WMZQ-FM
Broadcast areaWashington metropolitan area
Frequency98.7 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding98.7 WMZQ
Programming
FormatCountry music
SubchannelsHD2: Freedom 104.7 (Conservative talk)
AffiliationsPremiere Networks
Ownership
Owner
WASH, WBIG, WIHT, WUST, WWDC
History
First air date
April 2, 1947; 76 years ago (April 2, 1947)
Former call signs
  • WWDC-FM (1947–1950)
  • WOL-FM (1950–1968)
  • WMOD (1968–1977)
[1]
Former frequencies
  • 100.9 MHz (1947)
  • 101.1 MHz (1947–1950)
[1]
Call sign meaning
tribute to WMAQ,[2] abbreviation of "music"[3]
Technical information[4]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID73305
ClassB
ERP50,000 watts
HAAT149 meters (489 ft)
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen Live
ListenLive (HD2)
Websitewmzq.iheart.com
freedom1047.iheart.com (HD2)

WMZQ-FM (98.7 MHz) is a commercial radio station in Washington, D.C. owned by iHeartMedia, it has had a country music radio format since 1977. The station's studios and offices are on Rockville Pike in Rockville, Maryland,[5] and its transmitter is on Tower Street in Falls Church, Virginia.[6] WMZQ-FM has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 50,000 watts, the maximum power for radio stations in the Washington area.

WMZQ-FM broadcasts in the HD Radio format.[7] Its HD2 digital subchannel airs a conservative talk format, known as "Freedom 104.7." It feeds FM translator W284CQ at 104.7 MHz.[8]

History

This station signed on the air on April 2, 1947 as WWDC-FM, originally on 100.9 MHz, moving to 101.1 MHz a few months later.[9] It was owned by the Capital Broadcasting Company with its studios at 1000 Connecticut Avenue NW. The station originally simulcast its sister station, WWDC, then on AM 1450.

Meanwhile, WOL-FM signed on at 98.7 MHz in 1947, simulcasting its sister station, WOL 1260 kHz. In 1950, WWDC and WOL came under common ownership; that February 20, WWDC moved to the far higher-powered 1260 kHz allocation, and WOL was shifted to 1450 kHz to be resold. WWDC-FM also swapped callsigns and facilities with WOL-FM on the same day, and each simply modified their licenses to continue operating on their same frequencies.[10][11] As the actual licenses were not exchanged, WMZQ-FM is the legal successor of the original WWDC-FM.

WOL-AM-FM aired a full service Rhythm and blues format, featuring personalities, news and talk for the African-American community. It was owned by the Peoples Broadcasting Company, relocated to the 1000 Connecticut Avenue NW studios and offices.

In 1965, WOL-AM-FM were acquired by the Sonderling Broadcasting Company.[12] In 1968, Sonderling switched the FM station to an Oldies format, as WMOD, while the AM continued as an R&B station. WMOD played the rock-era hits of the 1950s and early 60s, including doo-wop music. By the mid-1970s, the format shifted to classic rock.

In 1977, Sonderling switched 98.7 to country music as WMZQ-FM.[13] Although press reports at the time attributed the call sign as a simple abbreviation of "music", then-program director Bill Figenshu claims to have chosen it in homage to WMAQ Chicago, which was at the time a successful large-market country station. A since-repealed FCC rule also required stations to notify their competitors of a call sign change, and Figenshu suspected the "Q" – then as now, a common branding for contemporary music stations – might fool them into thinking a Top 40 format was about to launch.[3][2]

The Washington market already had one FM station playing modern country, but it was based in Northern Virginia, 105.9 WXRA (today WMAL-FM) licensed to Woodbridge, Virginia. Its signal had a hard time reaching the D.C. suburbs north of Washington, while WMZQ-FM covered the entire D.C. radio market. The change proved a success for WMZQ-FM and the station at 105.9 eventually switched to classic rock.

Viacom acquired WMZQ-FM a few years after the switch to the country format. In 1987, Viacom began simulcasting WMZQ-FM on AM station WMZQ in Arlington, Virginia.[14][15]

In 1997, WMZQ-FM switched hands again, this time acquired by Chancellor Media.[16] In 2000, Chancellor was acquired by Clear Channel Communications, which a few years later became iHeartMedia, the current owner.

HD Radio and Translator

On July 10, 2023, WMZQ-HD2 dropped its simulcast with Black Information Network affiliate WUST (1120 AM), and launched a conservative talk format on its HD2 subchannel, branded as "Freedom 104.7".[17]

WMZQ rebroadcasts its HD2 format on the following translator:

Broadcast translator for WMZQ-HD2
Call sign Frequency City of license FID ERP (W) HAAT Class Transmitter coordinates FCC info
W284CQ 104.7 FM Washington, D.C. 31140 99 140 m (459 ft) D 38°53′30.0″N 77°07′54.0″W / 38.891667°N 77.131667°W / 38.891667; -77.131667 (W284CQ) LMS

References

  1. ^ a b "FCC History Cards for WMZQ-FM".
  2. ^ a b White, Thomas. "Washington, D.C. AM Station History". earlyradiohistory.us.
  3. ^ a b Rohter, Larry (June 29, 1977). "WMOD Changes Its Tune". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  4. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WMZQ-FM". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  5. ^ "98.7 WMZQ Contact Info: Number, Address, Advertising & More". 98.7 WMZQ.
  6. ^ "WMZQ-FM 98.7 MHz - Washington, DC". radio-locator.com.
  7. ^ http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=8 Archived October 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Washington D.C.
  8. ^ "W284CQ-FM 104.7 MHz - Washington, DC". radio-locator.com.
  9. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 108
  10. ^ "WNEW, WWDC Sales Given Approval By FCC" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 30, 1950. p. 26.
  11. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1952 page 105
  12. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1969 page B-33
  13. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1979 page C-40
  14. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1994 page B-383
  15. ^ Yorke, Jeffrey (July 21, 1987). "WKYS, singing a no. 1 tune". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  16. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2000 page B-84
  17. ^ Freedom Rings on 104.7 Washington DC Radioinsight - July 10, 2023

38°53′13″N 77°12′04″W / 38.887°N 77.201°W / 38.887; -77.201