Rock FM station KZQM to launch in Sequim this May

Whether you prefer The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival or Devo, a new planned radio station in Sequim might have your favorite playlist set to air.

Owners and administrators for the new FM station KZQM 104.9 recently announced plans to launch the station in May playing classic rock music from the 1960s-1980s.

The new station is just one of a few changes for Radio Pacific, Inc. the parent company of the new station along with KONP 1450 AM and KSTI 102.1 FM.

Majority owner Brown Maloney, On-Air Operations Manager Todd Ortloff and Business Manager Sue Ellen Riesau said they plan to switch Port Angeles’ KSTI from a soft rock station to country and rebrand it The Strait.

Riesau said country music has a big following in Western Washington and there’s no country music station on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Maloney said the station will change formats tentatively on Monday, April 2 and about six weeks later, around May 14, KZQM 104.9, also called The Z104.9, will launch.

Currently, KSTI can be heard from Western Port Angeles to Carlsborg and parts of Sequim, Maloney said.

Thanks to a new setup, Sequim listeners can now hear Port Angeles’ KONP 1450 AM via a new FM station too.

Prior to a 150 foot radio-cell tower going up in Dungeness earlier this year, Radio Pacific Inc.’s owners purchased an FM repeater station from the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, that allows KONP to broadcast simultaneously on 1450 AM and 101.7 FM.

“You could drive on US Highway 101 and stay on the same station from Port Angeles to Sequim,” Maloney said.

“You’re not going to lose it. You will be able to go all the way to the Clallam/Jefferson County line.”

KONP’s AM station currently reaches to parts of Sequim, similarly to KSTI, but the FM station will reach from Western Port Angeles to Diamond Point area.

Riesau said KONP’s Sequim 101.7 FM translator is still awaiting final FCC approval but they expect it up and running in the coming weeks. She said the Port Angeles FM at 101.7 translator for KONP is already on the air.

KONP features, news, syndicated talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh and Dave Ramsey, and live Seattle Mariners and Seahawks games.

Radio growth

“Sequim has never been served so strong with radio before,” Maloney said.

KZQM and KONP join KSQM 91.5 FM, a non-profit, community-led station, but Riesau and Maloney said they are not in competition with each other.

“I don’t want to take anything away from KSQM,” Maloney said.

“We want people listening to radio. It will be different programming. If you’re listening to KSQM, great. If you’re listening to KZQM, great.”

Maloney said he wasn’t anticipating starting a new FM station but the FCC, offered the chance to bid on the new station.

“Another station was coming whether or not we bid,” Maloney said. “If we didn’t, someone else would have.”

Riesau, also the Sequim Gazette’s former publisher, said they are seeing a growing opportunity for radio in the area.

“The canopy is growing,” she said. “Now we can do things of interest for the whole county.”

Expanded cell service

The new radio station offerings are made possible from the new radio-cell tower in Dungeness atop Brigadoon Boulevard in the housing community Dungeness Heights.

Disguised with composite plastic and fiberglass branches, the tower hosts spots for three wireless phone carriers with two of the three accounted for so far.

Project consultant Bryon Gunnerson said Verizon Wireless has fully installed its equipment and could be fully operational in anywhere as a few weeks to up to two months.

T-Mobile has also signed on, he said, and is readying permitting.

Gunnerson he’s been in discussions with AT&T and Sprint for months but it’s undetermined who will sign on and how long it’ll take.

Carriers that do sign on will increase wireless signals within a 4-mile radius of the tower and better penetrate homes, he said.

Clallam County Fire District 3 has already signed on to increase its radio frequency in Dungeness through the tower and Clallam County Sheriff’s Department looks to install similar infrastructure, Maloney said.

Lawsuits against the tower’s owners are still pending from the Dungeness Heights Homeowners Association.

Previously, homeowners protested an array of issues in court with the tower including its height, safety and affect on property values. However, their efforts were denied in Clallam County courts.

Gunnerson said the homeowners association’s two lawsuits have not been scheduled in the Court of Appeals. They challenge the conditional use permit and variance for the tower and its building permit.

Gerald Steel, an Olympia lawyer representing the homeowners association, was unable for comment by press time.

More information on the new radio station and Radio Power, Inc.’s changes will be available at the Clallam County Home and Lifestyle Show sponsored by KONP at Port Angeles High School on March 10-11. Read more at www.konp.com.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

A new radio-cell tower disguised as a fir tree went up and live earlier this year atop Dungeness Heights and hosts new FM station 104.9 KZQM and expanded service for KONP 1450 AM news radio as 101.7 FM. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

A new radio-cell tower disguised as a fir tree went up and live earlier this year atop Dungeness Heights and hosts new FM station 104.9 KZQM and expanded service for KONP 1450 AM news radio as 101.7 FM. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

From Brigadoon Boulevard, a 150-foot tower stands among trees. It offers spots for expanded spots for three wireless phone companies, a new radio station, and expanded radio services for local first responders. Two lawsuits against the tower remain open in the Court of Appeals from local homeowners but a date has not been set. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

From Brigadoon Boulevard, a 150-foot tower stands among trees. It offers spots for expanded spots for three wireless phone companies, a new radio station, and expanded radio services for local first responders. Two lawsuits against the tower remain open in the Court of Appeals from local homeowners but a date has not been set. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

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