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WQAL
104.1
City of license Cleveland, Ohio
Broadcast area Greater Cleveland
Branding Cleveland's Q104
Slogan Nineties and Now!
It's Your Music, It's Your Station.
Frequency 104.1 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)
104.1 HD-2 for My HD (All Requests)
First air date around 1971
(1948 as WJW-FM)
Format Adult Top 40 (CHR) erp = 12,000 watts
HAAT 293 meters
Class B
Facility ID 72889
Callsign meaning QuALity
Former callsigns WCJW (1965-1971)
WJW-FM (1948-1965)
Owner CBS Radio
Sister stations WDOK, WKRK, WNCX
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.wqal.com

WQAL is a commercial FM radio station in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, broadcasting at 104.1 MHz with a Adult Top 40 (CHR) format. Studios are located at One Radio Lane (at St. Clair Avenue, between 26th and 30th Streets) along with CBS Radio sister station WDOK.

The station calls itself "Q104".

History

The first station to occupy 104.1 FM frequency in Cleveland was started by WJW (AM) radio. The station signed on in 1948 as WJW-FM [1]. The new FM station went on the air just as the Cleveland Indians began their world championship season. WJW-AM was the flagship of a six-station Ohio network that carried the games in 1947 and 1948. However, the full games were often carried on WJW-FM, since the AM outlet did not have available air time due to its ABC network commitments. As a result, Cleveland became an FM hot bed, and more FM radio sets sold in Cleveland than in any other market in the country in 1948 [2].

Sold off by WJW radio/TV owner Storer Broadcasting in the mid-1960s, the station became WCJW. It finally changed to WQAL around 1971 when the call sign became available after a station in Philadelphia gave it up. The Philadelphia station became WWSH, then WJJZ, and is now WISX [3]. The meaning for the calls - "Quality Music" or "Quality Listening" - spanned both stations.

(The WQAL calls also had an unrelated history on an early AM radio station in Mattoon, Illinois, which signed on in 1921 and shut down one year later.)

WQAL's format throughout the 70's and 80's was beautiful music as "Easy 104 WQAL" with some of Cleveland radio's best-known personalities, including "Tall" Ted Hallaman, Ed Fisher, Al James, Frank Micale, and David Mark. This was until the decline of the format lead to a shift toward an adult contemporary approach similar to WDOK in 1990 as "Soft Hits 104." After that brief approach failed, the station then moved to a Hot AC approach as "The New Q104" in early 1991. The name soon changed to "Cleveland's Q104" before eventually becoming just "Q104." Although the music playlist has evolved over the years, WQAL has maintained their Hot AC format to this day.

Through most of the 1990's, after the switch to "Q104," the station had a solid line-up with Larry Morrow and Sally Spitz on morning drive, Johnny Williams on middays, Dan Deely on afternoon drive, Jon Russell on evenings, and Jay Lynn and "The Midnight Express" on overnights. Weekends have included Rick Allen (who is still on-air at WQAL along with WDOK and WNCX), Bill Ryan, Kelly Cannon, and Chuck Costanzo among other on-air hosts. Popular shows back then have included "Friday Night 80's," "Saturday Night Fever" featuring disco songs from the 70's, and syndicated countdown shows hosted by Casey Kasem and Rick Dees. The shows and personalities would eventually leave WQAL, but the station has managed to maintain a roster of local personalities and syndicated programming to continue serving the Greater Cleveland listening area.

Long locally owned by Win Communications Inc., WQAL was sold off to Chancellor Media in January 1999, joining WZJM 92.3-FM, WZAK 93.1-FM, WDOK 102.1-FM, WRMR 850-AM and WJMO 1490-AM under the Chancellor Media umbrella via simultaneous buyouts for $275 million [4]. It was, at the time, the largest radio deal in Cleveland broadcasting history. On July 13, 1999, Chancellor Media merged with Capstar Broadcasting - who owned WKNR 1220-AM - to form AMFM Inc., at that time the nation's largest radio station owner with 465 stations. When AMFM, Inc. merged with Clear Channel Communications in August 2000, Clear Channel was forced to sell off WQAL along with the other Cleveland AMFM properties to comply with market ownership restrictions. WZJM, WDOK and WQAL were sold to Infinity Broadcasting, which is today CBS Radio.

WQAL moved to new studios at One Radio Lane, paired with WDOK, in December 2001. Ironically, current WQAL program director Dave Popovich held like duties at WDOK from 1999 to 2000 - and also worked at then-"Lite Rock 106½" WLTF, whose studios were at One Radio Lane in the late 1980s. Recently, WQAL has been playing more Top-40 music in order to attract some of the younger 18 to 25 year old audience.

WQAL's current on-air line-up includes "Wilde and Fee" - Rebecca Wilde, Allan Fee, Glenn "The Funny Song Man" Anderson, and Producer Nick Smalc (5:30 to 10 a.m. mornings); Tim Richards (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. middays); Jen Toohey (3 to 7 p.m. afternoons). Weekends include Rick Allen, Dani Lynn, "The Party Zone" with Cherise Navidad, Mark Harkness, "The Coffee Shop" with Tim Richards, "FOX All Access" with Chris Leary, and "Hit List" with Randy Jackson.

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