FM Technical Profile: WQEN


Station Name:
103-7 the Q
Frequency:
103.7
Format:
CHR: Contemporary Hit Radio
Transmitter Location:
[map] Red Mountain near Spaulding-Ishkooda Road; likely co-located on the WMJJ tower.
Power (ERP):
100 kW.
Antenna:
Omnidirectional
Antenna HAAT:
935 feet.
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
HD-2: Rock - "The Vulcan"
HD-3: Alternative Rock - "Alt 94.9"
:PS-103.7 The Q Hit Music Time-present Text-1037TheQ Hit Music 1037 / 1037TheQ song title/artist info PTY-Top 40 PS-KFVH-FM HD-TMC-Metro Traffic
// W276BQ Birmingham (HD-2)
// W235BS Birmingham (HD-3)
How's the Signal?
Signal is  excellent all over the Jefferson and Shelby county region. Signal used to be weak from Tuscaloosa and west due to co-channel interference, but after the station moved to the Red Mountain tower farms (and WACR in Columbus moved to Tupelo) the signal is now very good.
More Information:
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Facebook]
[Bhamwiki] ** note: this entry contains erroneous information on WQEN.
[Q104 Tribute] Tribute site to the days when WQEN was "Super Q 104" and just a Gadsden station.
[YouTube] Promotional video for "Rock 94.9" that was briefly on the HD3/translator combo.
[Image] RDS display from the HD-2's FM translator on a GMC Yukon's radio.
[Image] HD PAD data display on an Insignia HD radio for the HD1 channel.
[Image]
HD PAD data display on an Insignia HD radio for the HD2 channel.
[Image] HD PAD data display on an Insignia HD radio for the HD3 channel.
[Studio] Street View imagery of the iHeartMedia studio space in Birmingham.
Owner:
iHeartMedia
History:
This station was known in the 60's and early 70's as WLJM-FM, sister to WJBY-AM, owned by Charlie Bowman. The studios were located in the Life of Alabama building on Broad Street in downtown Gadsden, and the tower was on Lookout Mountain, off Scenic Highway near Mountainview Hospital. Around 1975, Bowman sold the station to Etowah Broadcasting, owners of WAAX-AM. The calls were changed to WQEN (QueEN city, which is what Gadsden was known as before becoming "The City of Champions".)
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Automation equipment was installed for the beautiful music format, which lasted about nine months. The station then ventured into what was then AM-dominated territory by going Top 40 with the slogan "Q-104". It became a huge success, becoming at one time the highest rated FM station in Alabama.
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Around late 1977 or early 1978, the transmitter was moved to a better location on Chandler Mountain near the community of Steele, in St. Clair county. The new location, with a boost to 100 kW of power, gave Q-104 quite a large coverage area. At some point in the mid? 80's the station tweaked the format a bit and changed their slogan to "The Q". That failed and they went back to "Q-104".  Want to hear what Super Q 104 sounded like in its heyday?  Check out this great tribute website.
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Popular syndicated morning show Rick and Bubba started here in 1992 and got big on before moving off to greener pastures in Birmingham in 1999. Later that same year, the station also moved, relocating to a tower location near Springville and a little bit less power. The format went from straight up Top 40 and AC to a real hot AC/CHR mix.
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In the summer of 2005 the station again made a transmitter move, this time to WMJJ's tower (most likely) on Red Mountain, with a power increase back up to 100kW. The station was also re-licensed from Gadsden to the Birmingham suburb of Trussville.
 
When Clear Channel installed HD digital transmitter facilities in Birmingham, WQEN picked up a subchannel, relaying iHeart Radio's Club Phusion top 40 format that was heavy on dance rotations.  In January 2011 they flipped the HD-2 to rock as "The Vulcan" to feed a newly acquired translator on 103.1 MHz, which broadcasts from the same tower on Red Mountain as WQEN.  At the same time this started, WERC-AM also flipped to rock.  Although a "vote" was held to determine the new format and the station stunted with a rotating cast of music genres, it was apparent from the beginning that the format would be rock.  In mid-August 2014, the station added an HD3 channel, with classic rock as "Rock 94.9", which is also being heard on a translator in town.  Near the start of September 2015, the HD-3 and translator combo flipped to alternative rock as "Alt 94.9".  This marks the first time Birmingham has had a full time alternative rock station in nearly 10 years.