Infobox Radio station
name = WFQX

city = Front Royal, Virginia
area = Front Royal/Winchester
branding = "99-3 The Fox"
slogan = "The Fox Rocks"
airdate =
frequency = 99.3 MHz
format = Active Rock
power =
erp = 6,000 watts
haat = 100 meters
class = A
callsign_meaning =
former_callsigns = WFFV (1973-1985)
owner = Clear Channel
BT Triple Crown Merger Co., Inc.
sister_stations = WKSI, WMRE, WTFX, WUSQ
webcast = [ WFQX Webstream]
website = [ WFQX Online]
affiliations = MRN Radio
PRN Radio
Redskins Radio Network

WFQX is an Active Rock formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Front Royal, Virginia, though studios located in Winchester, Virginia.


WFQX started in 1973 when, then 3,000 watt, WFFV-FM signed on. "Stereo 99.3" was a "middle-of-the-road"/sfot rock formatted station. Ads invited listeners to listen to "The Carpenters and Tony Bennett in Stereo on 99.3" The format made sense considering that at the time WFFV was located in the historic Wayside Inn in Middletown, Virginia (south of Winchester).

During the 70s and through the early 80s, WFFV adopted the "V-99" name and picked up CBS News at the top of the hour. By 1978, the station was a mix of country and very lite rock. Current WINC-FM morning show host Barry "Lee" Bowser started at WFFV and Don James (who also went on to WINC) spent time at WFFV.

Other "on air" personalities featured on WFFV were Gil Bryant and Ed "The White Rabbit" Bishop (Bishop headed up the nighttime country on WFFV, until he left to host his morning radio show on WWOO in Berryville in 1980). WFFV carried Strasburg High School football games during the fall seasons.

Weekend personalities such as Connie Billmyer and Alan "Big Al" Bickert received their start as "on air" personalities in 1979. Bickert would later move onto local rival radio station, WHPL/WEFG in Winchester in 1979 before joining the US Navy in 1981.

The station, after being owned by the Wayside Inn (with official owner being Bentley Communications), was sold to Wolfe Computer Systems in the early 80s.

In 1984, WFFV switched to Top 40/Rock full time as "Rock 99". It was also around this time the studios left Wayside Inn and moved south to Strasburg, Virginia, right next to then location of their transmitter.

The WFFV calls were retired in favor of WFQX, a play on the word "Fox", in 1985. Their branding switched to "Fox 99" then just "The Fox".

Throughout the remainder of the 80s and into the early 90s, WFQX went from a Top 40 format to a more of a hard rock, then classic rock format. For a time, it was distinguished as one of the few radio stations with Don Pardo as its voiceover artist.

By 1993, WFQX was sporting a classic rock format and Baltimore based Benchmark Communications bought the station from Wolfe.

At 11:57pm on December 31, 1993, WFQX played Sweet's "Fox on the Run". At Midnight, January 1, 1994, after a recorded "Welcome to the Bayou" (Bayou was meant to me Winchester), "Froggy 99" was born.

Benchmark had a lot of success with its "Froggy" format in Ocean City, Maryland, so it was decided to bring it to Winchester. The twist was that most "froggy" stations were (and still are) country. Winchester's "Froggy 99" was a Hot AC formatted station, with some 80s music.

While the new WFQX was a big hit with the younger set, adults hated the new format. Part of the problem wasn't exactly the music or the DJs, just the whole "froggy thing" with the amphibian inspired DJ names and the word "frog" in every liner, like "Froggy Valley Frogcast".

The "Froggy 99" format would continue until the firing of program director Dennis Hughes in 1994. After hiring Charlie Fish from the old "Fox" days, modern rock returned to 99.3, but still with a lot adult contemporary.

"Froggy" was finally dropped for "99-3 The Frog" and a 100% modern rock format in 1996.

Benchmark sold WFQX (and sisters WUSQ and WTFX-AM) to Capstar in late 1996. Capstar began using automation and voicetraking and less and less local DJs.

In 1999, "The Fox" returned to 99.3, and John Boy and Billy took over the mornings. More and more classic rock was added to WFQX.

In December 2003, WFQX began broadcasting from a new tower in northern Shenandoah County and 6,000 Watts of power to fully cover Winchester which had long had problems receiving WFQX clearly.

External links

* [ Official Website of WFQX-FM]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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