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The Quad-City area radio frequency of 104.9 FM is going from Rock to Hawk.

But first, a brief detour into Christmas.

KBOB-FM is ending its seven-year stint as "Rock 104-9: The Quad-City Rocker" at 6 a.m. Wednesday, when it begins playing Christmas music.

But that will end about midday, general manager Bruce Law said, when a new format is introduced.

Law said he couldn't give details about the format change, but he did confirm radio industry website reports that it will turn country as "104.9, The Hawk."

"It's not a big secret," he said.

The website is registered to the station's owner, Townsquare Media, and the station already has a Facebook fan page.

In the most recent ratings period this past fall, "Rock 104-9" was eighth out of 11 commercial stations in the Quad-City market in terms of total listeners.

It's the second recent format change among the five-station Quad-City group owned by Townsquare. On June 16, KQCS flipped from the adult contemporary "Star 93.5" to ESPN Radio.

"We spent a bunch of money on research back in May to determine whether it was viable to continue it or look at another option," Law said of the format changes. "It pointed us in a couple of good directions."

It's the first time local competition in the form of a country station has emerged for WLLR-FM (103.7), the market's longtime ratings leader, since "The River 104.9" was replaced by the rock station in 2007.

"I look at it as a traditional, long-standing, great radio station," Law said of WLLR. "The Hawk will be a young-focused, new music, new country station targeted at a young female."

Law said more details will emerge after the flip is made Wednesday, but he said the station will have live programming with a local staff.

However, the move displaces longtime hosts Dave Levora and Darren Pitra, who have done Rock 104-9's morning show since 2007 and were together at previous frequencies owned by the radio station group since 2004.

Pitra, a Quad-City native, has worked for various owners in the Brady Street studios since 1989, minus an 18-month stint in Rockford, Ill. Levora, a native of the Chicago suburbs, has worked in the Quad-Cities since 1995.

"I'm going to attack this from a place of gratitude," Levora wrote on the duo's Facebook page at mid-morning on Tuesday. "For more than 20 years, I got to do my dream career. Rather than be upset that it's over, I choose to be happy it happened. You helped make that happen. Thank you for listening!"

Law said the two have known for several weeks that the plans were in motion and praised their demeanor. Pitra also was operations manager for the radio stations.  

"I can tell you both were treated very nicely, very fairly, and they both reciprocated," Law said. "They have been gentlemen through this whole thing, and they were extremely professional through the whole process. I really appreciate them stepping up like that. It doesn't always happen that way."

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