|Broadcast area||Denver metropolitan area|
|Slogan||#1 For Today's Hottest Music|
|Frequency||107.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||HD2: 103.1 K276FK (Denver)|
|First air date||July 9, 1966(as 107.7 KLAK-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Rhythmic Top 40|
HD2: Comedy (Comedy 103.1)
|HAAT||365 meters (1,198 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||KQ KisS (Kiss FM former branding)|
|Former callsigns||KLAK-FM (1966–1970)|
|Former frequencies||107.7 MHz (1966–1970)|
104.3 MHz (KQKS calls)
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||KALC, KEZW, KQMT|
|Webcast||FM/HD1: KS107.5 Webstream Player and Listen Live |
HD2: Comedy 103.1 Listen Live
KQKS (107.5 MHz KS107.5), is a Rhythmic Top 40 radio station, licensed to Lakewood, Colorado. It is owned by Entercom and serves the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. KQKS's current slogan is #1 For Today's Hottest Music, referring to a musical mix of R&B, hip hop and Rhythmic Pop hits.
Its studios and offices are located in the Denver Tech Center district, and the transmitter is on Green Mountain in Lakewood. KQKS broadcasts at an effective radiated power (ERP) of 91,000 watts from a tower at 1198 feet (365 meters) in height above average terrain (HAAT). KQKS broadcasts in the HD Radio format. Its HD2 subchannel airs comedy programming, feeding translator station 103.1 K276FK in Denver, known as "Comedy 103.1."
Western Cities would move the transmitter site closer to Denver, increase power from 28,000 watts to 100,000 watts, and antenna height was would be increased from 88 feet to 980 feet. The call sign was switched to KQKS, and the format flipped to Adult Contemporary. At the time, the station broadcast at 104.3 FM and was known as "104.3 Kiss FM."
Top 40 KS104
In mid-1987, the branding was shortened to "KS104". On August 1, 1987, amidst heavy competition against three other FM adult contemporary stations in Denver, and with only one Top 40 station in the market, KQKS segued to a Mainstream Top 40 format, again as "KS104." By 1989, KQKS evolved into a Dance-leaning Rhythmic Top 40 outlet. But by 1993, the station shifted back to mainstream contemporary hits when it was left as the market's sole surviving Top 40 radio station. The air staff at the time included Mark Speers and Laurie Michaels in mornings, PJ Cruise in middays, Michael Hayes in afternoons, Sweet G in evenings, Ed Atkins in late evenings, JJ Cruze on overnights, and Brody Scott on swing.
By 1995, KS104 was competing heavily against KWMX and KALC, particularly for the young female audience. As a direct result, KQKS returned to a rhythmic contemporary direction that year. But by 1996, KQKS was struck by a major blow when the entire on-air staff defected across the street to the newly minted Rhythmic Contemporary rival KJMN, and began attacking "KS104" on-air and on the streets.
Move to FM 107.5
In November 1996, Western Cities sold "KS104" to Jefferson-Pilot Communications (now known as Lincoln National Corporation) for $15 million. Jefferson-Pilot had no disc jockeys on the air for two months. Jefferson-Pilot was also the owner of 107.5 KHHT at the time. On January 8, 1997, Jefferson-Pilot moved KQKS to 107.5 and relaunched it as "KS1075", replacing KHHT. KQKS's former home at 104.3 FM switched to Classic Country on January 18. (104.3 is now sports radio KKFN-FM.)
The move boosted KQKS's ratings, resulting in KJMN throwing in the towel on March 30, 1997. Since then, KQKS has faced several competitors, but none of them has overtaken KQKS, which maintains a top 5 status in the Denver Nielsen ratings. In 2009, Clear Channel Communications flipped KPTT (which had once competed against KQKS as Top 40/CHR KFMD from 2000 to 2005) to Rhythmic Top 40, resulting in KQKS adding more rap to its playlist. While Rap and Hip-hop accounts for over 50% of KS1075's playlist, the station, like most of the other Rhythmic outlets in the United States, has added some Rhythmic Pop/Dance tracks due to changing tastes among its listeners. As of 2018, KQKS continued to compete against KPTT, which has shifted back to mainstream Top 40/CHR, as well as increased competition from KFCO, which shifted to a current-focused Rhythmic presentation after nearly 4 years of having a classic hip-hop format.
In late 2005, Lincoln Financial Group acquired Jefferson-Pilot, which in turn resulted in Lincoln Financial becoming KQKS' parent company. The firm decided to keep Jefferson-Pilot's broadcasting properties in its portfolio despite offers by other broadcasting groups to buy the stations. On April 3, 2006, KQKS and the other stations began replacing the ownership on-air liners "A Jefferson-Pilot Station" with "A Lincoln Financial Station." In June 2007, Lincoln Financial announced that would put its television and radio stations up for sale. KQKS and its sister stations in Denver were among the properties being shopped around by Lincoln Financial, until the company suspended those plans in 2008.
On December 8, 2014, Entercom announced it would purchase Lincoln Financial Group's entire 15-station lineup in a $106.5 million deal, and would operate the outlets under a local marketing agreement (LMA). On December 22, 2014, Entercom announced that it would retain KQKS and its current format. The FCC approved the deal on June 26, 2015.
On July 9, 1966, KLAK-FM signed on, originally broadcasting at 107.7. It was owned by Lakewood Broadcasting Service and it simulcast the Country format of its sister station AM 1600. In 1970, it relocated to 107.5 and became KJAE, switching its format to Top 40. But this first attempt at contemporary hits would be short lived. The station returned to Country in 1973 and restored the KLAK-FM call sign. In 1978, it changed call letters to KPPL, airing a Beautiful Music/MOR format, followed by a brief stint with a Modern Rock format in 1983.
In February of 1983 KPPL and AM sister station KLAK were acquired by Malrite Communications. In July 1984, 107.5 switched to Top 40/CHR and took the call sign KRXY, adopting the moniker "Y108 FM". It was the top rated CHR station in Denver during the 1980s, competing against KPKE until that station flipped in 1987. KRXY also simulcast on 1600 AM as "KRXY-AM" during this time. In October 1987, KRXY's then owners, Malrite Communications, sold the station to ABC Radio.
KRXY was overtaken in the ratings by KQKS (then at 104.3) in 1991; by this time, KRXY began to lean toward Adult Top 40, and eventually dropped the "Y-108 FM" moniker, becoming "Mix 107.5" with a Hot AC format in June 1991. After Jefferson-Pilot bought the station from ABC in January 1993, its call letters were changed to KWMX on January 20th. KWMX faced competition from KOSI and KALC in the mid-1990s. In response, KWMX adjusted its playlist to a Modern Pop/Rock direction that KALC was also embracing at the time. In early 1996, the moniker changed slightly to "107-5 The Mix." The move proved unsuccessful for KWMX. In July 1996, KWMX's morning show was let go.
At midnight on August 2nd, the station began stunting with movie soundtracks. At 5 p.m. on the 2nd, KWMX officially flipped back to Top 40, changing its moniker to "K-Hits 107.5." On August 30, 1996, the call letters switched to KHHT to match the "K-Hits 107.5" moniker. However, the new format failed to catch on. On January 8, 1997, after Jefferson-Pilot bought KQKS, the "K-Hits" format was discontinued with KQKS moving its call letters and rhythmic format to 107.5. The call letter change to KQKS officially took place February 21, 1997.
The current airstaff includes: Mornings—Tony V, Mario ‘DJ Chonz’ Rodriguez & Ya Girl Cedes. Middays—Tashamokia, Afternoons—Big Mic, Nights—Rosa and Overnights—Baby Boy. Weekends—Buhrm Gotti, Unique and Kingdom, and mixers DJ Chonz, DJ Dizzy D, DJ Tanastadi, DJ Baby Boy, DJ Staxx and DJ Nunez provide mixes. For 15 years, Larry Ulibarri, Kendall B, and Kathie J held down the morning time slot, the longest in the station's history, from 2001 until March 2017 when a contract dispute resulted in their departure from KQKS. Kendall B had already left the station in January 2017 to pursue other opportunities.
KQKS played a pivotal role in breaking the record "That's What Love Can Do" by the American female group Boy Krazy. The song, produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, was a commercial failure upon its original release in Europe in 1991. But by late 1992, it began receiving airplay on KQKS after one of the staffers heard a remix done by Hot Tracks, breathing new life into it. The record climbed up the charts, becoming a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, Top 40 Mainstream and Rhythmic Contemporary charts in 1993. Boy Krazy mentions KQKS in their thank you credits on the single which can be found on their first (and only) 1993 self-titled album.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1967 page B-27
- "Mile High Battle: Denver" (PDF). Network 40 (1992-07-10, page 4). Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1999/D-Radio-AL-NE-BC-YB-1999..pdf Broadcsting & Cable Yearbook 1999 page D-74]
- "Entercom Acquires Lincoln Financial Media" from Radio Insight (December 8, 2014)
- "FCC OKs Lincoln Financial-Entercom Deal" from All Access (June 26, 2015)
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1967 page B-27
- "Changing formats mean battle on rock 'n' roll front", The Denver Post, August 6, 1996.
- "KS 107.5 Launches New Morning Show" from Radio Insight (May 31, 2017)
- "10 Questions with ... The KS 1075 Morning Show" from All Access (February 3, 2010)
- "KS 107.5 Morning Show With Larry and Kathie Canceled After Contract Dispute" from Westword (March 30, 2017)
- KS107.5 - #1 For Today's Hottest Music!
- Audio clip of K-Hits 107.5 debut
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KQKS
- Radio-Locator information on KQKS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KQKS