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.