|DRQ Lives Forever|
|History of DRQ:
93.1, or (W)DRQ, was one of Detroit's many radio stations until April 1, 2005. It was a "Top 40" style station, meaning that it played the top songs according to listeners. 95.5, or (W)KQI, was always a big competetor of DRQ, since it was Detroit's only other Top 40 station. DRQ was sponsored by ABC/Disney, which also sponsors 760 AM (WJR) and 96.3 FM (WDVD). 95.5 is currently sponsored by Clear Channel.
April 1st Incident
On April 1, 2005, DRQ went from being (in my opinion) Detroit's best radio station to one of the worst. DRQ had been losing a battle with 95.5 and was losing money. 95.5 came up with an idea about a month before DRQ was shut down called i-955 (see screenshot here). It is an application where listeners could create a 15 song playlist, and if it is good enough, be played during a commercial-free hour. This influenced many people and they switched to listening to 95.5. On April 1st, ABC (which sponsored DRQ) decided that DRQ was not needed any more. All of the DRQ workers (except Jay Towers) were fired that day and 93.1 was converted to a station called Doug-FM. DRQ's website was closed down and the station was gone. The below articles describing the incident were published in the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.
'DRQ drops hits format, will play it all now
April 2, 2005
ABC-owned WDRQ-FM (93.1) dropped its current hits format and most of its staff Friday to become "Doug-FM," a station playing a wide mix of rock and pop music with the motto "We play everything." Among the casualties: morning cohost Rachael Hunter, producers Steve Grunwald and Lisa Lisa, program director Alex Tear and music director Keith Curry. Morning host Jay Towers remains on staff but with no assignment, according to the trade Web site FMQB.com.
The station is currently all-music. Doug is a variation of the "Jack" format, which has popped up in several markets in radio's latest attempt to stop young listener migration to satellite radio and iPods. While ratings were soft, WDRQ was also being battered in ad revenue by Clear Channel hits player WKQI-FM (95.5).
Saturday, April 2, 2005
WDRQ goes to an iPod shufflelike format
The swap prompted listeners to think the station was pulling an April Fool's Day prank.
By Adam Graham / The Detroit News
It's no joke. WDRQ-FM (93.1) switched Friday from its Top-40 pop format to a new automated format with a playlist that includes the Beatles, U2, Prince and Madonna, and is meant to resemble an iPod in shuffle mode. The station will market itself as "DOUG-FM."
The abrupt change had many believing the station was pulling an elaborate April Fool's Day stunt. "It's not an April Fool's prank at all -- if it was, it was a pretty cruel one," says WDRQ morning show co-host Rachel Hunter, who, along with the majority of the station's on-air staff, was fired Friday afternoon.
Morning show host Jay Towers was not let go. He will stay on in at the station in a to-be-determined role.
The DOUG format resembles a format other stations across the country have switched over to in recent weeks. WRQX-FM in Washington, D.C., KCBS-FM in Los Angeles and WMWX-FM in Philadelphia have recently switched over to the format, which is popular in Canada and carries names like "Jack" and "Bob."
ABC-owned WDRQ-FM had been on the losing end of its head-to-head war with Clear Channel's WKQI-FM (95.5) for a number of years.
"But DRQ was not on life support," said Detroit radio veteran Lisa Lisa, who'd been with WDRQ eight years. "We were still competitive in a number of areas."
The move makes WKQI the only Top-40 station in town.
Selections by 10,000 Maniacs, Chumbawamba, matchbox 20 and the Cardigans were heard on DOUG Friday, while station IDs compared DOUG to your MP3 player, bragging it plays "everything."
As for the new playlist, Lisa said Friday, "It's horrid!"
You can reach Adam Graham at (313) 222-2284 or email@example.com.
Other Articles: Billboard Radio Monitor The Oakland Press Michiguide
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