Brent James on why 4KQ rates so highly as an AM Music station

4KQ last year was the only AM Music station in the world to hit #1 in a survey according to Radioinsight ratings expert Chris Huff.

Wayne Stamm from radioinfo wanted to know why the station has done so consistently well for an AM music station, and asked Music Director, Brent James about the station’s success and what will change, if anything, when 4KQ is sold as part of the ARN/Grants takeover.


How does it feel to be the only AM Music station in the world that made it to #1 last year?

BJ: I must admit it always feels good when recognition comes via a story like this, but it really is a credit to our small but passionate team at 4KQ. We all listen to and love the station and really want it to achieve what most would consider the impossible, with little budget or marketing.

Plus the fact many listeners are also equally passionate about the brand, a testament  to the consistency of 4KQ over many years. This, along with the extensive marketing that was done in the earlier Wesgo/ARN days that helped set up 4KQ long term. Literally many have grown up with the product and format for nearly 40 years and they know what to expect.


What is out about 4KQ and its music that resonates with its audience?

BJ: First up the main core music universe is actually researched locally in Brisbane – for Brisbane, plus the regular music features (especially on the weekends) truly make a point of difference offering something they really just can’t get elsewhere – including  titles (especially Australian) just not available digitally anywhere.

Great for appointment setting!

The features can lean toward Brisbane heritage, playing off Brisbane music history and what was played and became hits in these parts, is all part of that local thing that makes 4KQ very Brisbane and an iconic local brand.

I grew up here and used to study what radio was playing locally (interstate as well when I could) and for how long, (not that everything still stands up today of course)……all this when I should have been doing , well home work !

Add to all that, a long standing heritage Breakfast Show (# 1 in the market) with Laurel, Gary & Mark that never really gets too heavy in these troubling times.  Is all about the “Good Times & Great Classic Hits.”

Numerous other factors certainly come into it that make 4KQ ‘click’ & ‘connect’ with the audience.


Why does it work on AM?

BJ: Well actually these days it’s more than just AM, that still remains a big part but certainly the digital factors have played a huge part in recent years both with DAB+ and certainly it’s growth and numbers especially on the iHeart platform have been very encouraging !

The playing field has levelled out somewhat with the lines between FM & AM now being blurred.


I’d also be interested in whether or not you think 4BH will be a threat to you now that ACE have it

BJ: 4BH have always been there in one form or another and with ACE they are chasing a different audience to 4KQ by going back to a softer/easy format they abandoned some years ago. Whereas 4KQ has always been a more energy driven, forward rolling Pop/Rock Classic Hits format. I wish them the best of luck with the return to the format, well maybe not too much!


Given that ARN is now forced to unload the station, what happens next?

BJ: It really is too early to tell, so can’t really guess. It will all be up to whoever buys it. Hopefully somebody will want to keep it all still in place. This sort of listener loyalty combined with the stations ongoing decades of success; you just can’t develop that sort of thing overnight.

4KQ is lucky in its long running form to have what I call the three “C”s. ‘Consistency’, ‘Certainty’ (of product, they know what they will get) and  ‘Credibility’ (with the music it plays , and what the talent delivers)


The station is now surely a golden pickup for someone, do you expect you will stay, or again, don’t you know?

BJ: Again, the great un-known, whoever buys it is getting an iconic and very successful brand – and listeners ! Not to mention DAB+ bandwidth which in itself offers up all sorts of potential.

I am still full of passion for it and truly believe 4KQ can still have a fantastic future once it steps outside ARN, its family of many years.


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