, "Q-103") is an Album-Oriented Rock
music formatted radio station
licensed to Rensselaer, New York
, and serving New York's Capital District
. The station is owned by Regent Communications
, and broadcasts at 6 kilowatts ERP
from a tower in Bethlehem, New York
. WQBK-FM's programming is simulcasted on 103.5 WQBJ Cobleskill, New York
, which brings its programming to the Mohawk Valley
region and also makes the station a rimshot station into the Oneonta
markets while also greatly enhancing its overall reach.
WQBK-FM signed on in 1972
as the sister station to WEEE, an AM daytimer (today's WGDJ
) which had aired country music. The station was originally slated to be the 24-hour continuation of WEEE, however while being planned the station was sold and new ownership decided instead to take on the gaping hole of album-oriented rock
(AOR) in the market which, at the time, was filled only by partial programming on WRPI
Shortly before the launch of 103.9 FM, WEEE decided to flip from country music to talk radio, the first such format in the Capital District. Seeking a new identity, the WEEE calls were shed on the AM side for the WQBK calls which were going to surface on the new FM signal regardless.
Several owners have owned the frequency, by the early 1990s the locally-based Radio Enterprises, Inc. took ownership of the WQBK stations. Radio Enterprises was purchased by Clear Channel Communications (which had previously held a minority share of the company) in 1997 which divested it to current owner Regent Communications in 2000 in the wake of that company's merger with AMFM, Inc.
Evolutions and Rebirths
Over the past three decades, the 103.9 frequency can be said to have had only one format, rock music, which has gone through various premutations. Here's a timeline of said changes.
- 1972: Signs on as "Progressive 104" with an eclectic progressive rock format typical of AOR from that time period.
- 1981: WQBK-FM continued with progressive rock long after most stations abandoned it, updating their format in the wake of WPYX signing on with a more mainstream rock format.
- 1984: WQBK AM/FM sold from its original owners to local owner Dick Berkson. Under Berkson's ownership, the station's format is tweaked from new-wave leaning progressive rock to more mainstream format with elements of the "Big Chill" format, a 1960s-heavy format based on the soundtrack of the film from which it took its name
- 1987: After losing audience going up against the larger signaled WPYX, station is sold and relaunches as classic rock "Q-104", in turn setting it apart from its rival. Programming during this period was classic heavy with limited currents in the form of "future classics" and new material from core artists.
- 1992: Becomes the Capital Region affiliate of the Howard Stern show, in turn deseating WGY morning host Don Weeks for the next decade-plus.
- 1994: New owners Radio Enterpises, Inc. (a locally-based company with a small share owned by Clear Channel Communications) flip Q-104 to Mainstream rock as "The Edge". Positioned between WPYX and WZRQ, numbers dip slightly from the later Q-104 days.
- 1995: Over the first half of the year, "The Edge" flips to alternative rock. The combination of new rock and Howard Stern propels the station into the Top 5 ratings 12+ and to the #1 18-34 spot within a year.
- 1998: Clear Channel takes full ownership of Radio Enterprises, in turn their "stamp" starts to go on the station in the form of a harder lean and some increased automation/voicetracking (though overnights had been automated dating back to the late Q-104 years).
- 1999: On September 17, The Edge flips to a classic-leaning active rock format, two weeks later Clear Channel flips WHRL to fill the hole left by The Edge.
- 2000: In the wake of the merger of Clear Channel with AMFM Inc, the Edge stations (and WTMM) are sold to Regent Communications; upon Regent's takeover the station is shifted to a mainstream active rock format, eventually developing a current lean.
- 2005: Amid declining ratings and Howard Stern's defection to Sirius Satellite Radio, The Edge flips to Album-oriented rock on December 16 under the "Q-103" name.
- 2006: The Free Beer & Hot Wings Morning show syndicated from Grand Rapids Michigan was added to replace Howard Stern.
- 2007-present: "Q103" is currently a mainstream rock station using the slogans "Where Rock Lives" & "Relentless Rock" is climbing back up the ratings.
For a brief period in 2000
, WQBK-FM had an association with startup cable-only UPN
which used the "EdgeTV"
branding and a variant of the radio station's logo as their on-air logo. After The Edge was taken over by Regent Communications, that station changed its name to "UPN4" and was dissolved in 2003
when off-air affiliate WNYA