|City||Malta, New York|
|Broadcast area||Capital District-Albany-Schenectady-Troy|
|Frequency||105.7 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Subchannels||HD2: "Hot 99.1" (Urban contemporary)|
|Affiliations||New York Jets Radio Network|
|Owner||Townsquare Media |
(Townsquare Media of Albany, Inc.)
|WGNA-FM, WPBZ-FM, WQSH, WTMM-FM|
First air date
|October 1996 (as WNYQ Queensbury)|
November 28, 2006 (as WBZZ in Malta)
Former call signs
WNYQ (1996–2006, Queensbury)
|HAAT||187 meters (614 ft)|
|Translator(s)||99.1 W256BU (Albany, relays HD2)|
WQBK-FM (105.7 MHz "Q105.7/103.5") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Malta, New York, and serving the Capital District of New York, including the Albany-Schenectady-Troy radio market. The station is owned by Townsquare Media, and airs a classic rock radio format.
WQBK-FM's transmitter is located on the Bald Mountain tower once used by WNYT, in the Town of Brunswick in Rensselaer County. WQBK-FM's Class B1 signal is impeded to the southwest due to co-channel WBNW-FM in Binghamton, and to the east due to WWEI Easthampton, Massachusetts (105.5 FM). WQBK-FM has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 7,100 watts. It broadcasts in the HD Radio hybrid format, with its HD2 subchannel carrying an urban contemporary format branded as "Hot 99.1," also heard on 250-watt FM translator W256BU on 99.1 MHz.
After the passage of Federal Communications Commission Docket 80–90 in 1983, several broadcasters considered putting a new FM station in the Glens Falls-Lake George region. Around 1990, WENU owner Donald Heckman successfully petitioned the FCC to grant a 25,000-watt radio station to his hometown of Queensbury. Heckman-owned Bradmark Communications won the allocation in 1993, using the call sign WWAZ for the construction permit until 1995. It was WSRQ until June 1996, when its call letters became WNYQ. The station officially signed on the air in October 1996.
Bradmark acquired the station in November 1996, one month after the sign-on. WNYQ took over the adult contemporary format previously heard on WENU, using the branding Wink 105.7. From its launch, it aired local programming from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. weekdays, with satellite programming fed from Westwood One nights and weekends.
In 2000, Bradmark Communications was sold to Vox Media, a growing owner of radio stations in small markets throughout New York and New England. Vox ended all satellite programming and decided to take WNYQ to a Hot AC approach, initially keeping the Wink 105.7 name. In early 2002, WNYQ rebranded as Q105.7, moving closer to Adult Top 40. Though initially successful, the station began to see its ratings decline due to competition from new rival WKBE and several out-of-market Top 40 stations, including WFLY and WZRT, with usable signals in WNYQ's signal area.
In 2004, Vox applied to move WNYQ's signal into the more lucrative Albany market, making it the second Bradmark/Vox station to do so. (WYAI, formerly WHTR in Corinth, was the first.) In December 2004, WNYQ flipped to a satellite-fed Classic Hits format while keeping the Q105.7 name, as Vox prepared for the station's relocation. The Classic Hits format remained on the 105.7 frequency until it signed off in May 2006, ahead of its relocation. The same format returned in September 2006 at 101.7 MHz (the former WENU, then WQYQ) in Hudson Falls.
The move of 105.7 into the Capital District, originally applied for in 2004, went through several complications. Originally, the station had an FCC construction permit with a lease to broadcast from the Clifton Park tower used by WDCD-FM, WKKF, and WTMM-FM. When finally built, the present Bald Mountain site was selected with an upgrade to Class B1 status, even amid concerns that Bald Mountain might provide less-than-optimal coverage of some growing suburbs to the north of Albany.
When Vox sold the firm's remaining Glens Falls stations to Pamal Broadcasting in mid-2004, initially there was a clause that would allow Pamal to get the first rights to buy the 105.7 station as a move-in. This plan was slowed down by regulatory concerns with Pamal's revenue share in the adjacent Capital District and the potential that the signal that would have been sold if purchased (WZMR) would not able to find new ownership in the required amount of time.
In June 2006, Regent Communications (now Townsquare Media) purchased the licence of WNYQ to put it on the air. Early speculation of what format Regent would choose for 105.7 included moving WABT's Hot AC format to the stronger 105.7 signal, a classic country format to complement market leader WGNA-FM, or adult contemporary to go against WYJB and WQAR. The first possibility became reality in the wake of Regent entering a deal with former WYJB morning show Chuck & Kelly. Their show began airing on September 12, 2006, as a prelude to the move.
In preparation of the move, Vox applied for the call letters WBZZ (formerly used on a Pittsburgh station). That call sign took effect on September 21, 2006. After some delays, the station finally returned to the air from the Bald Mountain tower site on November 28, 2006, initially simulcasting WABT. It was during this time that the station began to refer to itself as Buzz 105.7. For the following week, DJs were frequently heard informing listeners to "make the switch," explaining that the old 104.5 frequency would no longer broadcast the format by the coming week. The station relaunched exclusively on 105.7 on December 4, 2006, with WABT flipping to ESPN Radio two weeks later as WTMM-FM.
On December 6, 2007, WBZZ changed its Hot AC format (which violated Regent-Clear Channel's non-compete agreement; WRVE also had a Hot AC format) to Mainstream adult contemporary. The call letters and the name Buzz 105.7 remained. While most of the jingles and imaging initially stayed from the previous format, WBZZ began airing new jingles in January 2008, better suited for an Adult Contemporary station.
Until January 2, 2011, the air staff included: Mark Vanness, host of the Morning Buzz (5:30-10 am), Meredith McNeil (10 am-3 pm), Julie Fiener (3-7 pm) and Darcy "Buzz Nights On Demand", a request show weeknights from 7 pm to midnight.
In August 2008, two long time jocks left the station due to budget and staffing cuts. Former Program Director Glen Stacey was let go, along with 25 other employees throughout the company. Jake Thomas added PD duties to his list of tasks that already include Operations Manager of the Regent Albany cluster, as well as PD/MD of sister station WGNA-FM (Country 107.7).
In addition, the station changed its slogan from "Bright, Fresh, and Upbeat" under the Hot AC format, to "The Best Variety from Yesterday and Today" under the new Adult Contemporary format. By the end of 2009, the station began to lean a little bit more Hot AC than WYJB but still was mostly an Adult Contemporary station.
On November 1, 2010, at Midnight, the station began stunting with Christmas music, forcing WTRY-FM to do the same earlier than that station's planned switch-over date. WBZZ had been a Christmas music station in years past, and it is not unheard of for stations to change to Christmas music as early as November 1, so it was not initially obvious that WBZZ was planning a new format. Early speculation of format changes began when the station did not mention its normal moniker or format during this time; speculated formats included classic rock to complement sister WQBK-FM, a Top 40 format to compete against WFLY, or oldies to compete against WTRY-FM.
This was eventually confirmed, as the radio station announced a format change about a week before the launch of 105.7 Crush FM at midnight on January 3, 2011, with a 1990s Hits format (similar to Clear Channel's Gen X Radio format) and the WQSH calls under new program director Mike Morgan, who left WFFG-FM in Corinth for WQSH. The first song on "Crush FM" was "Get the Party Started" by P!nk. Most of the staff on the new Crush FM were imports from other area stations, including Sugar Bear in the evenings (formerly of WAJZ), Ellen Rockwell in the afternoons (formerly of WFLY), and Mike Morgan in middays (formerly of WFLY and WFFG-FM). Of all former Buzz staff, only Mark Vanness and Meredith McNeil (in Crush FM morning drive) made the transition to the new format. On October 28, 2011, all of WQSH's air personalities were dismissed.
In early October 2011, an FM translator on 99.1 FM, W256BU, went on the air. It began airing an urban contemporary format, branded as "Hot 99.1," fed from the HD-2 subchannel on 105.7.
On September 7, 2012, at 5 p.m., the station flipped to an Adult Top 40 format, branded as "PopCrush 105.7." The final song as "Crush FM" was "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men, while the first song as "PopCrush" was "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry. This put the station in competition up against Clear Channel-owned WRVE.
On March 4, 2015, WQSH dropped its adult CHR format and began stunting with Christmas music as "Santa 105.7," using the same bumpers that had been used in 2010. On March 12, 2015, at 7 a.m., the station flipped to a Generation X-based classic hits format (similar to the former "Crush FM" format), branded as "Rewind 105.7." The first song on "Rewind" was "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
On March 16, 2018, at 5 p.m., after playing "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen, WQSH began stunting with Irish bands as "Shamrock 105.7." The station was rumored to be planning a flip to alternative rock as "Alt 105.7", as the domain name Alt1057Albany.com was registered by Townsquare in mid-February.
However, at the same time that WQSH began stunting, WINU flipped to the alternative format as "Alt 104.9", likely as a preemptive strike, which could require Townsquare to find a new format, or at least a different brand. However, on March 19, at midnight, WQSH still flipped to alternative, with the "Alt 105.7" branding. The first song on "Alt" was "All Mixed Up" by 311. With the shift of WQSH to alternative, sister stations WQBK-FM and WQBJ moved to classic rock.
Starting in the 2018 NFL season, WQSH began airing New York Jets football games whenever co-owned WTMM-FM had a conflict due to New York Yankees baseball. In the 2019 season, WQBK-FM became the primary New York Jets Radio Network affiliate in the Capital District.
On July 1, 2019, at noon, WQSH changed its format to mainstream rock, which moved over from WQBK-FM and WQBJ, and rebranded as "Q105.7." The "Alt" format would return a month later on WQBJ.
On August 9, 2019, WQSH took on the WQBK-FM call letters, used since 1972 on 103.9 FM. The call sign for 103.9 became WPBZ-FM, reflecting its new soft adult contemporary format, dubbed "The Breeze." Just over a month later, WQBJ would take on the WQSH call letters.
Upon WBZZ's move into the Albany market in 2006, the station was licensed for HD Radio operations. WQBK-FM currently operates one HD sub-channel, WQBK-HD2, which is also carried on FM translator W256BU, at 99.1 MHz. The translator signed on the air on March 6, 2012, first by stunting with construction sounds, then with protest songs as "Occupy 99.1." On March 9, at Midnight, the translator debuted a soft adult contemporary format, branded as "Sunny 99.1." The launch was promoted with a Facebook page. However, that also turned out to be a stunt; later that day, at 3 p.m., the station adopted its present urban contemporary format as "Hot 99.1."