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WLXP - 97X Classic Hits (logo).png
CityMoline, Illinois
Broadcast areaQuad Cities
SloganQuad Cities Classic Rock
Frequency96.9 MHz
First air dateNovember 1970 (as WMDR)
FormatClassic Rock
ERP50,000 watts
HAAT152 meters
Facility ID13663
Transmitter coordinates41°20′16″N 90°22′46″W / 41.33778°N 90.37944°W / 41.33778; -90.37944
Callsign meaningW X LP = ("X" A reference to its branding "97X". "LP" as in long play form of record album)
Former callsignsWMDR (1970–1975)
WHTT (1975–8/31/1978)[1]
OwnerTownsquare Media
(Townsquare Media Quad Cities License, LLC)
Sister stationsKBEA-FM, KBOB, KIIK-FM, KJOC
WebcastListen Live

WXLP is a Quad Cities area commercial classic rock radio station, licensed to Moline, Illinois. The station is owned by Townsquare Media, with studios located in Davenport, Iowa (along with the co-owned KJOC, KBEA-FM, KIIK-FM and KBOB) and transmitter located in Orion, Illinois.

WXLP is commonly and currently known as "97X" once again, after being known by the moniker "97 Rock" for a few years. The station's frequency is 96.9 MHz, and broadcasts with a power of 50,000 watts.

Station history[edit]

Formats of WXLP
Name (call signs) Format
97 WMDR Beautiful Music (1970-1975)
Stereo 97 (WHTT) Adult Contemporary later Country (1975–1978)
The New 97X (WXLP) AOR (1978–2004)
97 Rock (WXLP) Active Rock (2004–2007)
The All New 97X (WXLP) Classic Hits (2007–2014)
97X (WLXP) Classic Rock (2014 –present)

Early history (1970-1978)[edit]

Serving the Quad City-area, 96.9 FM had two early formats before switching to its longtime rock format.

The station signed on in November 1970 as WMDR, a Christian-oriented station that also formatted beautiful music. Studios were co-located with the station's transmitter in Orion, Illinois. The station was a stalwart in the market for nearly five years before being purchased by KSTT Broadcasting, owners of the powerhouse Top 40 station KSTT-AM 1170.

The station moved to Davenport in 1975, changed its call letters to WHTT, and introduced an automated adult contemporary format known as Stereo 97 which it maintained for three years before switching to an automated country music format. WHTT was not able to bill advertising dollars or compete in the ratings with country music rival WHBF-AM, which had adopted the country format a year earlier. For many years WHBF-AM (aka "Country Sunshine Radio") was among the top-rated stations in the Quad Cities market, alongside Top 40 hit music stations KSTT-AM (1170) and KIIK 104FM.

With WHTT underperforming, KSTT Broadcasting decided to make the switch to a live and local album-oriented rock format that would complement but not directly compete with the company's AM station.

The Original 97X (1978-2004)[edit]

In July 1978, KSTT-AM program director and future KUUL's DJ Jim O'Hara, along with on-air personality John Keith and music director Rick Fields, put together a brand new rock station for the Quad Cities—based at least in part on WLPX in Milwaukee. Then owner Fred Epstein liked the name X97 but somehow Fred realized that the name 97X was definitely sounded much more better than X97. And when the station took on its current WXLP callsign on August 31, 1978[1] It became known to a generation of fans and listeners as "97X, WXLP" or simply The "X". Later program director Gabe Baptiste took the station to its highest ratings in the late 1980s. From 1985 through 1986 The 97X lineup included Phil and Jack (mornings), J.J. Scott (middays), Terry Dugan (afternoons), and Greg Garron (evenings). Terry was replaced by Gene Olson in the afternoon when she became 97X's 1st female program director. Evenings were handled during this period by Steve DeBouvre. J.J. Scott brought his show, "The Electric Lunch" to 97X during his 2-year midday run. Gene Olson brought 97X national attention when he promoted "Shoes for Imelda" gathering thousands of shoes he sent to exiled Imelda Marcos. The station's first newsman was Dave Douglas (Tom Hosmanek) also of KSTT-AM.

Over the years they had many top morning shows including Phil Maicke, Ian Case, and The Coach and Dwyer and Michaels.[2] Dwyer and Michaels (real names Greg Dwyer and Bill Obenauf), who began working for the station in 1990, left to market competitor KCQQ-FM (Q-106.5) in 1995 after a dispute over a non-compete clause that kept them off the air for six months. They were followed by a short-lived morning show before "Matt and The Homey" took over the morning slot from 1996 until 1999.

Through the years, the station took on more of a classic rock format, although it still played plenty of album cuts. It was 97X's eclectic blend of rock music and offbeat personalities that made it one of the Quad-Cities' highest rated stations for more than 25 years.

97 Rock, The Quad Cities' Rocker (April 2004 - March 2007)[edit]

In April 2004, WXLP's format was altered as part of a series of programming changes at two Quad Cities-area Cumulus Broadcasting stations. While it kept elements of the former 97X's classic rock format, the newly christened "97 Rock" took on the hard rock format of the former "93 Rock" (KORB-FM). KORB, meanwhile, began an adult contemporary format as "Star 93.5" and changed its call letters to KQCS.

The All New 97X, Classic Hits (March 2007-March 2014)[edit]

In March 2007, the station switched its focus to "Classic Hits," or a softer rock style. playing Elton John, Boston, Chicago and Journey. The active rock format moved to KBOB-FM, which abandoned the country format it had had since 1994.[3]

97X, Classic Rock That Really Rocks! (March 2014-Present)[edit]

On March 3, 2014, 97X shifted its format from classic hits to classic rock.

Experiments with 2000's rock music (Late 2014-Early 2015)[edit]

In late 2014, 97x began experimenting with artists from the 2000s on their classic rock playlist although it was mostly hard rock acts such as Jet, Lenny Kravitz's late 1990s material (the only song of his that seems to get played on classic rock stations is his 1993 hit "Are You Gonna Go My Way"), 3 Doors Down's "Kryptonite" and Green Day's early to mid 2000s material (such as "Holiday" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"). This experiment stopped in early 2015 when virtually all early to mid 2000s material disappeared from their playlist. Sometime in 2019, rival Q106.5 added in a few "newer" tracks to their playlist, similar to what 97x did in late 2014 through early 2015.

The return of Dwyer and Michaels[edit]

On July 13, 2007, on-air personalities Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels returned to 97X after a 12-year absence at the station.[4] Dwyer and Michaels left rival station KCQQ in Davenport — where they had worked since 1995 — after their contract expired December 31, 2006. As part of their contract with Clear Channel Communications (owners of KCQQ), they had to honor a "local air" resctriction, meaning they could not work for a competing station in the Quad Cities for six months. In the interim, the duo worked for KRNA, an active rock station based in Cedar Rapids.[5]

Clear Channel sued Dwyer and Michaels in February, 2007 claiming that KRNA was audible in the Quad Cities area and the duo was actively promoting the upcoming show in the Quad Cities.[5] A Scott County District Court judge, however, ruled that Dwyer and Michaels did not violate the clause since Arbitron does not consider the Quad Cities part of KRNA's market area.[6]

On August 30, 2013, a deal was announced in which Townsquare Media would acquire 53 Cumulus stations, including WXLP, for $238 million. The deal is part of Cumulus' acquisition of Dial Global; Townsquare and Dial Global are both controlled by Oaktree Capital Management.[7][8] The sale to Townsquare was completed on November 14, 2013.[9]

Format shift?[edit]

On May 18, 2017, Greg Dwyer, made a post on the stations website talking about a new podcast called Miner Disturbance in which he ended the article with "The Quad Cities Classic (and possibly new?) Rock authority" which would hint at a format similar to the one most recently used at the former Rock 104.9 before the stations flip to country and then eventually classic hits.[10]

See also[edit]

  • Anderson, Frederick I, editor. "Joined By a River: Quad Cities." Lee Enterprises, 1982. (ISBN 0-910847-00-2)


The current on-air line-up is:

  • 5:30a-10a The Dwyer and Michaels Morning Show
  • 10a-2p Goose
  • 2p-7p Bill Stage
  • 7p-12am Ultimate Classic Rock w/ Uncle Joe Benson

Syndicated programming on WXLP includes The House of Hair with Dee Snider[11] and Ultimate Classic Rock Radio.[12]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°20′16″N 90°22′46″W / 41.33778°N 90.37944°W / 41.33778; -90.37944