KBEQ-FM (104.3 FM, "Q-104") is a country radio station that broadcasts in the Kansas City media market. Prior to adopting its "young country" format in 1993, KBEQ was Kansas City's sole Top-40 station. It also broadcasts in HD Radio. The station's studios are located at Westport Center in Midtown Kansas City, and the transmitter site is in the city's East Side.
Like many FM stations in the 1960s, KBEQ served as a counterpart to Mission, Kansas AM station KBEA (1480 AM). Starting in 1960, KBEY (as it was called at that time) played big band and easy listening music. In the late 1960s, the format switched to underground rock, playing primarily album cuts. On August 15, 1973, with the growing popularity of FM radio, KBEQ debuted their long-running CHR format as "Super-Q, Q-104", and gradually chipped away at AM powerhouse WHB's longtime popularity with the slogan "Super-Q plays favorites." Under the ownership of Mark and Connie Wodlinger, public service announcements were called "Q Tips."
Many of Kansas City's most popular deejays would take their turn playing hits at Q-104's Country Club Plaza studios, including Pat McKay, Mike O'Brien, Steve Garrett, Rockin' Johnny Rowlands, Bobby Ocean, Bobby Day, Chuck Nasty, Johnny Dare, Doug Billings, Randy Miller, and Daniel "Dancin' Danny" Wright. Fending off other FM upstarts, KBEQ achieved Top-40 dominance in Kansas City when WHB turned to an oldies format in 1985. By the end of the decade, KBEQ was Kansas City's only Top-40 station.
However, country music's popularity increased in Kansas City and throughout the nation in the early 1990s, while the Top 40 format was in a state of decline. On February 1, 1993, KBEQ began running a promotion called "20 years in 20 days", playing music that was popular in their Top 40 heyday. At 5 PM on February 19, after playing "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men, KBEQ abruptly flipped the station to a younger-emphasizing country music format as "Young Country 104" with the first song being "Young Country" by Hank Williams, Jr.. This left the area without a full city-grade Top-40 station until 1994, when future-sister station KMXV flipped from AC to Top 40. By July 1996, the station rebranded as "Young Country Q 104", in a nod to their Top 40 legacy. In 2001, the station dropped the "Young Country" portion of their branding and rebranded as "Q 104". The station also changed their logo to one mirroring their former Top 40 logo.
KBEQ compliments fellow Steel City Media station KFKF, and competes against Entercom's WDAF-FM. Its studios were a fixture in the Plaza area until November 2007, when the station moved to Westport Center to join their sister stations in one building.
On June 12, 2014, Wilks announced that it is selling its Kansas City cluster (including KBEQ) to Pittsburgh-based Steel City Media. The sale was approved on September 26, 2014, and was consummated on September 30.