Editors note: Former X Program Director Jacent Jackson was kind enough to write us a short history of The X, easily the most colorful radio station in the history of Treasure Valley radio.
A People's History of The X
By Jacent Jackson
The X was born in 1995. We don't remember exactly when.
The station was originally a terrible pop station for Ontario, Oregon. A man named Bob Lee bought the station and moved the transmitter to its current location in Emmett in 1993 and boosted the power to 100,000 watts. He named it Pirate Radio and literally bought the old swag from Pirate Radio 100.3 in Los Angeles for giveaways.
The station was run out of a closet in a drug infested biker bar called Mountain Billards on 15th St. The painted "Pirate Radio" sign was still visible until just a few years ago when the building was sold to a much more upscale location...a Spearmint Rhino gentlemen's club.
Pirate Radio was a metal station that played some hard alternative bands. In other words, a lot of Pantera and Soundgarden and Metallica and Jane's Addiction.
The station was soon flipped to another company who moved it into a different closet at 5601 Cassia and renamed it The X in 1995. "The X" was meant to be the flanker station for Boise's heritage big ass rock station "J-105." "Pirate" had begun eating into J-105's audience and if you can't beat them, buy them.
Tim Johnstone (currently of 94.9 the River) was The X's first PD. The station went very deep and heritage, playing lots of 80's and 90's Alternative and had a very eclectic playlist. The station had an underground following in the north end, but little else. The station, in its first foray into morning syndicated shows, picked up Mark and Brian from KLOS/Los Angeles.
Journal Broadcast Group bought KQXR in summer 1998. Mark and Brian went away, replaced with a local morning show, Byl and Doug. Byl had been the night guy for KQXR since 1990 (yes, that includes the Top 40 Oregon days.)
Jacent Jackson (1998-2004) arrived at The X as PD a month later, from WWDX in Lansing, MI. Over the next 5 years, The X embraced its metal past while bringing a point of view that skewed everything establishment in Boise.
The X was heavily influenced by its two Music Directors. Pete Schiecke (1999-2001) and Stephen Kallao (2001-2003) Pete now programs the rock channels for AOLradio in New York. Kallao is the creative director/night guy at 91X/San Diego and a member of MENSA, I think.
By bringing metal guys and northenders together, the station put up blockbuster ratings.
Jacent Jackson left The X for Q101/Chicago in February 2004. Erik Kristensen arrived from WPBZ/West Palm Beach in March 2004. Byl and Doug were broken up in April 2004. Byl was paired with recurring cast members Big J and Melissa to build a new show. Doug was moved to J-105 to replace long time morning guy Chris Brewer, responsible for a show called the "Spudbrothers in the Morning."
Following that, was the arrival of The X's second syndicated morning show, Mancow from Q101/Chicago.
Erik Kristensen left for WDYL/Richmond and was replaced by Mat Diablo from KRZQ/Reno.
Mancow was subsequently dumped, and Diablo was teamed with the night guy Ian (now called the Reverend Ian) to create Diablo and the Reverend in the morning. The show lasted nine months before Mat decided to leave for a job on the world wide web.
Over the years The X was nominated for a bunch of R&R awards, including:
2001: Radio station of the year, all formats. (Markets 101+)
2002: Alternative Program Director of the Year all markets. (Jacent Jackson)
2003: Alternative Station of the Year all markets.
And in 2004, The X took home the award for Alternative station of the year (Markets 101+)
Colorful radio station, don't you think?Jacent.