WRBQ AM & FM - A History
WRBQ-AM 1380 St. Petersburg & WRBQ-FM 104.7 Tampa – Southern Broadcasting (John G. Johnson, president) acquired Tampa beautiful music 104.7 WEZX-FM in the summer of 1973 and transformed it into the bay area’s first stereo rock station, Q105 WRBQ-FM. It went on the air the following December from studios at 5510 Gray Street in Tampa. Power output was soon upgraded from 10.5 kilowatts to 100,000 watts.
About the only music on FM in the early 70’s was either beautiful music or classical and, even though FM had been around for a good number of years, most people still listened to AM. Since most vehicles were equipped with only an AM radio, Q105 gave away FM converters to make the station available to listeners on the road.
When asked about the selection of call letters, chief engineer Ralph Beaver likes to say he tossed out the ‘RB’ part (also his initials, by the way) when they were looking for a set of unique set of letters similar to Southern Broadcasting’s WRVQ in Richmond, VA. ‘RB’ was available (it sounded like “RV”) and everyone liked the idea, so WRBQ it was. The ‘Q’ is said to refer to the “Q” radio format at KCBQ in San Diego. The dial position was called ‘105’ because ‘104.7’ looked like it was at ‘105’ on an FM analog dial.
Q105’s original jock lineup was John Griffith (“Griff in the Morning” 6-9am); Alan O’Brien (9 til noon); Bill Garcia (12-3pm/ PD 1973-78); Chuck Stevens (3-6pm); Tim Davisson (music director 6-10pm); Scott Stone (10pm-2am); and Uncle Johnny Walker (2-6am). The “Q Morning Zoo,” first conceptualized and founded by Cleveland Wheeler and Scott Shannon in 1980, came to enjoy market shares in the 20’s, and was so highly rated that it was imitated at stations all across the country. At one point, the show was broadcast live on TV each morning (as the “Q Zoo Tube”) over the Home Shopping Network’s flagship station in Tampa, WBHS-TV Channel 50. It later moved to Lakeland’s WTMV Channel 32 (“V32”), and finally to St. Pete’s WTTA-TV Channel 38.
In 1978 Southern Broadcasting sold Q105 to Harte-Hanks Southern Communications Group. The company also acquired WLCY-AM 1380 and, in 1981, flipped it to news/talk WNSI. Edens Broadcasting (former Southern Broadcasting and Harte-Hanks executive Gary Edens, president) bought the combo in 1983, switched AM-1380’s calls to WRBQ-AM, and programmed a simulcast of Q105’s contemporary hit music. A decade later, the pair were sold to Clear Channel. The AM flipped to urban adult contemporary (The Touch) and the FM, after 20 years as a contemporary top 40, went country (105 The Bee/Q105 Country). In 1999, WRBQ-AM was acquired by ABC and became Radio Disney WWMI and, a year later, Q105 was sold to Infinity (now CBS Radio) and switched to oldies.
Other names from Q105 history are: Pete Schulte (GM 1973-1981), Dave Saint (1974), Mike Sutton (1974), Donna Kendall (sales manager-1975), Jon Powers (news director-1975), Kathy Tanner (promotions 1975; news), Don Wallis (1975-77), Kathy “The Wild” West (1978-1981), Voncile Anderson (promotions 1978-85), Mason Dixon (PD-1979), Lynn Lotkowitcz (music director-1979), Ron “Night Train” Lane (1980’s), Tramonte Watts (late nights-1980’s), Pat Brooks (news-1980), Arch Deal (traffic reporter-1981), Nancy Alexander (traffic reporter-1981), Tedd Webb (1981-1983), Deputy Mike (1981), Roger P. Schulman (news-1981), Pat George (promotions director-1981), Terrence McKeever (Q Zoo-1983), Chuck Bear (mid-days 1983; traffic pilot 1986-88), Jon “Rock N Roll” Anthony (1985; 1994), Michael D. Osterhaut (GM-1986), Louis Albertini (general sales manager-1986), Randy Kabrich (PD-1986), Bobby Rich (music director-1986), Chary Southmayd (afternoon news-1988), Alicia Kaye (early 90’s), Kristy Knight (1991), Dave Collins (afternoons), Johnny D, Hollywood Hamilton, Marvelous Marvin Boone (mid-days), Carrie Kirkland (news director), Cat Summers, Dave Mann (afternoons), Mike Horn (GM), Mike Reeves, Brian Thomas, Jack Miller, Shauna Stevens (overnights; Q-Zoo), Brian Christopher (nights), JoJo Walker (morning show), Rich Anhorn (music director), Sarah Marx, Mike Elliott, Bill Connolly (morning show), Al Brock, John Clay (PD), Jon Berry, Marc Champion (sports), Kevin Grant (weekends), Becky Gordon, Jim Jackson (weekends), Alan Kabel, Shadow Logan, Bob McNeill (PD), Dick Crippen (Q Zoo sports), Jim Reihle (Q Zoo), Bo Reynolds, Lori Rubio (promotions), Joey Steele, Randy Stewart, Jay Taylor (PD), Kent Voss, and T.R. Campbell.
Sales staffers from 1984-1990 include Danita Kroll Cave, Debra Porte, Valerie Hawkins, Nancy Schneid, Ivan Blank, Rich Berube, Dan Carelli, Fran Knights, Susan Gerlich, and Jay Bowden.
1973 - 2007 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)