/05/02/tem_tvpix02.1.html WAQZ cranks up new tower of power] . May 2, 2003.]
In 2001, WAQZ began broadcasting
Howard Stern's morning radio show, which significantly increased its ratings.B., Mike. [http://home.cinci.rr.com/cincyradio/history.html Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Radio - Station History] . November 4, 2006.] Later, the station would also pick up syndication of Lovelineat night, which previously aired in Cincinnati on WEBN.
New Rock 97.3
March 4, 2003, WAQZ received a new name, New Rock 97.3.B., Mike. [http://home.cinci.rr.com/cincyradio/history.html Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Radio - Station History] . November 4, 2006.] The station also received a higher capacity broadcasting tower. Most of the on-air staff at the station survived the switch. The new name was chosen to place more focus on the frequency itself, allow the station to include "more cuts, and go deeper with artists," and put the format of the station in its name. All of these steps were taken to attract more listeners.Kiesewetter, John. [http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/05/02/tem_tvpix02.1.html WAQZ cranks up new tower of power] . May 2, 2003.]
The early criticism of WAQZ, which targeted its mainstream rock playlist, was eventually addressed by Infinity Broadcasting in 2003 and 2004. At this time, more experimental bands such as
Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, and The Killers reached high rotation.Kiesewetter, John. [http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/05/02/tem_tvpix02.1.html WAQZ cranks up new tower of power] . May 2, 2003.]
The format of WAQZ remained the same until
December 16, 2005, when Howard Stern signed off from FM radio to make the move to Sirius Satellite Radio. After his final broadcast, WAQZ played "Train In Vain" by The Clash.
97.3 Everything Alternative
Immediately after "Train In Vain", WAQZ announced its new name, 97.3 Everything Alternative.B., Mike. [http://home.cinci.rr.com/cincyradio/history.html Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Radio - Station History] .
November 4, 2006.] The premise of the modified format was to have a "shuffle" of alternative music, similar to that of an iPod. Most of the on-air staff and music played on WAQZ remained the same. However, some deeper cuts and lesser known songs from the 1980s and 1990s were added to the existing playlist.
At the beginning of January 2006, WAQZ began syndicating
Rover's Morning Gloryto replace Howard Stern in the morning. Throughout the next eleven months, WAQZ continued to expand its on-air playlist and remained "on shuffle" for the most part, although it also featured live DJs, some requests, and countdown shows.
Despite the attempt to save WAQZ's alternative format with the "on shuffle" premise, the station ultimately could not survive. Some listeners predicted the demise of the format as early as 2005, when alternative stations in
New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.all switched to other formats.Leeds, Jeff. "Fade Out: New Rock is Passe on Radio". New York Times. April 28, 2005.]
For the alternative stations that remained, WAQZ included, Howard Stern's show may have been the only thing keeping the format on the air. As a 2005 article in
Billboard Radio Monitorexplained, "Infinity will likely flip more stations from alternative to another format to coincide with Howard Stern's January 2006 exit."Heine, Paul. "Hollander: A Radio Shift Is Underway". Billboard Radio Monitor. September 27, 2005.] Although WAQZ kept its alternative format through most of 2006, the end was approaching.
The end of WAQZ
:"Further information: 2006 Cincinnati radio station reorganization"On
August 21 2006, Entercom Communicationsbought WAQZ, along with several other stations, from CBS Radio. On October 30 2006, Entercom abruptly fired the entire on-air staff at WAQZ, including "Razor", Jimmy "The Weasel", "Notorious", Miss Sally, and others.cite news|author=Rick Bird|last=Bird|first=Rick|title=Deals shake up FM radio|work= The Cincinnati Post|publisher= E. W. Scripps Company|date=2006-11-01|page=A1|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CNPB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=11528631B41A3220&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=0D0CB579A3BDA420 ]
November 2 2006, Entercom's plans became clear. A new alternative station would launch at 94.9 FM, while WYGYwould be moved to 97.3 FM. WYGY was formerly "The Star", located at 96.5 FM and owned by Cumulus Media, but was traded to Entercom in exchange for WGRR. Entercom would re-launch WYGY on 97.3 as "The Wolf", a top 40country station, in order to appeal to a younger demographic than its other country station, WUBE ("B-105").Kiesewetter, John. [http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061102/ENT/611020311/1025/LIFE "Country music station WYGY moving again, changing name"] . Cincinnati Enquirer. November 2, 2006.]
The final song to play on WAQZ was "
The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage" by Panic! at the Disco, on November 9, 2006, at 11:58 a.m. EST, then the frequency switched to its new country format, now known as WYGY. At this time, Cincinnati's new alternative radio station, WSWD, began broadcasting on 94.9 FM, and WAQZ came to an end.
WSWD, the current alternative radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio
WYGY(The Wolf), the country station now at 97.3 FM
WKFS(KISS), the top 40 station now at 107.1 FM
*WOXY (97X), the alternative station formerly at 97.7 FM and now online
*2006 Cincinnati radio station reorganization
Rover's Morning Glory
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