Broadcast areaWashington metropolitan area
Frequency98.7 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding98.7 WMZQ
SubchannelsHD2: WUST simulcast (Black-oriented news)
AffiliationsPremiere Networks
First air date
April 2, 1947 (as WWDC-FM)
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
Facility ID73305
ERP50,000 watts
HAAT149 meters (489 ft)
WebcastListen Live
HD2: Listen Live

WMZQ-FM (98.7 FM) is a commercial radio station in Washington, D.C. owned by iHeartMedia. It has had a country music radio format since 1977. The studios and offices are located on Rockville Pike in Rockville, Maryland.[4]

The transmitter is on Tower Street in Falls Church, Virginia.[5] WMZQ-FM has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 50,000 watts, the maximum power for radio stations in the Washington area. It broadcasts from a tower at 149 meters (489 feet) in height above average terrain (HAAT). With a good radio, WMZQ-FM can be heard from Baltimore, Maryland to Fredericksburg, Virginia.

WMZQ-FM broadcasts in the HD Radio format.[6]


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.[7] 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.[8][9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13]

In 1997, WMZQ-FM switched hands again, this time acquired by Chancellor Media.[14] In 2000, Chancellor was acquired by Clear Channel Communications, which a few years later became iHeartMedia, the current owner.

Past Personalities

Previous morning / afternoon shows on WMZQ-FM include Boxer in the Morning with Aly Jacobs, Ben & Brian, Murphy & Cash, Jim London & Mary Ball, and Carol Munse. WMZQ currently airs The Bobby Bones Show, in the mornings syndicated by Premiere Networks, and based out of Nashville, Tennessee.


  1. ^ a b "FCC History Card for WMZQ-FM".
  2. ^ a b White, Thomas. "Washington, D.C. AM Station History". earlyradiohistory.us.
  3. ^ a b Rohter, Larry (1977-06-29). "WMOD Changes Its Tune". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  4. ^ WMZQ.iheart.com/contact
  5. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WMZQ-FM
  6. ^ http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=8 Archived 2015-10-02 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Washington D.C.
  7. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 108
  8. ^ "WNEW, WWDC Sales Given Approval By FCC" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 30, 1950. p. 26.
  9. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1952 page 105
  10. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1969 page B-33
  11. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1979 page C-40
  12. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1994 page B-383
  13. ^ Yorke, Jeffrey (July 21, 1987). "WKYS, singing a no. 1 tune". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2000 page B-84

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