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WKMK logo.png
City of license Ocean Acres, New Jersey
Broadcast area Ocean, Burlington & Philadelphia County
Branding "Thunder 98.5"
Slogan "Ocean County's Country"
Frequency 98.5 MHz
First air date March 10, 1993
Format Country
ERP 2,950 watts
HAAT 142 meters
Class A
Facility ID 59495
Transmitter coordinates 39°42′56″N 74°17′32″W / 39.71556°N 74.29222°W / 39.71556; -74.29222
Former callsigns WKOE (2006)
WBBO (1997-2006)
WQNJ (1990-1997)[1]
Owner Press Communications

WKMK (98.5 FM, "Thunder 98.5") is a radio station broadcasting an Country format. Licensed to Ocean Acres, New Jersey, it serves Ocean & Burlington counties in New Jersey as well as the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. It first began broadcasting in 1993 under the call sign WQNJ. The station is currently owned by Press Communications.[2]


Coverage Area

98.5's signal blankets Ocean & Burlington in New Jersey as well as the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. The station can be heard from Atlantic City to the South, Belmar to the North, and Philadelphia to the West.
The WKMK antenna is co-located with WVBH and WCHR-FM on a tower located near the intersection of Route 72 and the Garden State Parkway in Manahawkin.

Early History

98.5 was granted the WQNJ calls on February 7, 1990. Even before this station hit the air, it had extensive coverage in the local newspapers, because it was to be the first commercial station to hit the air in Ocean County since WJRZ signed on in 1976. FM 98.5 was originally owned by Seaira, Inc., a local company that was headed by Pat Parson, a former WCBS-AM news anchor from 1970 to 1990 and a former alumnus of WERA in Planfield.

Pat originally planned 98.5 to be a live and local Smooth Jazz station, using the slogan "Cloud Nine," with an original sign-on date of Spring 1991. However, that sign-on date changed many times, due mostly because of antenna clearances that had to be taken care of prior to signing on. In late 1992, with Seaira not having enough financial backing to sign on themselves with a local format, 98.5 entered into an agreement with D&K Broadcasting (the owners of WJLK at the time.)

On February 11, 1993, WQNJ began on-air testing and on March 10, 1993, officially signed on with a simulcast of WJLK. It was pretty much a 100% simulcast, with the exception of local commercial cut-ins and on weekday mornings at 6, 7, 8 and 9am, Pat Parson would do a 5 minute newscast. This basic format lasted until 1996 when it was announced that Nassau Broadcasting had purchased the station (and others in the Jersey Shore area.)


Pat Parson's newscasts were soon dropped - but the simulcast continued on until Memorial Day weekend in 1997 when 98.5 broke away from WJLK and branched out on its own as "B-98.5 - The Jersey Shore's Hit Music Station." The first song played on "B-98.5" was the Spice Girls "Wannabe". On July 11, 1997, the calls were changed to WBBO.

In 2001, Nassau sold WBBO (along with WOBM-FM and WJLK) to Millennium Radio Group. In April 2003, it was announced that Millennium was selling WBBO to Press Communications, who ironically enough, was the original applicant for 98.5 in the late 1980's. In August 2004, Press officially took over WBBO.


Original Staff * Neil Sullivan, Program Director 1997-1999 * Fox Feltman (aka. Alan Fox), Assistant Program Director/Music Director, Afternoons 97-1999 * Jessica Taylor, Mid day host, 1999 * Andy Chase, Promotions and Swing jock 1997-2003, morning host 2003-2004 * Mike and Diane, Mornings 1998-1999 * JC, Nights 1997-1999

Correction: Scotty Valentine was the night show host in 1998 before leaving to go to KUMX/New Orleans. JC was 1997 until early 1998.

G Rock Radio

On February 18, 2005, 98.5 started simulcasting sister station WHTG-FM "G-106.3" from Eatontown and became GRock Radio. On July 5, 2006, 98.5 changed calls to WKOE as part of a switch with new move-in 106.5 in Bass River Township. WKOE was formerly located at 106.3 in Ocean City On July 24, 2006 at midnight, the simulcast on 98.5 ceased.

Real Jersey Kountry K98.5

WKMK logo from 2006-2009

Later on July 24, 2006, after "stunting" with playing The Eagles "New Kid In Town" over and over for 12 hours, 98.5 debuted as "K-98.5: Real Jersey Kountry" and new call letters of WKMK were assigned at 10 AM that day. The first song played was Alan Jackson's "Gone Country." Past staffers of K98.5 include Jim Radler, Leeann Taylor and Brian Moore, The line up as of 12/1/08 is Kris McNeil(mornings), Randy Davis (middays)and Kaptain Jack (afternoons).

While the country format of WKMK faces a lot of competition locally in Ocean County, where Atlantic City's WPUR dominates and even Philadelphia's WXTU has a following, WKMK has been successful in garnering many listeners in Monmouth County which lacks any country music radio stations.

Ocean County's Country Thunder 98.5

On February 16th, 2009, "K98.5" switched its name to "Thunder 98.5". Along with the name change, the station's format has been tweaked to an edgier sound, playing some classic southern rock along with country music.


External links



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