|City of license||Sacramento, California|
|Broadcast area||Sacramento, California|
|Slogan||Sacramento's Rock Station|
|Frequency||98.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1959|
|Format||KRXQ: Mainstream Rock
KRXQ-HD2: Live Rock
RoX (as in Rocks)
KRXQ is a commercial radio station in Sacramento, California, broadcasting on 98.5 FM. The station airs a mainstream rock music format branded as "98 Rock". Even though KRXQ was originally on Radio & Records' mainstream rock panel, the station is now on the active rock panel. However, because of non-active rock bands such as Bad Company on the station's playlist, KRXQ remains a mainstream rocker.
On November 1, 1959, with a dedication by then California Governor Edmund (Pat) Brown, FM radio station KXRQ, owned and operated by Dale Flewelling, made its debut in Sacramento at 98.5 MHz. With studios and transmitter located on the 13th floor of the Elks building in downtown Sacramento, KXRQ operated daily from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. with an effective radiated power of 35,000 watts. From its elevated location KXRQ enjoyed broad coverage up and down the valley. Bruce Jensen was Program Director during the first year and programmed a varied mix of popular music during the day and Jazz late at night and weekend afternoons. From 1960 until mid 1966 Paul Thompson was Program Director and the format remained basically the same with the exception that the music became more sophisticated and swinging with an easy Jazz touch during the daytime with more straight forward Jazz heard later at night. During this period KXRQ at one point became an all Jazz station for a year or two but commercial support waned and the station fell back on the swinging sound format. Following the departure of Thompson the station continued on in the same direction for a while but eventually things changed and by the spring of 1968, the station was having financial difficulties, and was only broadcasting from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
In the summer of 1968, KXRQ was purchased by Lee Gahagen (California Talking Wireless Company). Gahagen also owned a classical station in the South Bay area, and intended to place a Classical format on his new Sacramento frequency.
Main article: KZAP In the spring of 1968, Gahagen was approached by some students from Sacramento State University who worked at campus radio station KERS (90.7). They convinced Gahagen to run a “free form” radio station, similar to KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco. Gahagen agreed, and, on November 8, 1968, radio station KZAP made its debut, and its existence spanned 24 years (its formats ranging from free form rock to classic/album/hard rock) until 1992. In KZAP's final years, its competition was hard rock rival KRXQ, then known as "93 Rock".
KZAP's dropped to the lower 2s by late 1991. At midnight on January 20, 1992, after playing the song “Cristo Redentor” by Harvey Mandel, KZAP left the air, and the owners flipped the station to a Country format known as “Fresh Country 98.5.” Shortly thereafter, the station changed call letters to KNCI.
Eventually, the station flipped its focus to Classic Country. It also changed its call letters to KRAK-FM, and the KNCI call letters went to 105.1 FM. The station’s ratings were short of stellar. EZ Communications owned KRAK-FM at that time, and entered into an agreement with Entercom to switch the frequencies of KRXQ and KRAK in 1997.
In August 1998, a frequency swap occurred. KRXQ, formerly known as “93 Rock” became “98 Rock” one Monday afternoon in August 1998. KRAK migrated over to 93.7 FM. Shortly thereafter, the station altered its approach from an Album-Oriented Rock to an “Active Rock” approach. “Active Rock focused on the top 25 or 30 Rock singles, mixed in with recurrent and classic cuts. Generally, the station would have a running library of roughly 300 songs at any given time on a computer hard drive.
The station continued in this format and garnered a 12+ share in the lower to mid 3s to lower 4s. The ratings were far lower than when the station utilized 24/7 live announcers and an album-oriented rock approach, until the hire of Jim Fox from his Program Director position at WBYR in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Fox was appointed station manager in late 2003, and recruited Joe Maumee—a charismatic, gruff-voiced "fun lover" for the night timeslot, and soon arranged the current line-up with Rob Arnie and Dawn (5–10 a.m.), long-time staff member Pat Martin (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), whose radio experience includes stations KGB-FM in San Diego and KMET in Los Angeles, and former KUFO morning man Craig "The Dog Faced Boy" as the afternoon badboy.
On the weekend of April 29 and 30, 2006, KRXQ identified themselves as "The Flannel Channel" and slightly switched music formats, playing mostly rock hits from the '90s with no recent or older songs. However, on Monday they went back to identifying themselves as the usual "98 Rock". No on-air explanation has been given for the temporary name-change, however it has come to light that the switch was an un-announced publicity stunt put on by the station to celebrate the release of Pearl Jam's new self-titled record the following Tuesday and to 'scare the listeners'. Station manager Jim Fox gave the following explanation, off the air:
This weekend 98 Rock celebrated the release of Pearl Jam's new CD by spotlighting 90's Grunge bands. Over the weekend 98 Rock became "The Flannel Channel" and we played 90's bands exclusively.
Based upon the feedback we've received, flannel is OUT! ...and so is the Flannel Channel.
Jim Fox Station Manager KRXQ/ 98 Rock
KRXQ's HD2 subcarrier, which has yet to sign on, will offer a format that features live performances from Rock artists.
In 2004, KRXQ was fined USD 55,000 for broadcasting indecent material.
On May 28, 2009, Hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States from the "The Rob, Arnie, and Dawn Show" drew media attention in reference to two news stories regarding transgendered children. States said, "God forbid if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes". Williams and States took turns referring to gender dysphoric children as "idiots" and "freaks," who were just out "for attention" and had "a mental disorder that just needs to somehow be gotten out of them," either by verbal abuse on the part of the parents, or even shock therapy. In response, several advertisers (including Snapple, Sonic, Carl's Jr, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Verizon, Chipotle Grill, AT&T, and McDonald's) temporary pulled their advertising from KRXQ. Nissan similarly declined to renew an advertising contract with the station.