|Broadcast area||Chicago metropolitan area|
|Slogan||The New Home For Alternative|
(also on HD Radio)
|First air date||1948 (as WMAQ-FM)|
HD2: Classic rock "The Loop"
|HAAT||425 meters (1,394 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||First used for the station's "experimental" AOR format in the 1970s, and the Q in WMAQ|
|Former callsigns||WMAQ-FM (1948–1973)|
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holdings, LLC.)
|Sister stations||WLS, WLS-FM|
WKQX (101.1 FM) – branded as 101 WKQX – is a radio station serving the Chicago metropolitan area. The station is owned by Merlin Media, LLC and operated by Cumulus Media under a local marketing agreement announced in January 2014.
A former NBC Radio owned-and-operated station, WKQX is best known for carrying a long-running alternative rock format from 1992 until 2011 as "Q101." WKQX aired an alternative rock music format that originated on the former WKQX-LP (87.7 FM, or LPTV channel 6) from 2012 until 2014.
From the stations' 1948 launch to 2016, WKQX's studios were located in the Merchandise Mart. Co-located with onetime sister stations WMAQ (670 AM) and WMAQ-TV from 1948 to 1989 and WLUP (97.9 FM) from 2001 onwards, the station relocated to the NBC Tower, the current home of WMAQ-TV, on August 4, 2016. Its transmitter is located atop the John Hancock Center.
Besides a standard analog transmission, WKQX broadcasts over two HD Radio channels, and is available online. WKQX's HD1 channel is a direct simulcast of the analog station's programming feed, while WKQX HD2 airs a classic rock format branded as "The Loop" that was previously heard on the former WLUP (97.9 FM), now WCKL-FM.
- 1 Station history
- 2 References
- 3 External links
The NBC years
101.1 FM was originally WMAQ-FM, co-owned by NBC with WMAQ. WMAQ-FM generally simulcast the AM station, eventually developing its own format. In 1974, WMAQ-FM changed call letters to WJOI, and adopted an adult contemporary format. In late 1975, the station again changed call letters and format to WNIS-FM, carrying the NBC radio network's all news radio News and Information Service, which failed to compete against news stalwart WBBM. In 1977, the station repositioned itself as WKQX (the "X" stood for "eXperimental"), which played an album-oriented rock format that was more adventurous than WDAI, but more accessible than WXRT. The program director and midday host was Bob Pittman, who later created MTV and is now CEO of Clear Channel Communications. Bob Heymann served as assistant program director and morning drive host, and Bob King was the Music Director. Mitch Michaels did afternoon drive and Lorna Ozmon did nights. It broadcast commercial-free for the first two months of the format.
The station was an immediate success, debuting with a 3.9 AQH M-S 6 AM to 12 M 12 + share in the 1977 January–February Arbitron ratings. In the spring of 1977, Chicago gained another AOR station, WLUP. This meant that there were four FM rock stations (WKQX, WXRT, WDAI, and WLUP) competing against each other. After almost two years of battling for ratings, both WDAI and WKQX coincidentally quit playing rock independently of one another at the end of 1978. WDAI became all disco and WKQX became an adult contemporary station.
Emmis Communications purchases WKQX and the beginning of "Q101"
By the mid-1980s, the station had evolved into a Hot AC format, dropping the 1960s music by 1988, and was known on-air as "Q101".
Starting in 1987, NBC began a two-year-long divesture of their radio properties (a consequence of General Electric acquiring NBC's parent company, RCA). While WMAQ was spun off to Westinghouse Broadcasting, Emmis Communications – which also purchased the AM and FM licenses to NBC's New York stations, as well as KYUU in San Francisco and WJIB in Boston – bought WKQX in 1988. Robert Murphy was the successful morning drive host on Q101, competing with the likes of WLUP's Jonathon Brandmeier. The station's slogan in the mid-late 1980s was "Today's Music". By 1989, WKQX evolved into an adult Top 40 station, and by 1991, it had transitioned to a Modern AC format, preceding WTMX.
Change to alternative music
Q101 continued to evolve, and on July 14, 1992, WKQX completed its shift to modern rock. Program Director Bill Gamble used KROQ-FM in Los Angeles as a model for the format change. Much of the input for the music playlists came from the staff of the music research department at Q101. It was the music research department, led by Mary Shuminus, that gave Gamble the "word on the street" of what was hot in the Alternative Rock world. It was this staff between 1990–1994 that helped mold the radio station. However, Q101 did have trouble finding talent that could be hip and know the alternative market. They failed to mold Robert Murphy, and his contract was not renewed. Then they hired former MTV VJ Mark Goodman, but that did not bring Emmis the ratings they wanted in morning drive. In the mid 1990s, Q101's morning show saw many hosts come and go, but not until 1998 did they sign Mancow Muller's morning show away from the now-defunct WRCX, and Mancow began to syndicate the show. The station helped launch the career of Chicago acts Disturbed and Fall Out Boy, particularly through their prominent local music show, Local 101.
During the alternative era, Q101 was home to many popular specialty shows that helped to foster the thriving independent music scene in Chicago. Some of these shows included Zoltar's Industrial Zone, Local 101 (hosted by James VanOsdol and later Chris Payne), and Q101's Sonic Boom (hosted and produced by Joey Swanson).
Q101 has also been known to occasionally play songs from the hip-hop genre featuring Chicago-native artists such as Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco. They also played the Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill, Eminem and Fort Minor.
On April 1, 2005, WKQX went completely "on shuffle". While not a format change per se, it was the largest shift in the station's format since they became an alternative station. Instead of focusing on new music solely, they expanded their playlist to include classic alternative rock from the 1980s and 1990s, and even 1970s artists like the Sex Pistols, Bob Marley, and The Clash. The new slogan for the station became "Everything Alternative". In on-air liners, they even apologized for the hard rock excesses of the past when they competed with WZZN (which by then had become an oldies station). The "Q101 On Shuffle" approach extended throughout the summer.
The "Summer of Shuffle" returned for Summer 2006. Mancow was dropped by the station on July 14, 2006. Q101 felt they had lost control of their morning slot and desired a more Chicago-oriented show that blended better with their format, in contrast to the syndicated feel of Mancow's Morning Madhouse.
On September 18, 2006, Q101 would launch The Morning Fix, a tightly-formatted ensemble morning show that included fixed elements such as news, sports, weather, traffic, interviews, parodies and other bits presented in a manner similar to that of a news radio "clock" approach combined with the approach of popular comedy shows such as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update. The ensemble cast, led by former WXDX-FM Pittsburgh personality Alan Cox, was a mix of experienced radio personalities, comedy actors and writers. However, on November 9, 2007, The Morning Fix underwent major changes when it was decided that morning airtime would be more wisely used playing music; the changes resulted in only 2 of the shows' original 6 members remaining, Alan Cox and Jim "Jesus" Lynam.
In the Fall rating period, released in early 2007, the Arbitron Media Research Group reported that WKQX-FM/Q101 slipped from a 1.8 share to a 1.2 (M-S, 6A-12M, AQH metro 12+). Consequently, the show dropped Alan Cox and Jim Lynam on August 1, 2008, and moved Sherman and Tingle from afternoons to the morning slot, with Alex Quigley replacing them as afternoon host.
In November 2007, Q101 changed their slogan from "Q101 Everything Alternative" to "Q101.1 Chicago's Alternative". The logo changed as well with the added ".1" (as part of an industry trend to sound out the entire frequency for the sake of digital tuning radios, which have begun to overtake radios with needle tuners), beginning to lean towards an active rock direction with harder artists such as Pantera, Bullet For My Valentine and Metallica added to the playlist, ever since WZZN flipped to oldies, because their "shuffle" format had poor ratings. Despite their active rock lean during these times, no classic rock (except for alternative-based classic rock) was played. Adult album alternative artists not played on the alternative chart today such as Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms and Alanis Morissette (with only their songs from the 1990s) were dropped, despite competitor WXRT playing those artists.
In 2009, the station was rebranded again as Q101 (dropping the .1, although retaining the "Chicago's Alternative" slogan). As of 2011, Q101 began adding more newer hard rock that used to belong on sister station WLUP-FM since WLUP reverted to classic rock.
Q101 Live music festivals
During its tenure as an alternative rock station, WKQX served as host to several music festivals and events, including the following:
Twisted was an annual music festival each December, the first being in 1994.
Twisted Christmas – Bad Religion, Killing Joke, Dinosaur Jr., Veruca Salt, Weezer, and Hole.
Twisted 2 – Alanis Morissette, Porno For Pyros, White Zombie, Oasis, Silverchair, Tripping Daisy, Goo Goo Dolls, Soul Asylum
Twisted 3 – Fiona Apple, Bloodhound Gang, Sheryl Crow, Gravity Kills, KoRn, Stabbing Westward, The Violent Femmes, The Wallflowers, Weezer
Twisted 4 – 311, Björk (cancelled), Chumbawamba, The Cure, Duran Duran, Everclear, Sarah McLachlan, Sugar Ray
Twisted 5 – Beck, Cake, Everlast, Garbage, Goo Goo Dolls, Soul Coughing, Third Eye Blind
Twisted 6 – Fiona Apple, Blink-182, Bush, The Chemical Brothers, Filter, Foo Fighters, Moby, Oasis, Run DMC
Twisted 7 – Cypress Hill, Deftones, Disturbed, Everlast, Incubus, Live, The Offspring, Orgy, Papa Roach
Twisted 8 – 311, Alien Ant Farm, Blink-182, Bush, The Crystal Method, Puddle of Mudd, Sum 41, Pete Yorn
Twisted 9 – 3 Doors Down, Box Car Racer, Disturbed, Jimmy Eat World, Local H, Moby (cancelled), Public Enemy, Sugarcult, The Vines
Twisted 10 – 311, AFI, Dashboard Confessional, Jane's Addiction, KoRn
Twisted 11 – Califone, Franz Ferdinand, The Hives, Modest Mouse, My Chemical Romance, Secret Machines, Snow Patrol, Taking Back Sunday, The Used
Twisted 12 – The All-American Rejects, Coheed and Cambria, Death Cab For Cutie, Fall Out Boy, Hot Hot Heat, The Lovehammers, O.A.R., The Psychedelic Furs
Twisted 13 – Disturbed, Flyleaf, Guster, Gym Class Heroes, Jet, My Chemical Romance, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Rise Against, Stone Sour
Twisted 14 – The Almost, Atreyu, Drowning Pool, (Cancelled, Replaced by Danger is My Middle Name), Coheed and Cambria, The Secret Handshake, Silverchair, Silversun Pickups, The Starting Line, Strata
Twisted 15 – Theory of a Deadman, Hollywood Undead, Saliva, Shinedown, Saving Abel, The Gaslight Anthem, Scott Weiland, Cold War Kids, Eagles of Death Metal
Twisted 2009 – AM Taxi, As Tall As Lions, The Bravery, Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, Janus, Manchester Orchestra, Rev Theory, Rise Against, Shinedown, Sick Puppies, Street Sweeper Social Club, Thirty Seconds To Mars, The Used
Twisted 2010 – Alter Bridge, Bad City, Cake, Chevelle, Danko Jones, Finger Eleven, Five Finger Death Punch, Greek Fire, Hail the Villain, Hellyeah, Middle Class Rut, My Chemical Romance, Sick Puppies
Q101 also hosted an annual outdoor music festival during the spring entitled "Jamboree".
1995 – Bush, Collective Soul, Sheryl Crow, Duran Duran, Faith No More, The Flaming Lips, KMFDM, The Smoothies, The Lupins, Phunk Junkeez, Sponge, The Stone Roses
1996 – Afghan Whigs, Candlebox, Cracker, Cypress Hill, Everclear, Filter, Foo Fighters, Garbage, Girls Against Boys, KoRn, No Doubt, Seven Mary Three, Stabbing Westward
1997 – Beck, The Cardigans, Echo & the Bunnymen, Erasure, Jamiroquai, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Moby, Republica, Social Distortion, Veruca Salt, Verve Pipe
1998 – Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Creed, Eve 6, Fastball, Foo Fighters, Harvey Danger, Soul Asylum, Spacehog, The Specials, They Might Be Giants, Scott Weiland
1999 – 2 Skinnee J's, Blink-182, Blondie, The Flys, Hole, Kottonmouth Kings, Lit, Local H, The Offspring, Orgy, Puya, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Silverchair
2000 – 311, Bloodhound Gang, Everclear, Eve 6, Goldfinger, Long Beach Dub All Stars, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Moby, The Suicide Machines, Third Eye Blind, Travis
2001 – Alien Ant Farm, Cold, Crazy Town, Disturbed, From Zero, Fuel, Linkin Park, Lucky Boys Confusion, Monster Magnet, Papa Roach, Run-D.M.C., Saliva, Staind
2002 – Dashboard Confessional, Earshot, Hoobastank, Kid Rock, Local H, Our Lady Peace, Quarashi, The Strokes, Tenacious D, Thursday, Trik Turner, Unwritten Law, X-Ecutioners, Zwan
2010 – AM Taxi, Coheed & Cambria, Crash Kings, Flobots, The Frantic, Hollywood Undead, Janus, Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd, Saliva, Seether, Story of the Year, Three Days Grace, Ok Go, Villain vs. Villain, David Costa
2011 – Part I – Thirty Seconds to Mars, Seether, Papa Roach, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Bayside (set cancelled due to storm), Crash Kings (set cancelled due to storm), Pop Evil (set cut short by storm), Adelitas Way, Greek Fire, Anberlin, Awolnation, Sum 41, Ed Kowalczyk of Live, Beyond Words, The Action Blast, Imperial Sons
2011 – Part II – Part II was reported cancelled by Q101's Twitter page on August 29, 2011. They have also stated that they are "re-loading" and "jamboree will be back"
Beginning in 2003, Q101's summer music festival was rebranded as "Block Party". During 2003–2005, the event was held at the New City YMCA (North & Halsted). In 2006 & 2007, the event moved to Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island. For 2008, the festival was held at Western and Roscoe (near Lane Tech High School & DeVry University.) Day 1 of 2008 Block Party was cancelled due to excessive flooding of the stage and viewing areas. Some day 1 bands volunteered to play a free set at the nearby Cubby Bear bar on Clark & Addison. Day 2 went on as scheduled, but with the headlining acts playing on what was supposed to be the local band stage. The local bands scheduled for day 2 were cancelled as a result. The 2009 Block Party returned to Charter One Pavilion. In 2010, Q101 returned to the Jamboree name for their summer festival.
2003 – The Flaming Lips, The Violent Femmes
2004 – Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Lovehammers, The Ponys, The Reputation, The Walkmen
2005 – Thirty Seconds to Mars, A Static Lullaby, Assassins, Hot Hot Heat, Interpol, Rise Against, Sum 41, Queens of the Stone Age, Unwritten Law
2006 – Angels and Airwaves, Head Automatica, The Subways, Taking Back Sunday
2007 – The Bravery, Buckcherry, Finger Eleven, Godsmack, Good Charlotte, Shiny Toy Guns, Sum 41, Taproot, The Violent Femmes
2008 – Absentstar (cancelled), American Taxi (cancelled), Apocalyptica, Atreyu, The Attraction (cancelled), Black Tide (cancelled), Bullet For My Valentine, Danger Is My Middle Name (cancelled), DJ Alex Rage (cancelled), DJ Merk 1 (cancelled), The Frantic (cancelled), Holding Mercury (moved to Cubby Bear), Honey (moved to Cubby Bear), The Lifeline (moved to Cubby Bear), Local H, Ludo (moved to Cubby Bear), Mindless Self Indulgence (cancelled), Munroe (moved to Cubby Bear), Pennywise, Rule 22 (cancelled), Sick Puppies (moved to Cubby Bear), Simplistic Urge (cancelled), Theory of a Deadman (cancelled), Tonight the Prom (cancelled)
2009 – 311, Ziggy Marley
Purchase by Merlin Media
On June 21, 2011, Emmis announced that it would sell WKQX, sister station WLUP-FM, and a station in New York City to Merlin Media, whose CEO is former Tribune Company and Clear Channel Communications executive Randy Michaels. Emmis, who would retain a minority stake in Merlin Media, would grant Merlin a local marketing agreement to operate WKQX and WLUP-FM from July 15 until the sale officially closed on September 1. A format flip for WKQX, from alternative rock to all-news, was rumored after the sale was announced. Michaels was on record as saying that "my favorite format has always been spoken radio" and that it should have a place on FM, "the [radio] band most people use."
The entire airstaff at Q101 was dismissed upon Merlin Media's formal takeover that July 14, but managed to post a reassuring message to listeners on the station's Facebook page. That same day, Emmis sold off the "Q101" name, related intellectual properties, and the Q101.com web domain, to Broadcast Barter Radio Networks.
Q101's final on-air staffed show, Local 101, concluded at approximately 1:01 AM on July 15, 2011; the program ended with "Tonight, Tonight" by Chicago-based The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" (the first song played at Q101's 1992 inception as an alternative station), and formal goodbyes by Chris Payne, Pogo, and other Q101 staffers. Q101 would continue solely as an online stream programmed, in part, by Emmis' KROX-FM, before BBRN eventually relaunched it as an internet-only station.
WKQX itself continued without on-air staffing until midnight on July 19, 2011; after Semisonic's "Closing Time" had played, the station switched from alternative rock to a stunt of adult contemporary music under the temporary branding "101.1 FM New." This stunt featured former "Murphy in the Morning" host Robert Murphy, who returned to the 101.1 frequency after 19 years to man the 5–10 AM shift until the full format switch took place. The "New" stunting also included hourly news updates using an assortment of newsreader combinations, a harbinger of the new format to come.
FM News 101.1
On July 21, 2011, WKQX changed its call letters to WWWN, a call sign moved from a silent signal in Watseka, Illinois licensed to Randy Michaels' Radioactive LLC. Eight days after the call letter change, on July 29, WWWN officially launched an all-news format branded as "FM News 101.1." At the outset, "FM News 101.1" sought to differentiate itself from WBBM by highlighting its round-the-clock newswheel (as opposed to Chicago Bears flagship WBBM), aiming for a looser, less formal news presentation with a conversational tone, and deviating from hard news in favor of lifestyle, health and entertainment features. The initial on-air and newsroom staff at "FM News 101.1" included several with Chicago radio ties, including Debra Dale and Jennifer O'Neill (both WBBM alumna), Brant Miller and Monica DeSantis (WLS alums), and Ed Curran and Rob Hart (WGN alums).
WWWN's call letters changed again in December 2011 to WIQI, paying homage to the station's past as an Alternative Rock format (the "IQI" was meant to resemble "101", while the "Q" refers to the Q101 name and the WKQX callsign).
"FM News 101.1" was criticized in its early weeks as the station was plagued by technical glitches, an unpolished presentation, and CBS's preemptive move to simulcast WBBM's format on the FM dial via WCFS-FM. (At this time, Michaels and Merlin were still dealing with the fallout that came from longtime Q101 listeners angry at the change from music to news.) Moreover, Merlin's top management (including Michaels) admitted that the format for both stations were still a "work in progress."
Following the departure of Merlin's chief operating officer Walter Sabo at the start of 2012, "FM News" began a continual series of format adjustments. These included: a deemphasis on lighter features while maintaining a loose, informal approach; the creation of a set schedule for news anchors; addition of sports and business updates; the "informal" testing of a news partnership with WMAQ-TV; (which, coincidentally, was formerly a sister station to WIQI, before WIQI (then WKQX) was sold by NBC to Emmis Communications in 1988) and the addition of daily commentary segments from Rob Hart, Clark Howard and Lionel. Later staff changes and reassignments at the station would lead to an increased reliance on "shared anchor arrangements" with its New York counterpart WEMP, as well as a non-linear, voicetracking-style of arranging reports, sometimes without any anchor transitions.
WIQI also began an advertising campaign that included a controversial series of billboards using the face of imprisoned former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and the "He Never Listens... to FM News 101.1" tagline.
By June 2012, WIQI began phasing in blocks of "Expanded News Coverage" where the station entered a programming approach similar to talk radio. Initially confined to the late morning and late evening hours, personalities such as Mancow Muller, Mike North and Dan Jiggets and former WGN morning host Greg Jarrett all hosted informal auditions under the "Expanded News Coverage" banner. Jarrett himself was promoted to host morning drive on WIQI during the formats' final three weeks of existence.
In spite of constant format tweaks and alterations, WIQI failed to pull no better than a 0.4 Arbitron ratings share since the all-news format's launch. "FM News" was not only outperformed by the final ratings book for "Q101," but also by the second month rating of WKQX-LP, the aural signal of a low-power analog television station. Merlin began operating WKQX-LP under a local marketing agreement that May with an alternative rock format dubbed "Q87.7" – later simulcast on WIQI's HD-3 subchannel – but had no ties to the original "Q101".
At 9 a.m. (CT) on July 17, 2012, with both WIQI and WEMP languishing on the eve of their one-year anniversaries, "FM News" was abruptly dropped on both stations. WIQI flipped to an adult hits format branded as "i101," while WEMP reverted to its previous alternative rock format as WRXP (Merlin subsequently sold off WRXP to CBS Radio and flipped to a simulcast of WFAN). The first song on "i101" was Bye Bye Bye by NSYNC. With a few exceptions, most of the WIQI and WEMP news staffs were immediately dismissed, with subsequent layoffs occurring in the following weeks and months. Initially run as a female-friendly adult hits format focused primarily on 1990s-era music, "i101" moved towards a hot adult contemporary approach after one month on the air. "i101" included some limited use of on-air staff, including morning host and former WLUP-FM staffer Jane Monzures, who shared morning duties with fellow "Loop" alum Pete McMurray between August and October 2012.
By November 2013, after many continued low-ratings periods, the station shifted its Monday–Thursday evening and weekend programming to rhythmic adult contemporary. The station also added "The History of House Party", hosted by Frankie Hollywood Rodriquez, Fridays from 7 PM to 2 AM, and Saturdays from 10 PM to 4 AM. The move proved to be a positive one, resulting in WIQI to go full-time with the format on December 9, 2013. The shift was based upon the success of similarly formatted stations in Boston and Seattle, which launched in January and September 2013, respectively.
On January 3, 2014, Merlin Media announced a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Cumulus Media that would see Cumulus take over operations of WIQI, WLUP and WKQX-LP. The deal, which includes an option for Cumulus to purchase WIQI and WLUP, resulted in Merlin relinquishing operations of its last remaining radio stations, and also saw an expansion of Cumulus' Chicago cluster, which includes WLS and WLS-FM.
In announcing the LMA, Cumulus indicated that it would move the alternative rock format from WKQX-LP onto the 101.1 facility. The move took place at 9 a.m. on January 10, 2014 (Semisonic's "Closing Time" was the last song played on "i101"), when the stations began a transitional simulcast (Cumulus and Merlin subsequently ended the local marketing agreement for WKQX-LP; when the LMA concluded, Tribune Broadcasting announced a local marketing agreement for the station, which is now WRME-LP). The restored alt-rock format on 101.1 inherits the hard-edged mystique and core artist list from "Q", including contemporary and heritage alt-rock acts such as The Black Keys, Cage The Elephant, and Foo Fighters (the latter act's "Times Like These" began the 101.1/87.7 simulcast). The WKQX call sign was restored on the 101.1 facility on January 17.
Cumulus executives indicated that they had no intentions of acquiring back the online rendition of "Q101" and related intellectual properties from the stations' 1992-2011 era. Instead, the station was treated as being "under construction" during the simulcast period with 87.7, using only oblique identification (i.e., "a new alternative station coming to 101.1") until being renamed "101 WKQX" at 1:01 p.m. on February 17.
101 WKQX's airstaff initially included Brian Phillips, Lou Lombardo, Lauren O'Neill, PJ Kling, and "wALT" (Walter Flakus of Stabbing Westward). In June 2015, local comedian Kevin Kellam was hired to host weekends after previously having an off air role in the station's marketing department.
In the fall of 2015, Portland radio personality Marconi joined WKQX to host weeknights (replacing PJ Kling). Brian Sherman, former on-air personality at Q101 from 2001-2011, and one half of the duo Sherman and Tingle, was hired as an on-air personality for weekends. Sherman retained his weekday on air role at suburban classic rocker WWYW. Russell Tanzillo from North Central College's WONC joined as a weekend host in September 2015. In April 2016, the station hired James VanOsdol (another Q101 personality; founder of the station's "Local 101" program) to host a new local music showcase titled "Demo 312" (in reference to Chicago's well-known main area code).
In February 2016, WKQX and WLUP announced their move from the Merchandise Mart, where the 101.1 frequency has been broadcast from since first taking the airwaves in 1948, in favor of a new studio at the NBC Tower. Until the new facility was completed, WKQX broadcast from a temporary facility at 190 N. State. On August 4, 2016, the move of WKQX and WLUP to the NBC Tower was finalized.
In January 2018, as part of Cumulus Media's bankruptcy proceedings, the company requested that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court release the company from several "extremely unprofitable" contracts, including its LMAs with WLUP and WKQX. Cumulus stated that under the agreement, which carries a monthly fee of $600,000, the company had lost $8.4 million on the two Merlin stations.
- History Cards for WKQX, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
- 1971 Broadcasting Yearbook, Broadcasting. 1971. p. B-62. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
- <iframe name="HDRadioStations-chicago_illinois" scrolling="no" src="https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?latitude=41.8839927&longitude=-87.6197056 height="530" width="401" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0"></iframe> HD Radio Guide for Chicago
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- Source: Arbitron ratings for Chicago radio market as posted on Radio-Info.com
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- I101 Chicago shifts to Rhythmic Hot AC from Radio Insight (December 9, 2013)
- "Deal for 'the Loop' gives radio powerhouse bigger reach in Chicago," from Crain's Chicago Business, 1/4/2014
- "Cumulus Purchasing All Merlin Media Properties; Alternative Coming Back To 101.1," from Chicagoland Radio & Media, 1/3/201
- Feder, Robert (February 14, 2014). "WGN takes over 87.7 FM on Monday". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- Channick, Robert (February 14, 2014). "WGN launching new FM station Monday". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- Venta, Lance (February 14, 2014). "Game Time for 87.7 Chicago?". RadioInsight. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
- "Alternative Returns To 101.1 Chicago," from RadioInsight, originally reported 1/3/2014 and updated 1/8/2014 and 1/10/2014
- "WKQX To Unveil New Identity Monday," from RadioInsight, originally reported 2/12/2014 and updated 2/17/2014
- Rosenthal, Phil. "WLS-AM's parent company asks court to end 'unprofitable' radio deals with White Sox, Bulls". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- "Cumulus To Acquire 101.1 WKQX Chicago & WLUP IP". RadioInsight. 2018-04-03. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WKQX
- Radio-Locator information on WKQX
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WKQX
- List of Q101 Countdowns
- Q101 Top 101 Countdowns plus a searchable archive
- Scott Childers on WMAQ History (relevant to WMAQ-FM and eventually WKQX)
- on YouTube