New Q100.3 brings country competition to Knoxville radio

10:28 PM, May 9, 2013   |    comments
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A shakeup on the radio dial adds a new option for country music fans.

Journal Broadcast Group took over WNOX and with it they gained the station's broad reach across the region.

"100 minutes of commercial free country to start your work day. We do it everyday right here on the all new Q 100.3," DJ Opie Joe announced.

"It's something that doesn't happen everyday," said Senior VP and General Manager of Journal Broadcast's Knoxville operation, Chris Protzman.

Q 100.3 features a similar country format to their current station, Q 93.1. But the new station brings four times the reach.

"What the Q 100.3 signal gives us is the ability to reach our audience in literally all of East Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and parts of Georgia now," said Protzman.

This takeover comes on the heels of a recent ratings report that took country powerhouse WIVK out of the top spot it's held for years. B 97.5, an adult contemporary format, slipped into number one.

UT Radio Broadcasting teacher and WUTK Program Manager, Benny Smith, said this is Q 100.3's opportunity to be competitive with WIVK.

"It's going to challenge a station that frankly needed to be challenged. They've been the "Big Frog" in town for a long time so it's exciting to see them [Q 100.3] and also Merle FM in Clinton challenge them as well and do something differently," Smith said.

Smith has worked in radio for 30 plus years. He teaches his students that keeping the local connection is the key to the future of commercial radio. While he says that's slipping at many stations, he thinks this competition will help to keep it alive.

"It bodes well to the listeners because it's going to make everybody work harder. It's going to make the stations try harder and hopefully be better," said Smith.

Q 100.3 says they plan to step it up by offering new talent behind the microphone and more local country voices.

"I can't wait to get not only the music that we're playing now, but to showcase the next Kenny Chesney and the next Dolly Parton," said Q 100.3 Program Director, Mike Hammond.

We reached out to WIVK and didn't hear back in time for our story.

Journal Broadcast Group says the new station will add 4 to 5 full time jobs and other part time jobs.

The WNOX talk show line-up will move to WKVL 850 AM.

Journal said it has big plans for 93.1 and will announce its plans in 2 weeks.

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