Nebraska Radio History Archive Presentation:
It seems that FM radio began as an after thought for many AM radio
stations. In some cases FM's were shut down in favor of giving full
efforts to the AM operations. KRCB-FM 98.5 signed on in 1969 at 546
Mynster just north of downtown CB. The building is gone today with the former address
part of the First Christian Church complex (Curious perhaps, because 98.5's
sister AM at
the time was 1580, which today programs a Christian format). KRCB simulcast their AM, at 1560 (now
KLNG). KRCB-FM originated it's own programming from sunset to midnight since
their AM was a Daytimer.
"Officially, Sweet 98 was launched on a hot summer morning in August of 1980
in the northwest corner room of the second floor of that rather interesting
brick building at 36th and Broadway in Council Bluffs. Mark Evans and I (“Mark
and Dick the Breakfast Flakes”... though we weren’t called flakes on day one...
I’ll tell that story in a moment) kicked it off with no special fanfare at 6 am.
If memory serves Greg MacArthur did the mid day, Doc Winston afternoon drive,
Jammin’ Jay Taylor evening, and Brooklyn Dave the overnight, but I wouldn’t
swear that was the lineup on day one."
And so it began, the little FM in Council Bluffs began it's destiny to dominate the air in a contemporary manner to what KOIL had done in the 50's & 60's. In 1986 a new state of the art studio was built and Sweet 98 leaped across the river to it's famous studios at 10th & Farnam.
i was the last jock on air at 36th and broadway. i handed over the chores to Tad Swensen using various sound effects to give the impression the studio was collapsing (which wasn't far from the truth, and was a feat in and of itself, because there was only one cart machine left in the studio!), and Tad 'beamed' me over to the new studio at the last second, 'saving' my sorry life. - Lonesome Rhodes
Aside from being an Omaha Legend, one of the attractions of Sweet 98 for both announcers and their hip & informed listeners is...er, WAS Sweet 98's Hydraulic studio. You're not only on the air, you're IN the air! The studio is immaculate because of the big picture window that gives Downtown Omaha a view of the studio's. (No monkey business even in the overnights!)
The white bars you see in the foreground lead up to an additional jock area where morning show cohorts and interns can work at the elevated platform's "eye level" with the jock on the air. Pictured is Mark Evans at the debut of the Sweet Studio in September of 1986.
Below is an aerial shot, so to speak.
A number of big names have graced the Sweet 98 studios over the years. Dan Keiley went on to program KIIS-FM in Los Angeles while others took their expertise to other markets. Drew Bentley continues to program the undisputed Oldies dominator in Omaha, KGOR. Some legends must go, and In 1989 the Sweet Jocks were John Jeffries, Lonesome Rhodes, Mark Ryan, Drew Bentley and Jay Tweedy shown in one of the last photo's taken at the late Peony Park.
Whether you liked him or not, G. Rockett Phillips, better known as "Rockett in the Morning" woke up Sweet listeners in the mid 90's. Here we see that Rockett had anyone from with PJ Morgan to Richard Simmons on his show.
A few years ago I heard what appears to be an Urban Legend. Sweet 98 supposedly had a lighter format, and after trying to drop "Sweet" from their name, they took it back because nobody would stop calling it that. This story is highly unlikely since Sweet 98 never had the equivalent of an A/C format and was always CHR as Sweet 98.
Drew Bentley, who was Program Director explains...
During my time at Sweet 98 (from October '87 through March '91) we did try to lessen the impact of "Sweet 98" and increase the use of the call letters KQKQ. Thus the phrase Sweet 98/KQKQ.
We dominated in females 18-24, 18-34 and teens and wanted to lessen the negative perception males had for the term "Sweet."
The station was always CHR and always rocked. Any softening of the music was because people like Michael Bolton and such had hits at the time, and we played the hits.
The Sweet 98 Breakfast Flakes (circa 1990) were Steve Lundy, Cap'n Tony and Ryno. Steve Lundy is now at KLIN in Lincoln (still doing morenings) and Tony Wike has been to KGOR, KEFM and back to KGOR. These days Mark "Ryno" Ryan can be found at Clark Creative Services.
In 1991 while our troops were carrying out Operation Desert Storm, Sweet 98 was back at home giving full support with sister 1180 KKAR
Sweet 98 brought Sweetstock to the Westfair Ampitheatre in 1999. It returned in 2000. Here is the Sweet gang posing with Westlife.
Each group of Sweet 98 jocks brings new life to that station. Following the "Breakfast Flakes" era, names like Stacy Kelly, Rockett in the Morning, and Dave Swan would re-invent the sound of Sweet 98, without compromising the music that made the station popular.
The Sweet line-up in 2000 was Max & Wayne in the mornings, J.D. JJ morgan, Joey Lager and Jonathon Reed. Jay Towers and Erika picked up the slack.
Mitchell Broadcasting eventually LMA'd their stations to Waitt Media in 2000 and the historical landmark at 10th & Farnam was vacated. Sweet 98 moved to a standard broadcast studio along with KKAR, KOZN, Radio Disney , 101.9 the Fox (KZFX) now Lite Rock 101.9 and 106.9 the City.
In the meantime a new station came to town. Journal Broadcast launched Channel 97 7, which is now Channel 94 1. This put a damper on Sweet 98's dominance which had been tested before and had won.
On March 11th 2004 at 3:00pm, Sweet 98.5 began stunting with a digital computer voice, counting down to 3:00 Friday. Sweet 98 became a victim of the massive market repositioning in April of 2004. 24 years of CHR heritage were traded in for "Modern Hit Music" as Q985.
The following message appeared on sweet98.comSaying goodbye to an old friend is painful, and no one feels this more deeply than the staff of Waitt Radio and Sweet 98.5.
Over the years, the tone and flavor of “Top 40 “ radio has changed to accommodate the music of the times. The old days of Sweet 98 are not what they were. The longstanding listener-ship of the station has grown up over the 20+ years KQKQ has been on the air, and now the station is going to grow with them.
Everyone at Sweet 98.5 will miss the many friends they’ve made on the air and at remote broadcast appearances as much as they will be missed.
Deciding to change Sweet 98.5 was a long and well-thought out process by Waitt Radio. We thank you for your loyalty and support throughout the years, and we sincerely hope that we will again cross paths in the future.
This site is part of the historical review of Nebraska Radio Stations at NebraskaRadio.com and is not operated by Froggy 98 radio. We cannot answer questions about the station, take requests. Please call their studio line offices for assistance. If you have historical information you would like included on this site, E-MAIL ME!
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