FM Technical Profile: WQEN
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- Station Name:
- 103-7 the Q
Red Mountain near Spaulding-Ishkooda Road; likely co-located on the
- Power (ERP):
- 100 kW
- Antenna HAAT:
- 935 feet
- 60 dBu protected
map, from the FCC.
Text-1037theQ Hit Music 1037 / 1037TheQ song title/artist
- HD-2: Rock -
// W276BQ Birmingham
PS-103.1 The Vulcan (song/title)
Vulcan Man Up
HD-3: Alternative Rock - "Alt 99.1"
// W256CD Fultondale
- How's the
- 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
** note: this entry contains erroneous information on WQEN.
Tribute] Tribute site to the days when WQEN was "Super Q 104"
and just a Gadsden station.
Promotional video for "Rock 94.9" that was briefly on the
RDS display from the HD-2's FM translator on a GMC Yukon's radio,
from January 2012.
RDS display from an Insignia portable radio, showing the Radio Text
and PS (call sign) fields. From June 2017.
HD PAD data display on an Insignia HD radio for the HD1 channel.
PAD data display on an Insignia HD radio for the HD2 channel.
PAD data display on an Insignia HD radio for the HD3 channel, from
Street View imagery of the iHeartMedia studio space in Birmingham.
- 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".)
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
The rock only lasted a little under two years, though, as the
translator was sold by Red Mountain Broadcasting to Courtney French
for use with WATV AM in Birmingham in late July 2017. That
deal took several months to finalize, but once the 94.9 translator
changed to WATV, iHeart moved the alt. rock to W256CD licensed to
Fultondale, on 99.1 MHz.