WFBQ went on the air in 1959 as WFBM-FM. Like other radio stations in the United States, WFBM-AM added the new frequency modulation station as a low-budget, automated-programing alternative that played recorded music. For many years WFBM-FM was considered secondary to its AM sister. It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when FM began rock-and-roll programming aimed at teens and young adults, that WFBM-FM and other FM stations gained a significant audience.

In February 1978, under new ownership, WFBM-FM changed its call letters to WFBQ; its AM sister station later became Wnde. WFBQ disc jockeys called the station, located at 94.7 on the radio dial, “Q95.” In 1983, two new morning personalities, Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold, moved from Petoskey, Michigan, and joined the staff at WFBQ. Their show was originally known as the Q-Zoo, but its name was changed to the bob & tom show within a few years. The duo quickly gained popularity, and their program became the most listened-to morning show in the city.

Their fame, however, brought controversy as well as revenue to WFBQ. In the mid-1980s, Carmel attorney John Price formed Decency in Broadcasting, a group, which charged that the Bob and Tom Show used pornographic material. Decency in Broadcasting appealed to the show’s sponsors to withdraw their advertising. Although their campaign to reduce WFBQ’s revenue had little success, the group continued to monitor the program and, on October 12, 1985, filed a complaint against the show with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC took no action against the station in this instance, but Decency in Broadcasting continued to file complaints. In July 1990, the FCC fined WFBQ $10,000 for broadcasting four “indecent” comedy routines on the Bob and Tom Show. That same year, Price sued the station and two of its on-air personalities, Griswold and Chick McGee, over an election morning broadcast in front of Price’s campaign headquarters in Carmel in which the two broadcasters compared Price’s attacks against the station to Nazism. The station responded by suspending Griswold and McGee, but a local court rejected the suit.

Throughout this period, the Bob and Tom Show and WFBQ’s listenership continued to grow. In the 1980s, station owners began airing the popular morning show on their AM station as well as at its regular FM slot. The readers of Rolling Stone magazine voted WFBQ “1990 Station of the Year” in a medium-sized market.

By 1993, still at its original location at 6161 Fall Creek Road, WFBQ’s annual revenue exceeded $10 million and, according to Arbitron Ratings Service, was the highest-rated, album-oriented rock station in the country. In October 1993, the station was purchased by Broadcast Alchemy L.P., a Cincinnati, Ohio, corporation. Leading concert promoter SFX Broadcasting Inc. acquired the station’s license in 1997, when it also acquired event promoter Sunshine Promotions. The $50 million deal included Deer Creek Music Center in Hamilton County.

In 2000, Clear Channel, the biggest radio station operator in the U.S., acquired WFBQ when it purchased SFX Communications, as part of a $2.9 million deal. Clear Channel hoped to boost event ticket sales using its radio stations. Between 1998 and 2007, WFBQ was home to Indianapolis Colts broadcasts, which included Super Bowl XLVI. The station changed to a classic rock format in 2005. Despite changes in syndication companies, the Bob & Tom Show has continued to broadcast from WFBQ’s Fall Creek Road studios.

WFBQ’s owner, Clear Channel, became part of a private holding company through a leveraged buyout in 2008. It was rebranded as iHeart Communications, Inc. in 2014.

Revised June 2021

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