WDBQ NewsTalk1490AM logo.png
Broadcast areaDubuque and Vicinity
Frequency1490 kHz
BrandingWDBQ NewsTalk 1490 AM
AffiliationsABC News Radio
Fox News Radio
CBS Sports Radio
Premiere Networks
Westwood One
Chicago Cubs Radio Network
Iowa Hawkeyes football
First air date
Former call signs
WKBB (1925–1952)[1]
Former frequencies
1310 kHz (1925–1933)
1500 kHz (1933–1941)[1]
Call sign meaning
Technical information
Facility ID12705
Power1,000 watts unlimited
Transmitter coordinates
42°30′10″N 90°42′24″W / 42.50278°N 90.70667°W / 42.50278; -90.70667

WDBQ (1490 kHz) is an AM radio station broadcasting a talk radio format. Located in Dubuque, Iowa, United States, the station is currently owned by Townsquare Media and licensed to Townsquare License, LLC.[2]


Station WKBB signed on in 1925 from Joliet, Illinois.[1][3] In 1931, the station's ownership wanted to move WKBB to Dubuque as it did not have any radio stations. However, the complicated licensing quota system put into place by the Davis Amendment to the Radio Act of 1927 limited the number of stations that could be licensed to one state. At the time, both Iowa and Illinois were at their quota, and the Federal Radio Commission was forced to deny any relocations or new stations. WKBB was required to stay in state, and its application to move to East Dubuque, Illinois was granted in 1932 over the objections of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, which desired to build its own station but could not due to the quota.[4] The Davis Amendment was repealed in 1936; WKBB applied to move to Dubuque proper in the next year.[1]

WDBQ is one of six call signs beginning with a W still in use in Iowa, where stations are normally assigned call signs beginning with K. Although the five other call signs were granted before the boundary between K and W call signs moved to the Mississippi River in 1923, WKBB it was allowed to keep its W callsign when it moved, and again when it changed to WDBQ in 1952 – an exception also granted to WSUI and WMT elsewhere in Iowa.[5]

As of September 2009, WDBQ's weekday programming includes Michael Smerconish, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Fred Thompson. Sports on WDBQ includes the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Bears as well as Loras College football and basketball, high school sports, The Indy Racing League and ESPN Radio. Kim Komando's technology advice show can be heard Saturday mornings.

On August 30, 2013, a deal was announced in which Cumulus Media would swap its stations in Dubuque (including WDBQ) and Poughkeepsie, New York to Townsquare Media in exchange for Peak Broadcasting's Fresno, California stations. The deal was part of Cumulus' acquisition of Dial Global; Townsquare, Peak, and Dial Global were all controlled by Oaktree Capital Management.[6][7] The transaction was consummated effective November 14, 2013.


  1. ^ a b c d "FCC History Cards for WDBQ".
  2. ^ "WDBQ Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  3. ^ "Stevenson's Bulletin of Radio Broadcasting Stations" (PDF). November 1925. p. 19.
  4. ^ "Telegraph Herald Co. v. Federal Radio Comm". casetext.
  5. ^ White, Thomas. "K/W Call Letters in the United States". Early Radio History.
  6. ^ "Official: Cumulus Buys Dial Global, Spins Some Stations To Townsquare; Peak Stations Sold To Townsquare, Fresno Spun To Cumulus". All Access. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  7. ^ "Cumulus Makes Dial Global And Townsquare Deals Official". RadioInsight. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.