KQQL (107.9 FM, "Kool 108") is a classic hits music formatted radio station serving the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, licensed to the suburb of Anoka. The station is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc., and primarily plays rock and pop music from the 1970s and 1980s. Its studios are in St. Louis Park, and its transmitter is in Oak Grove.

They are also known as "The Twin Cities' Christmas Superstation" and play Christmas music from the day after Thanksgiving through midnight on Christmas Day, competing with 102.9 Lite FM until KMNB switched formats to country in December 2011 and ended its Christmas music tradition. In 2008, KQQL started the Christmas music earlier than ever, on the weekend of November 15. This is suspected of being a response to Lite FM switching earlier in the week.

KQQL also airs classic American Top 40 from the 1970s and 1980s hosted by Casey Kasem. It is one of a handful of stations in the state to broadcast digital radio using iBiquity's HD Radio format.

History

In the 1970s, the station was known as KTWN-FM. It cycled through several formats, including beautiful music, a short stint with classical music beginning September 1, 1974,[2][3] then a full-service MOR format, focusing on the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. From 1978 to 1983, they carried a jazz format. At the time, the station was operated by Jack Moore, who had previously run WAYL, the market's leading beautiful music station.

The station was sold and the new owners immediately switched to a lite AC/oldies hybrid on September 24, 1983 [4] as KGBB ("B108"). Later, the station became "Magic 108" with the call letters KMGW (later KMGK). The station's signal limitations were a hindrance as they faced competition from the larger WLTE and KS95.

Finally, the station was reborn as KQQL (Kool 108) in September 1988, became the first true FM oldies station in the Twin Cities area. This followed several days of stunting, playing various versions of "Louie, Louie" nonstop.

The oldies format originally spanned the era of the late 1950s through the 1960s. By 2000, they had gravitated toward hits of the 1960s and 1970s (with the occasional early 1980s song thrown in). For a brief time, they were the FM flagship for Minnesota Vikings football (simulcasting with KFAN).

The format was tweaked again in 2006, to an oldies/classic hits hybrid, positioning themselves as "Super Hits of the 60s & 70s", though they include some 1980s hits also. Kool 108 also began airing classic American Top 40 from the 1970s hosted by Casey Kasem. The station started playing less 1980s music starting in September 2007 in response to creation of Love 105. For a short time, Kool 108 also aired classic 1980s American Top 40 shows, but the station dropped the AT40 '80s broadcasts after they cut back on playing '80s music.

On April 28, 2009, KQQL released all of their on-air personalities, including morning host Lois Mae and radio icon Dan Donovan. Disk jockeys on KQQL were voicetracked from other Clear Channel stations, with news coming from KOA In Denver, CO. However, in mid-2010, KQQL hired new on-air personalities including radio veteran and KARE 11 reporter Lee Valsvik.

On December 27, 2009, the station tweaked to a classic hits format and dropped most 1960s titles, and added some 1990s titles, while emphasizing on 1970s and 1980s music. Direct competition with Cumulus Media's WGVX (Love 105) ended when it switched formats to lite rock in early 2012. At this time AT40: The 80s returned, and Dick Bartley's Classic Countdown was added onto the lineup, where it remains to this day.

HD Radio

On April 25, 2006, Clear Channel announced that KQQL's HD2 subchannel will carry a format focusing on hit music from the 1980s. The HD2 station, called Kool 1-0-80s, showcased every song to ever hit the Top 40 in the 80s.

During summer 2011, the HD2 subchannel changed programming to a simulcast of AM radio station KFXN ('The Score'). On September 8, 2011, the "Score" sports format began airing exclusively on KQQL-HD2 as their former signal (690 AM) was flipped to Asian programming.

In August 2012, the HD2 subchannel was changed back to Kool 1-0-80s, now iHeartRadio's "My 80s", with the same 1980s hits format it had before.

On May 23, 2014, KQQL-HD2 changed their format to urban adult contemporary and began simulcasting on FM translator W227BF/93.3, licensed to Shoreview.[5] Soon after, it started stunting with several types of music, changing every few days.

On June 13, 2014, KQQL-HD2 changed their format to modern rock, branded as "ALT 93.3".

As of October 2, 2014, KQQL's Kool 1-0-80s format is being broadcast on KQQL's HD3 channel and on translator W244CS/96.7 in the Southeast metro.[6] It would later be dropped for "Pride Radio." On June 12, 2015 KQQL-HD3 and W244CS changed their format to dance, branded as "96.7 Pride Radio".