For the past 20 years West Central, Illinois, Southeastern, Iowa and Northeast, Missouri have been getting their daily dose of rock from 105.9 KZZK—“The Grizz.” Originally owned and named after Morry Taylor’s Nickname, President and CEO of Titan Wheel, International, “The Grizz” has worn a hat or two, but throughout has remained loyal to its rock roots. Licensed to the city of New London, Missouri, KZZK’s tower is located in nearby Hannibal, while the studio and offices occupy the main floor of Quincy’s historic Lincoln-Douglas building; right across the street from where Stephen F. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln held debate number six of seven in 1858. Under the leadership of then General Manager, Pam Hunt, Program Director, Jana Hassen, and Music Director, Paul Ericson, KZZK hit the ground running May 1st, 1996 with a fast hitting, hard rocking sound and has never looked back. The original programming line-up consisted of Steve & D.C in the Mornings, Middays with “Stevie Ray” (Jana Hassen) and PM Drive with “Rawkdog” (Paul Ericson). “Heather the Intern” held down the seven to midnight shift and was also the Alternate 105 host on the weekends. The sound was new, fresh and provided the Grizz listener with long music sweeps, limited commercials and “All The Classics and The Best New Rock” on a 24/7 basis. The great programming and production were supported by new cutting edge equipment created by Broadcast Electronics and the Harris Corporation; both based in Quincy.
The Grizz has kept mornings pretty consistent over the two decades, with only Steve and DC, Mornings With Quaid, and The Bob and Tom Show influencing the early riser. Members of the Grizz air-staff have included Tony Smyth, Kelly Sparks, Colin Suchland, Freak, Producer Dick, Quaid, Beau Becraft, Steve Boll, Joe Bates, Jeff “Doc” Holliday, Julie Kohrer, Drew Kirby, Tim Bayless, Sean Secrease, Bob Schact, Dennis Fuller, Todd Andrews (Hoser) and Nate Primrose. Over the 20 year period KZZK has had just 3 PD’s (Hassen, Ericson, Quaid), with Paul Ericson back on board for a second tour of duty.
Every Programmer has taken immense pride in the stations’ musical direction….which has changed a couple of times over the years- but remains the region’s source for “Your Favorite Classics & The Best New Rock”. With the return of The Rawkdog and Heather Brown Ford (The Intern) the station is poised for huge year. Current research says P1s are 38 years old, employed and tune in an average minimum of 6.5 hours a day. The current Grizz menu features mornings with The Bob & Tom Show 6 days a week, ‘Rawkdog’ Paul Ericson Mid-Mornings, ‘The Original Grizzlies’ Heather and Paul noon to three, The Rock Road Home with Heather three to six; and Grizz Nights with Sean Secrease till nine. Harley, a veteran broadcaster who’s toured the United States, is our weekend purveyor of the Rock.
Thanks to numerous successful promotions Grizz listeners have enjoyed scoring tickets to shows in St Louis, Columbia, Springfield, Peoria, and Burlington, Iowa. Grizzlies have been able to meet some of their favorite artists through the station as the result of being a weekly reporter of the Grizz playlist to UTR (Under The Radar) which helps with national exposure.
Last Christmas KZZK’s 12 Days of Grizzmas was a huge success. It allowed 12 lucky Grizz listeners to visit the Grizz studios and do a one hour air-shift with The Original Grizzlies. And, as a bonus, each of the dozen finalists got to personally pick the music for their hour from the Grizz library. T Shirts, swag and a disc of their show was placed in each stocking with care along with the memory of being one of the staff for that magic hour. This memory will be shared by family and friends for decades. And while those dozen days were work intensive for PD Ericson and APD/Promotions Director Brown the results were more than worth it as the feedback was off the charts positive and very humbling.
The Grizz Is Rock, there when you need to go to that special spot that rockers all go to, to help get through the daily routine that is life. It is the heartbeat; the thump; the juice that makes a listener a “Grizzly” and keeps them coming back. Numerous times we’ve heard from journeymen contractors who come in our area to work; fall in love with The Grizz and then return home only to contact us through social media to tell us they wish KZZK was on in their city.
KZZK is all about the music. It has to be. In this part of the Midwest you have to travel to get to ANY major city, 2 hours to St Louis, 4 hours to Kansas City, 5 hours to Des Moines, 6 hours to Chicago, 6 plus to Lincoln Nebraska. So when our listeners win tickets and go to the shows in the large markets, it is a very big event for them. People in this part of the country take their way of life pretty seriously. And for 20 years KZZK has been there for them. The Grizz has rocked steady through storms, massive snowfalls, violent wind storms and tornadoes, fires, and even a mind-blowing flood of biblical proportions. Now as KZZK turns 20, we’ll be celebrating by attending Rock on the Range along with the lucky listener chosen to attend a rock event of a lifetime. PD Paul Ericson and APD/Promotions Director Heather Brown will be representing the word of how Rock Lives in the Heartland at 105.9 KZZK……..It Is The Grizz, heard in 21 Counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri and for the majority of these listeners’ a vital daily part of their lives….something we do not take for granted.