KQV 1968 ABC Logo

KQV is one of the oldest radio stations in the world. KQV signed on as 8ZAE on November 19, 1919 and was owned by The Doubleday Hill Electric Co.  In January, 1921 8ZAE became known as KQV, although the FCC did not officially grant the call letters until January 9, 1922. KQV stood for King of the Quaker Valley. 

In 1944 ownership was transferred to the Allegheny Broadcasting Company.  I.D. Wolf, William Walker, Earl Reed and Charles Campbell's company purchased KQV for $575,000.  At that time KQV's network affiliation was switched from NBC's Blue Network to Mutual.  Si Steinhauser of the Pittsburgh Press filed this story on January 17, 1945.  KQV and WCAE Shift Networks

KQV was acquired by the American Broadcasting Company in December of 1957.  Fred Remington of the Pittsburgh Press filed this story on Thursday August 29, 1957. ABC Pays $700,00 For KQV.  ABC's American Broadcasting Network was running a Live and Lively format. After 5 months, ABC dropped the format.  KQV was the first network owned radio station to convert to a top 40 format when it brought the format on January 13, 1958.

With the change in KQV's ownership and format, a change of call letters to WASP was considered and then dropped.  It was reported by Win Fanning in the October 8, 1958, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Win Fanning previewed KQV's format switch in the October 10, 1958 edition of the Post-Gazette.

Storz Broadcasting in Omaha launched the top 40 format.  Many of the key people who worked for Todd Storz helped to spread the format.  ABC was the first network to adopt the top 40 programing policy.

Dale L Moudy a former Storz radio Vice President of Engineering and now an ABC executive was brought in to wire KQV and it's new showcase studios on 7th Avenue and Smithfield Street for top 40.  Another Storz veteran Ralph Beaudin was hired from KOWH in Omaha to be KQV's first General Manager during the new top 40 era. 

Other Storz people helped bring the Storz programing philosophies of Live News at 55, and the top 40 format to ABC. 

From "Radio's Revolution & The World's Happiest Broadcasters"
(Storz Broadcasting Company) produced by Richard Fatherly, 
Here is Ray Otis to explaining how Dale Moudy & Ralph Beaudin were hired for KQV. And how the Storz team helped bring Top 40 to KQV and the ABC stations.
  requires real audio
For more on "Radio's Revolution & The World's Happiest Broadcasters"
contact Richard Fatherly 

In October 1958, KQV moved into the Showcase Studios.  Fred Remington of the Pittsburgh Press filed a pair of stories about the building and opening of the new $85,000 studios.

Through much of KQV's top 40 heyday, KQV was owned by the American Broadcasting Company and was a news affiliate of ABC and later the American Contemporary Radio Network.  In March of 1974 ABC sold KQV to Taft Broadcasting for $3.5 million dollars. Barbara Holsopple of the Pittsburgh Press filed this story.  KQV Sold To Taft.  On December 16, 1974, KQV's sale to Taft Broadcasting was completed. KQV brought in the top 40 format on January 1, 1958 and remained that way until October 15, 1975 before the switch to a new All News format. The last night of the top 40 format on KQV was anchored by disk jockeys George Hart and Billy Soule. KQV became affiliated with the now defunct NBC N.I.S. Network (News and Information Service) , instead of music it was all News, Information and Sports. KQV was purchased by Calvary Inc. on February 2, 1982 and celebrated it's 24th anniversary in the news format in October 1999.

Dennis Burns wrote this history of KQV on his Radio-Active Website:

Back in 1919 an amateur licensed radio station called 8ZAE operated experimentally on one of the upper floors of the Doubleday-Hill Electric Company store in downtown Pittsburgh. The store sold radio components, and when it's salespeople wanted to give a prospective customer a demonstration to spark the sale, they just ran upstairs and turned on the station. 

Well, two years later in January, 1921, Pittsburgh listeners heard the call letters KQV on their crystal sets for the first time. These call letters, officially designated by the Federal government a year later, inaugurated one of the world's first commercial broadcast services.

Well, not quite, because KQV founder G. Brown Hill did not think radio should be a commercial enterprise and refused to accept commercials until 1925. How times have changed! 

Over the years since then, KQV has been many things to many Pittsburghers. Early on, in the 30's and 40's, KQV had live musical shows and was a full-time affiliate; first with NBC's blue network, later with Mutual, carrying daytime soap operas, nightly drama and comedy shows, and network newscasts in addition to it's local news. 

In the 50's, 60's, and the early 70's, KQV was the cock of the walk in rock. It was Pittsburgh's DJ fast-track. Showcased on the ground floor of the Chamber of Commerce Building at the corner of "Walk" and "Don't Walk". 

Then, the music stopped on October 15, 1975. Just like that, KQV became all news as a charter affiliate of NBC radio's newly launched News and Information service. 

This is the "Official" history of KQV from KQV's own website FAQ Page:

Truthfully, we're not sure. Some radio historians claim that KQV's transmitter was put together and functioning as early as 1912. Others say 1916. However, we do know that "Doubleday Hill" was selling crystal sets designed to receive the KQV signal in late 1918.

Sometime around 1916, Francis Potts an employee of "Doubleday Hill" and Richard Johnstone, a draftsman, began tinkering with an old spark coil from a junked automobile, which they combined with a spark cap, nails, dry cell and sending key to produce an early AM transmitter. 

Potts and Johnstone soon set-up shop in a small utility room on the top of the "Doubleday Hill" building in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.

"Doubleday Hill" soon got into the business of manufacturing and selling crystal radio receivers.

When a salesman needed to demonstrate the wonders of radio, he'd have a coworker run upstairs and fire up the transmitter. Early broadcasts usually consisted of the reading of works of literature or scripture.

At that time, people weren't sure what to do with this new technology, or where it would fit into their lives. In fact, It was considered primarily to be a tool for naval vessels, allowing them to communicate over the vast distances of ocean. In fact, KQV's first official operating license was granted in 1919 by the "Federal Maritime Commission." Presumably, to conduct experiments on the feasibility of communicating with riverboats. (The Federal Communications Commission was not created until the early 1920's.)

By late 1919, "experimental signal 8 Z-A-E" as KQV was then known, was broadcasting to the city of Pittsburgh on a daily basis. 

KQV came into existence before the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all radio stations East of the Mississippi have call letters that were proceeded by a "W".

Local radio historians claim that these letters were chosen to represent the phrase "King of Quaker Valley".

In the 1950's KQV was moved to the first floor of the Chamber of Commerce building. In an effort to increase the public's awareness of the station, the air studios were built in the large picture windows at the corner of  Smithfield and Seventh.

An entire generation of Pittsburghers remember the thrill of seeing their favorite disc jockeys rocking and rolling in the KQV window studios.

KQV was not always the Big 14.  That's right !  We all know KQV's at 1410 AM now, but its not the only place that KQV was located at on the AM radio dial.  KQV was once located at 833 AM.  KQV was at 1090 AM in 1925, 1110 AM in 1927 (actually sharing the dial spot with WJAS) and at 1380 AM in 1931.  KQV finally moved to 1410 AM on March 29, 1941.  Even KQV-FM (now WDVE-FM) had a different FM dial position before ending up at 102.5. In 1948, KQV-FM was located at 98.1 FM !

KQV's first air staff as a top 40 station included Chuck Dougherty , Henry DaBecco, Sam Holman, Dave Scott, Roy Elwell, and Jolly Jim McLaughlin. For a list of most of the personalities that worked at KQV over the years go to the KQV Personalities page.

This is the advertisement promoting KQV's switch in the Pittsburgh Press on Monday January 13, 1958.  Note the lineup...
     Chuck Dougherty at 6 am
     Don McNeill's Breakfast Club at 9 am
     Herb Oscar Anderson at 10 am
     Henry DaBecco at 11 am
     Jim Reeves at 1 pm
     Jim Backus at 2 pm
     Sam Holman at 3 pm
     Merv Griffin at 7:15 pm
     Dave Scott at 9 pm
KQV combined the new line-up of local Disk Jockeys with ABC radio's lineup of stars ! ! !

Note: ABC is referred to as the American Broadcasting Network and Herb Oscar Anderson of WABC fame is on from 10 - 11am.

KQV's 1st nespaper ad after format change
Click on this Pittsburgh Press ad 
to see in full size ! ! !

Click on this Pittsburgh Post
Gazette to see in full size ! ! !

Click on this Broadcasting
Magazine ad to see in full size ! ! !
In 1958 after switching to Top 40, KQV was represented by Adam Young Inc. In this ad from Broadcasting Magazine, note the logo has ABN Radio Pittsburgh  (American Broadcasting Network) Pictured below are 4 of the ABN stars featured on KQV in January, 1958.
Check out Johnny Williams' 440 Satisfaction Web Site.  Johnny's a former KHJ Boss Jock who also worked at 1250/WTAE in Pittsburgh. Find out more about the careers of your favorite jocks.
440 Satisfaction Gif

Find out about KQV Today...
KQV is News Radio for Pittsburgh. 
Take the KQV Phone Poll of the day.
Check out the KQV Programming Schedule.

KQV News Radio gif

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This page updated May 10, 2014