I used to work at Q99.5 KZZQ. I really enjoyed working there with great and talented radio professionals for 4.5 years and have always believed in the original mission of the station: to reach out to the not-yet-believers in the Des Moines area and beyond.

It was always hard, though. Being the only radio station in town playing Christian music, church people were a big part of the listener-base and are the only people, generally, willing to give of their time and resources to keep the station on the air. So we always had to balance the needs of the Christian listener with the mission of the station. Very difficult. In hindsight, it makes it really difficult to reach either group with the level of excellence we were shooting for. Rachel Leigh, Dave St. John, Dave & Burney, Randy Ross, and others valiantly walked this tight-rope on the air for 14 years.

Then, through a number of both Providential and extremely unfortunate personal circumstances, most of the staff had to move on. In the meantime, Life 107.1 (an extension of Minnesota-based Northwestern College) and KLOVE were gobbling up the church-people demographic. Church people like vertical music and those above college-age tend to like it mellow by comparison. This was a huge adjustment. As freeing as it was for Q99.5 KZZQ to focus on their core mission of reaching the non-believer, it left fewer and fewer Christians to carry the weight.

So Pulse 99.5 was born to change formats, focus on reaching the unbeliever, and articulate the vision to Christians in hopes of garnering support. The same organization that has always overseen the Q was behind the switch and many familiar voices like Randy Ross and Mike at the Mic in the Morning were still there. The format change was a bit of a pendulum swing, however, and the station has all but disappeared from the ratings. It has been failing to hit any particular target demographic and has been struggling. Rachel Leigh and Dave Nadler are now back with a streamlined ministry, renewed focus on hitting the C.H.R. (Contemporary Hit Radio) target demo without having the additional burden that Life 107 and KLOVE have so effectively begun to carry.

And I’m excited. With the changes, I have begun to donate my time to the station. I will be contacting our old contacts, helping shore up some administrative systems, and possibly planning a very large event this year (fingers crossed). If you live in Central Iowa or have an internet connection that can stream the station and haven’t checked out Pulse 99.5 in the last couple of weeks – what are you waiting for!? I think you’ll love it. Current Pulse fans will enjoy the playlist, many former Q listeners will love the format (even though it is quite a bit different than the Q was), and I’m thoroughly convinced that the station will be the best suited to reach those skeptical about spiritual things.

The staff that transitioned The Q to Pulse 99.5 did a great service to Central Iowa by taking the leap of faith required to reach out to those who need Jesus and love great music. I’m hopeful that with your help, we can be a part of a ministry that is vital to Central Iowa.

60 comments
  1. Having been a big fan of the “Q” and even fully understanding and appreciating the vision of reaching lost people…I will say that I no longer listen to 99.5 because they are appealing to no one with trying to appeal to everyone. They change styles so frequently on any given playlist that it makes your head swim. I want to win lost people to Jesus…for crying out loud, I’m a pastor, I’ve given my life and heart over to that endeavor…but a radio station that has schyzophrenia isn’t going to do it.

    Michael Demastuss last blog post..Pop Goes The Church Book Study2

  2. Having been a big fan of the “Q” and even fully understanding and appreciating the vision of reaching lost people…I will say that I no longer listen to 99.5 because they are appealing to no one with trying to appeal to everyone. They change styles so frequently on any given playlist that it makes your head swim. I want to win lost people to Jesus…for crying out loud, I’m a pastor, I’ve given my life and heart over to that endeavor…but a radio station that has schyzophrenia isn’t going to do it.

    Michael Demastuss last blog post..Pop Goes The Church Book Study2

  3. Having been a big fan of the “Q” and even fully understanding and appreciating the vision of reaching lost people…I will say that I no longer listen to 99.5 because they are appealing to no one with trying to appeal to everyone. They change styles so frequently on any given playlist that it makes your head swim. I want to win lost people to Jesus…for crying out loud, I’m a pastor, I’ve given my life and heart over to that endeavor…but a radio station that has schyzophrenia isn’t going to do it.

    Michael Demastuss last blog post..Pop Goes The Church Book Study2

  4. Michael – the point of the post was to get you to give it another listen as your concerns, from a radio perspective, are being dealt with – quickly. It’ll take some time to fully hone the station but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear.

    Recoverings last blog post..Pulse 99.5 FM – Des Moines

  5. Michael – the point of the post was to get you to give it another listen as your concerns, from a radio perspective, are being dealt with – quickly. It’ll take some time to fully hone the station but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear.

    Recoverings last blog post..Pulse 99.5 FM – Des Moines

  6. Michael – the point of the post was to get you to give it another listen as your concerns, from a radio perspective, are being dealt with – quickly. It’ll take some time to fully hone the station but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear.

    Recoverings last blog post..Pulse 99.5 FM – Des Moines

  7. Michel – Recovering is right. You’ll like what you hear. If not for your own listening pleasure, than for the potential that is being developed. You WILL be pleasantly surprised by the changes made over the last couple of weeks.

  8. Michel – Recovering is right. You’ll like what you hear. If not for your own listening pleasure, than for the potential that is being developed. You WILL be pleasantly surprised by the changes made over the last couple of weeks.

  9. Michel – Recovering is right. You’ll like what you hear. If not for your own listening pleasure, than for the potential that is being developed. You WILL be pleasantly surprised by the changes made over the last couple of weeks.

  10. I like the old and the new 99.5. My teen aged daughter used to like it OK but now she requests it. She listens to the Pulse by choice. That means that her unsaved friends are listening to it whenever they’re in her car or in her room. Listen to the Pop stations and you’ll hear a lot of veriety also. They play a rockish song and then a Hip Hop song and after that some kind of mushy ballad. I think they are on the right track.

  11. I like the old and the new 99.5. My teen aged daughter used to like it OK but now she requests it. She listens to the Pulse by choice. That means that her unsaved friends are listening to it whenever they’re in her car or in her room. Listen to the Pop stations and you’ll hear a lot of veriety also. They play a rockish song and then a Hip Hop song and after that some kind of mushy ballad. I think they are on the right track.

  12. I like the old and the new 99.5. My teen aged daughter used to like it OK but now she requests it. She listens to the Pulse by choice. That means that her unsaved friends are listening to it whenever they’re in her car or in her room. Listen to the Pop stations and you’ll hear a lot of veriety also. They play a rockish song and then a Hip Hop song and after that some kind of mushy ballad. I think they are on the right track.

  13. I also liked the before and after pulse. I like the personalized and not near 100% automated like life 107 or KLOVE. I really enjoy the comments and interesting facts Mike describes in the morning.
    I hope you keep him on board, as he is a huge asset to the station and the community.
    I can say, that since I am working extremely early hours, that I don’t get to listen to his show as much :(, and unfortunately, it is diffcult to receive the station, or any stations, where I work (no it is not a cave).

    I’m very interested/curious to see what is to come.

  14. I also liked the before and after pulse. I like the personalized and not near 100% automated like life 107 or KLOVE. I really enjoy the comments and interesting facts Mike describes in the morning.
    I hope you keep him on board, as he is a huge asset to the station and the community.
    I can say, that since I am working extremely early hours, that I don’t get to listen to his show as much :(, and unfortunately, it is diffcult to receive the station, or any stations, where I work (no it is not a cave).

    I’m very interested/curious to see what is to come.

  15. I also liked the before and after pulse. I like the personalized and not near 100% automated like life 107 or KLOVE. I really enjoy the comments and interesting facts Mike describes in the morning.
    I hope you keep him on board, as he is a huge asset to the station and the community.
    I can say, that since I am working extremely early hours, that I don’t get to listen to his show as much :(, and unfortunately, it is diffcult to receive the station, or any stations, where I work (no it is not a cave).

    I’m very interested/curious to see what is to come.

  16. Eric G, you are right on the money.
    This is a GREAT post. Glad to hear you are promoting change.

    You do still need to come back … we miss you. However you know the inevitable for ever leavinhg in the first place .. no changin that!
    :—)

  17. Eric G, you are right on the money.
    This is a GREAT post. Glad to hear you are promoting change.

    You do still need to come back … we miss you. However you know the inevitable for ever leavinhg in the first place .. no changin that!
    :—)

  18. Eric G, you are right on the money.
    This is a GREAT post. Glad to hear you are promoting change.

    You do still need to come back … we miss you. However you know the inevitable for ever leavinhg in the first place .. no changin that!
    :—)

  19. If we want to reach the lost, we need to be different than the world not the same. “Do not be conformed to this world…” Romans 12:2

    My kids are my mission field and I struggle with letting them listen to the station because I don’t want them learning songs from secular artists like the Goo Goo Dolls. They need to fill their minds with spiritual things that will help them “be transformed.”

  20. If we want to reach the lost, we need to be different than the world not the same. “Do not be conformed to this world…” Romans 12:2

    My kids are my mission field and I struggle with letting them listen to the station because I don’t want them learning songs from secular artists like the Goo Goo Dolls. They need to fill their minds with spiritual things that will help them “be transformed.”

  21. If we want to reach the lost, we need to be different than the world not the same. “Do not be conformed to this world…” Romans 12:2

    My kids are my mission field and I struggle with letting them listen to the station because I don’t want them learning songs from secular artists like the Goo Goo Dolls. They need to fill their minds with spiritual things that will help them “be transformed.”

  22. Chris,
    I appreciate your heart on the matter and I wish you luck in shielding your kids from any influence outside of Christ-centered artistry and culture.

    I think, should you not have a critical spirit, you’d find that the litmus test for mainstream music on Pulse (there is much less of it now than when it first switched over to Pulse from the Q) is that the staff’s kids should be able to Google the band’s name and not find anything offensive.

  23. Chris,
    I appreciate your heart on the matter and I wish you luck in shielding your kids from any influence outside of Christ-centered artistry and culture.

    I think, should you not have a critical spirit, you’d find that the litmus test for mainstream music on Pulse (there is much less of it now than when it first switched over to Pulse from the Q) is that the staff’s kids should be able to Google the band’s name and not find anything offensive.

  24. Chris,
    I appreciate your heart on the matter and I wish you luck in shielding your kids from any influence outside of Christ-centered artistry and culture.

    I think, should you not have a critical spirit, you’d find that the litmus test for mainstream music on Pulse (there is much less of it now than when it first switched over to Pulse from the Q) is that the staff’s kids should be able to Google the band’s name and not find anything offensive.

  25. I’m not trying to be critical. I’m just passionate about the topic of what should and shouldn’t influence my children.

    I like the analogy I heard recently comparing a child to a new plant and parents to a greenhouse. A new plant will grow and thrive best in that greenhouse shielded from the changing and sometimes harsh weather outside. In that greenhouse, the new plant will get the nourishment it needs to grow strong roots. Only then will it be planted outside.

    I was in highschool when the Q started broadcasting. I had never heard Christian music other than what we sang in church. The station influenced me a lot back then by turning me on to artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, the Newsboys, and DC Talk. I still love listening to Christian music today and for that I’ll always be grateful to the station.

  26. I’m not trying to be critical. I’m just passionate about the topic of what should and shouldn’t influence my children.

    I like the analogy I heard recently comparing a child to a new plant and parents to a greenhouse. A new plant will grow and thrive best in that greenhouse shielded from the changing and sometimes harsh weather outside. In that greenhouse, the new plant will get the nourishment it needs to grow strong roots. Only then will it be planted outside.

    I was in highschool when the Q started broadcasting. I had never heard Christian music other than what we sang in church. The station influenced me a lot back then by turning me on to artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, the Newsboys, and DC Talk. I still love listening to Christian music today and for that I’ll always be grateful to the station.

  27. I’m not trying to be critical. I’m just passionate about the topic of what should and shouldn’t influence my children.

    I like the analogy I heard recently comparing a child to a new plant and parents to a greenhouse. A new plant will grow and thrive best in that greenhouse shielded from the changing and sometimes harsh weather outside. In that greenhouse, the new plant will get the nourishment it needs to grow strong roots. Only then will it be planted outside.

    I was in highschool when the Q started broadcasting. I had never heard Christian music other than what we sang in church. The station influenced me a lot back then by turning me on to artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, the Newsboys, and DC Talk. I still love listening to Christian music today and for that I’ll always be grateful to the station.

  28. Shane why don’t you have a radio consultant drop in and give Pulse some direction and consistency? I know there’s one in the Des Moines area that works with stations all over the US. Maybe you could talk him in to some free work for the station. You need to so something to zero in on the demo/people you are trying to target.

  29. Shane why don’t you have a radio consultant drop in and give Pulse some direction and consistency? I know there’s one in the Des Moines area that works with stations all over the US. Maybe you could talk him in to some free work for the station. You need to so something to zero in on the demo/people you are trying to target.

  30. Shane why don’t you have a radio consultant drop in and give Pulse some direction and consistency? I know there’s one in the Des Moines area that works with stations all over the US. Maybe you could talk him in to some free work for the station. You need to so something to zero in on the demo/people you are trying to target.

  31. Gary – your less-than-gracious comment shows you are not the target demo. Pulse has a laser-focus on its target demo and is seeing positive listener response in both comments and financial support for the first time since the switch from the Q to Pulse.

    Instead of unproductive comments on a blog owned by a guy that doesn’t work at the station, you should (if you really care about being helpful) contact the station directly with your suggestion(s).

  32. Gary – your less-than-gracious comment shows you are not the target demo. Pulse has a laser-focus on its target demo and is seeing positive listener response in both comments and financial support for the first time since the switch from the Q to Pulse.

    Instead of unproductive comments on a blog owned by a guy that doesn’t work at the station, you should (if you really care about being helpful) contact the station directly with your suggestion(s).

  33. Gary – your less-than-gracious comment shows you are not the target demo. Pulse has a laser-focus on its target demo and is seeing positive listener response in both comments and financial support for the first time since the switch from the Q to Pulse.

    Instead of unproductive comments on a blog owned by a guy that doesn’t work at the station, you should (if you really care about being helpful) contact the station directly with your suggestion(s).

  34. Eric – Less than gracious comments??? Where did that come from fellow Christian?

    Obviously you have an expansive knowledge base when it comes to radio, marketing, branding and target demos.

    An offer made to help is a hand extended in friendship regardless of the verbage used.

    I guess Pulse will now dominate the market given your stand alone credentials and expert regard from the broadcasting community in general.

    There’s always room to improve……………….

  35. Eric – Less than gracious comments??? Where did that come from fellow Christian?

    Obviously you have an expansive knowledge base when it comes to radio, marketing, branding and target demos.

    An offer made to help is a hand extended in friendship regardless of the verbage used.

    I guess Pulse will now dominate the market given your stand alone credentials and expert regard from the broadcasting community in general.

    There’s always room to improve……………….

  36. Eric – Less than gracious comments??? Where did that come from fellow Christian?

    Obviously you have an expansive knowledge base when it comes to radio, marketing, branding and target demos.

    An offer made to help is a hand extended in friendship regardless of the verbage used.

    I guess Pulse will now dominate the market given your stand alone credentials and expert regard from the broadcasting community in general.

    There’s always room to improve……………….

  37. I agree with your last sentence. However, words (verbiage) matter and yours were not words of friendship and was not a hand extended to help. If you meant them as such than you need to learn to word things better.

    I do not work at the station but know the staff that’s there. And when 99.5 was well into the ratings mix they were at the helm. I think the station is in good hands but they are working on a skeleton crew so small it amazes me they keep the thing moving. So they do need help but can’t do much more until the community decides whether they want relevant encouraging music radio in the Des Moines area and begins to support it financially.

  38. I agree with your last sentence. However, words (verbiage) matter and yours were not words of friendship and was not a hand extended to help. If you meant them as such than you need to learn to word things better.

    I do not work at the station but know the staff that’s there. And when 99.5 was well into the ratings mix they were at the helm. I think the station is in good hands but they are working on a skeleton crew so small it amazes me they keep the thing moving. So they do need help but can’t do much more until the community decides whether they want relevant encouraging music radio in the Des Moines area and begins to support it financially.

  39. I agree with your last sentence. However, words (verbiage) matter and yours were not words of friendship and was not a hand extended to help. If you meant them as such than you need to learn to word things better.

    I do not work at the station but know the staff that’s there. And when 99.5 was well into the ratings mix they were at the helm. I think the station is in good hands but they are working on a skeleton crew so small it amazes me they keep the thing moving. So they do need help but can’t do much more until the community decides whether they want relevant encouraging music radio in the Des Moines area and begins to support it financially.

  40. With a small 6K signal that picks up a small corner of the DSM metro gathering support is tought at best.
    It’s really not about the community deciding if they want to support the station but rather producing a product that will encourage listeners to stop by. Give them a product they like and the sampling rate and TSL will go up. Too many non-profit stations like to fall back and blame the community for lack of support when then fail.
    Drop me an email and I’ll see if I can round up that consultants name and contact info. He’s a local guy and has worked with a couple of the more succesful Christian stations in the US. He’s got a soft spot for local radio and might do some minimal work on the programming and concept end of things for free.

    Gary

  41. With a small 6K signal that picks up a small corner of the DSM metro gathering support is tought at best.
    It’s really not about the community deciding if they want to support the station but rather producing a product that will encourage listeners to stop by. Give them a product they like and the sampling rate and TSL will go up. Too many non-profit stations like to fall back and blame the community for lack of support when then fail.
    Drop me an email and I’ll see if I can round up that consultants name and contact info. He’s a local guy and has worked with a couple of the more succesful Christian stations in the US. He’s got a soft spot for local radio and might do some minimal work on the programming and concept end of things for free.

    Gary

  42. With a small 6K signal that picks up a small corner of the DSM metro gathering support is tought at best.
    It’s really not about the community deciding if they want to support the station but rather producing a product that will encourage listeners to stop by. Give them a product they like and the sampling rate and TSL will go up. Too many non-profit stations like to fall back and blame the community for lack of support when then fail.
    Drop me an email and I’ll see if I can round up that consultants name and contact info. He’s a local guy and has worked with a couple of the more succesful Christian stations in the US. He’s got a soft spot for local radio and might do some minimal work on the programming and concept end of things for free.

    Gary

  43. The fact remains, Gary, that KZZQ had great support, great listernship when Dave and Rachel were at the helm. And – even at the end – was in decent financial shape. Pulse was launched after some bad management decisions led to decline and the relaunched product was terrible and the situation became MUCH worse. They were within a few weeks of selling. Plain and simple.

    It takes time after such a programming and branding disaster to recover. And – frankly – the staff is doing the best they can with the time and resources they have. They couldn’t afford a consultant (trust me, I am one – just not in radio) if they wanted to at this point.

    There is growth in listenership and growth in dollars right now. If it stalls, the station may fail and we get some generic, churchy, and irrelevant satellater station in town to replace it (ie. Air 1). If it doesn’t, Pulse will fulfill its potential in due time.

  44. The fact remains, Gary, that KZZQ had great support, great listernship when Dave and Rachel were at the helm. And – even at the end – was in decent financial shape. Pulse was launched after some bad management decisions led to decline and the relaunched product was terrible and the situation became MUCH worse. They were within a few weeks of selling. Plain and simple.

    It takes time after such a programming and branding disaster to recover. And – frankly – the staff is doing the best they can with the time and resources they have. They couldn’t afford a consultant (trust me, I am one – just not in radio) if they wanted to at this point.

    There is growth in listenership and growth in dollars right now. If it stalls, the station may fail and we get some generic, churchy, and irrelevant satellater station in town to replace it (ie. Air 1). If it doesn’t, Pulse will fulfill its potential in due time.

  45. The fact remains, Gary, that KZZQ had great support, great listernship when Dave and Rachel were at the helm. And – even at the end – was in decent financial shape. Pulse was launched after some bad management decisions led to decline and the relaunched product was terrible and the situation became MUCH worse. They were within a few weeks of selling. Plain and simple.

    It takes time after such a programming and branding disaster to recover. And – frankly – the staff is doing the best they can with the time and resources they have. They couldn’t afford a consultant (trust me, I am one – just not in radio) if they wanted to at this point.

    There is growth in listenership and growth in dollars right now. If it stalls, the station may fail and we get some generic, churchy, and irrelevant satellater station in town to replace it (ie. Air 1). If it doesn’t, Pulse will fulfill its potential in due time.

  46. Eric – I said the consultant might do some “no charge” work for the station because he likes local radio that’s not owned by the large corporations.

    If this is something you think the station would benefit from then drop me an email and I will look for the contact info. If not then I’ll drop the suggestion.

    Gary

  47. Eric – I said the consultant might do some “no charge” work for the station because he likes local radio that’s not owned by the large corporations.

    If this is something you think the station would benefit from then drop me an email and I will look for the contact info. If not then I’ll drop the suggestion.

    Gary

  48. Eric – I said the consultant might do some “no charge” work for the station because he likes local radio that’s not owned by the large corporations.

    If this is something you think the station would benefit from then drop me an email and I will look for the contact info. If not then I’ll drop the suggestion.

    Gary

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Remembering 9/11/01

I just got out of a prayer service at Valley Church in…

The Historicity of Jesus: Early Secular Sources

Guy Incognito challenged my use of historical evidence of Christ’s existence in…

Iron Man 3 Ignores Expectations

Iron Man (aka Tony Stark) as played by Robert Downey, Jr. has…

Contraceptives and the Pro-Life Christian, A Conundrum

It is time for Protestant Christians to also speak out about the sinfulness of using artificial contraceptives and the behavior it can result from its use.