Looking Back: 2004

just-rock-odayJANUARY – KGHO AM 920 Olympia license assigned [from] Spencer Broadcasting LP to KITZ Radio Inc. [$300,000 sale price]

It Was All Just Rock-’n’-Roll II: A Return to the Center of the Radio & Concert Universe by legendary Seattle DJ Pat O’Day was released.

Legendary northwest sportscaster and KLKI AM 1340 Anacortes Sports Director Bill O’Mara celebrated his 87th birthday on Monday, January 5th. The following day, he did play-by-play for a high school basketball game. He still does regular sports updates for the station throughout each broadcast day, as well
as play-by-play for high school basketball and football.

New York Vinnie, KIRO AM 710 Seattle afternoon sports anchor and The Seahawks Weekly Huddle and Hawktalk co-host has been signed to another three years by the station.


KLSY moved its afternoon team of Mitch Elliott and Lisa Foster to mornings.

KOMO-AM (1000) evening and weekend anchor Art Sanders is one of four people auditioning to succeed the late Rod Roddy as the announcer for the long-running CBS-TV game show “The Price Is Right.”

The on-again, off-again “Producers” show on KVI-AM (570) is now off again.

KNHC-FM (89.5) has launched a new ’80s dance music program at 6 a.m. Thursdays.

KBCS-FM (91.3) has launched the world music program “Daily Planet” at 3 p.m. weekdays, replacing “Roots and Branches.” KBCS has also added a political commentary show hosted by Geov Parrish at 4:30 p.m. Fridays.

KNDD-FM (107.7) has named a new morning host — DJ No Name, currently on in the afternoons, moves to the 6-10 a.m. slot.

The FCC has accepted for filing, construction permit application by Pamplin Broadcasting for a new station on 740 kHz in Redmond. The application is for 50 kW day, 4.5 kW night at 47-39-54 121-54-11.

Western Washington’s “only totally independent radio station” KSER-FM 90.7 Everett has moved to new studios in its official city of license.

Fisher Communications Inc. said yesterday it laid off five people, including two on-air hosts, from its Seattle radio operations. The layoffs included Pamela McCall, a news anchor on KOMO-AM, and James Parker, the evening host on KPLZ-FM, which will use fill-in hosts until a permanent replacement is named. Fisher said the cuts were part of financial restructuring at the company.


Seattle-based KEXP-FM (90.3) is extending its reach to Tacoma and Olympia by taking over the operations of KBTC-FM (91.7). KBTC-FM, which had been owned and operated by Bates Technical College in Tacoma, will be renamed KXOT-FM, and will begin carrying KEXP’s programming.
Bates announced a year ago it wanted to get out of the broadcasting business and announced a deal to sell the station to Public Radio Capital, a Denver non-profit that brokers public radio deals but also purchases stations and arranges for their operation. The deal for Public Radio Capital to acquire the Tacoma station for $5 million is expected to close in late spring.
Public Radio Capital in turn is leasing the station to KEXP, which will program it. Tom Mara, KEXP’s executive director, said the lease amounts range from $50,000 in the first year to $335,000 in the third year. “We hope enough folks in Tacoma and Olympia find value in this to help us pay for it,” he said.
The new KXOT will drop KBTC’s classic rock format for KEXP’s eclectic mix of independent rock, world music, blues and Americana, as well as public affairs programming.

Fisher Communication Inc. reported a profit for the fourth quarter, but the Seattle-based company said that was the result of gains from the sale of two Georgia television stations and two Portland radio stations. After restructuring and cutting debt, Fisher Communications predicts a move back into profitability in 2004.

Air America Radio launches liberal leaning talk next this month in the larger US markets, but Seattle isn’t in the initial plan.


KGHO AM 920 Olympia has changed call letters to KGTK and format from oldies to a simulcast of MegaTalk KITZ AM 1400 Silverdale.

The Seattle Seahawks have officially announced that Steve Raible will move from analyst to play-by-play and former CFL/NFL QB Warren Moon starts as analyst on KIRO-AM 710 live broadcasts.

Seems six years as KCPQ/13′s main anchor was enough for Leslie Miller. The blond mainstay of the Fox affiliate’s news at 10 p.m. is leaving the station after May sweeps, when morning anchor Christine Chen will take over her chair.
“It was a mutual, amicable decision,” said Pam Peterson, KCPQ’s vice president and general manager, adding that Miller’s exit coincides with the end of her contract.

Legendary Seattle morning radio personality Charlie Brown was honored with The Crystal Soundie for his contributions to broadcasting at the Puget Sound Radio Broadcasters Association (PSRBA) 2003 Soundie Awards presentation. Also on hand was his former KUBE-FM/KJR-FM sidekick Ty Flint. The event was emceed by current KJR-FM morning personality Pat Cashman.

Seattle-based Fisher Communications Inc. has reported a loss of $9.8 million compared with a loss in the year-ago period of $2.9 million. Overall revenue has risen two percent and Fisher claims that it’s loss from continuing operations actually declined from a year ago, if non-cash adjustments are removed from the equation.


TBN station KTBW-DT/14 Tacoma has returned to the air after about three weeks due to power failure damage to the station’s digital transmitter. It’s analog signal on channel 20 was not affected by the outage.

State Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt is courting KIRO radio talk-show host Dave Ross to run for Congress in the suburban 8th District, and Ross says he hasn’t ruled out the idea.

Fisher Communications Inc. announced that the morning team of Kent Phillips and Alan Budwill had been signed to a new contract at KPLZ-FM (101.5). The new five-year deal will extend what Phillips says is the longest one-station tenure for a morning show currently on the air in Seattle, now at 18 years. Bill Yeend has been on the air in mornings even longer, although that’s been split between two stations (KIRO-AM and KOMO-AM). Others with extended track records in the market include Bob Rivers (now at KZOK-FM) and Ichabod Caine (now with KMPS-FM).
When Kent & Alan came to Seattle from Portland, the executive who hired the team “gave us at least three years to get rolling.”

The syndicated AC night program Delilah, which originates in Seattle, is moving from Jones Radio Networks. Delilah has signed with Premiere Radio Networks. Jones, meanwhile, is offering a new show
hosted by Alan Kabel for the 7 p.m.-midnight slot. Jim LaMarca, executive vice president at Jones, said Kabel’s show features calls from listeners but is more uptempo and entertainment-driven. Delilah has been doing her nationally syndicated show since 1996. She had been host of KLSY’s “Lights Out” song-dedication show before moving to other cities, then returning to Seattle with the launch of her national show.

All Comedy Radio now has a Seattle affiliate — KQBZ-FM (100.7) is carrying the network 11 p.m.-3 a.m. weekdays.


Q13 KCPQ-TV/13 reporter and weekend anchor Peter Alexander is leaving Seattle to become a national correspondent for NBC News. Derek Wing, who splits his duties between a weekend anchor position with North Carolina Fox affiliate WVBT-TV and reporting for NBC affiliate WAVY-TV in Virginia, will assume Alexander’s weekend anchor position. He’ll also be a reporter three nights a week.
In other moves, KCPQ recently moved reporter Lily Jang to the morning anchor slot formerly held by Christine Chen, who has taken over for Leslie Miller at 10 o’clock.

On the day after Memorial Day of 1973, a University of Washington communications major named Micki Flowers delivered her first television news weather report for KIRO/7. With that first report, Flowers made history, becoming the first African American woman in front of the camera at KIRO, a pioneer for journalists of color who would follow in her footsteps in this market. That probably wasn’t the foremost on her mind. That day, nobody even told her that the red light on top of the camera meant that she was on the air. Worse, she recalls signing off KIRO’s newscast with, “Thank you for watching KING TV.” After 31 years with KIRO, Flowers, 55, the only TV personality in this market who made health and science reporting a full-time specialty, is retiring.

The continuing duel between conservative talk stations KTTH-AM (770) and KVI-AM (570) extends to memorials for former President Ronald Reagan. KTTH is holding a viewing event for the funeral procession at Chapel of New Life Church in Renton; on-air hosts David Boze, Mike Siegel and Michael Medved are scheduled to attend. KVI, meanwhile, is teaming with the state Republican Party for a memorial service at Cedar Park Assembly of God in Bothell. KVI morning host Kirby Wilbur will host the event, which the station plans to carry live.


KVI AM 570 talk-show host Bryan Suits has been wounded by mortar fire while serving with the National Guard in Iraq.

Long-time KUOW-FM 94.9 Seattle personality Bill Radke is leaving the station for Los Angeles to be a host on the nationally syndicated program Public Radio Weekend.

Jeff Smith, a white-bearded minister who became public television’s popular “Frugal Gourmet” before a pedophilia scandal ruined his career, has died, he was 65. Smith died in his sleep of natural causes, said business manager Jim Paddleford. He had long suffered from heart disease and had a valve replaced in 1981.
In the 1960s, Smith, a United Methodist minister, began teaching a course at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma titled “Food as Sacrament and Celebration.” Eventually he got his own program on the local PBS affiliate — “Cooking Fish Creatively” — and his career took off with an appearance on Phil Donahue’s talk show.
“The Frugal Gourmet” became the nation’s most-watched cooking show, and a series of accompanying cookbooks broke sales records for the genre. But in 1997, seven men filed a lawsuit alleging they had been sexually abused by Smith as youths. Six said the abuse occurred while they worked for him at the Chaplain’s Pantry, a restaurant he operated in Tacoma in the 1970s. The seventh alleged Smith abused him after picking him up as a hitchhiker in 1992. Smith denied the charges, but he and his insurance companies paid an undisclosed sum to settle the lawsuit.

Entercom Communications Corp. plans to sell one of its eight Seattle-area radio stations, KNWX-AM (1210), to a Sacramento, Calif., company that will convert it to Spanish-language programming.
That will add to the competition in a market that already has two Spanish-language stations and on Monday will be getting a third.

Salem Communications, which operates KKMO-AM (1360) as Radio Sol, plans to convert KTFH-AM (1680) to Spanish-language programming, according to David Fitts, who heads Salem’s five AM stations in the Seattle market.

The other Seattle Spanish language station is KXPA-AM (1540), owned by Multicultural Broadcasting. It airs 23 hours of Spanish-language shows per weekday.

KNWX is being sold to Bustos Media Corp. of Sacramento. Bustos currently owns four AM stations in Portland and an AM and an FM station in Salt Lake City. In May, it bought OM Media, which distributes Spanish-language programming to about three dozen stations.
KNWX currently broadcasts news and business and investing programs. Bustos said the KNWX call letters will remain with Entercom; new ones haven’t been picked. The sale of KNWX will result in four layoffs.
Until the sale, Entercom, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., owned the maximum number of stations allowed for one company in a market the size of Seattle. Its other local holdings are KIRO-AM (710), KBSG-FM (97.3), KISW-FM (99.9), KQBZ-FM (100.7), KMTT-FM (103.7), KNDD-FM (107.7) and KTTH-AM (770). At one time, the KNWX call letters were assigned to Entercom’s outlet at 770 on the AM band. When Entercom decided to convert that station to conservative talk, it gave the station at 770 the new call letters of KTTH and moved the former call letters and format to 1210.

KING-FM (98.1) has parted company with another long-time host. Tom Dahlstrom, who had been with the classical music station for more than 17 years. Dahlstrom said he can’t discuss the reasons for his departure from KING. In a release, station management described the move as part of a “continued effort to expand (KING’s) format to appeal to a broader audience. The departure follows last year’s acrimonious departure of George Shangrow, who had been with the station for 16 years and hosted its “Live by George” series featuring performances by local and touring performers. Shangrow was told by station management it didn’t like his programming and wouldn’t renew his contract.

Well known Seattle radio personality, Alice Porter died at the age of 44 due to a sudden illness. She began in radio at KSWB Seaside OR in 1975, moving to Eugene OR in 1978, KEZX-FM Seattle in 1982 and KLSY-FM, first as an afternoon traffic reporter in 1986, then becoming part of the morning team of Murdock, Hunter & Alice, who entertained Seattle up until December of last year.

Ms. Porter, who had been in good health, fell ill during the Fourth of July holiday while with her husband, Shawn, at the couple’s second home on Hood Canal. She was admitted to the hospital after returning to the Seattle area, and she never returned home.

A private woman, Ms. Porter kept her illness hidden from even her closest friends. She and Hunter had planned to meet for lunch about a week before her death. She e-mailed Hunter — from her hospital bed, unbeknownst to him — about rescheduling it to mid-August. “I didn’t even know she was sick,” said Hunter, who eventually learned of Ms. Porter’s condition the day before she died.


1964-66 KJR Seattle jock Larry Lujack and another favorite of Northwest listeners, veteran NPR host Bob Edwards are among inductees to the 2004 Radio Hall of Fame.

Thor Tolo makes the flip from sports talk in Pittsburgh to Live From Seattle on KGNW AM 820.

Former KUBE-FM 93.3 and KJR-FM 95.7 PD and current Clear Channel Seattle RVP, Bob Case has announced he will exit the company effective January 1, 2005. He will increase focus on his own consultancy, starting this September.

The FCC has accepted for filing, application to move KMCQ-FM 104.5 The Dalles OR to Covington WA.

Seattle police are looking for radio listeners who allegedly assaulted syndicated shock jock Tom Leykis outside a Seattle bar early Monday. Leykis said yesterday that the attack left him with 17 stitches above his right eye. His call-in show originates in Los Angeles and airs afternoons on Seattle’s KQBZ-FM (100.7).
Reached by phone in Los Angeles, Leykis said the attack occurred during one of his regular trips to broadcast from Seattle, where for several years he’s maintained a large fan base. Leykis said he had stepped outside of the Five Point Cafe, 415 Cedar St., near Fisher Plaza, about 3:45 a.m. when a man began talking to him and another kicked him in the head. “I was minding my own business. It was a person who knew who I was from the radio.”


Rusty Humphries, who returned to Seattle to do a local talk show in the KVI-AM (570) slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh’s move to another station, is giving up the 9 a.m.-noon weekday program. KVI program director Paul Duckworth said the three-hour local show and a three-hour nationally syndicated show (carried on 250 stations), as well as a weekend show, proved too grueling, so Humphries will concentrate on the national show.
KVI is moving Fox News commentator Tony Snow’s program into Humphries’ morning slot. Duckworth says Snow’s show will continue in its current 6-9 p.m. weekday slot as well, although a change is planned for that segment.

The Seattle Symphony announced this week a deal with WFMT Radio Network in Chicago for 13 two-hour broadcasts weekly from October through December. Locally, KING-FM (98.1) plans to split each broadcast to run over three nights a week, running after 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The broadcasts will be drawn from Seattle Symphony performances from the past four years, with introductions from conductor Gerard Schwarz. The sponsor is Lilly Icos, the joint venture that markets the drug Cialis. Symphony spokeswoman Mary Langholz said WFMT Radio Network has so far signed up 115 stations to carry the broadcasts.

Tom Clendening returns to Entercom talk stations KIRO-AM and KTTH-AM. Clendening headed Entercom’s three talk stations (including KQBZ-FM, which isn’t in his portfolio this time) from 1994 to 1998; an Entercom release says Clendening’s moves in that period include hiring Dori Monson and Mike Webb as hosts, launching talk on FM with The Buzz, moving Dave Ross to the morning slot and hiring Jane Shannon and Val Stouffer as news anchors. He said he has no immediate plans for changes in the stations.

KIRO AM 710 Seattle talk show host Brian Maloney has been fired for what he claims is criticism of CBS newsman Dan Rather.
KIRO-AM’s general manager disputed allegations that the weekly “Brian Maloney Show” was canceled because of comments Maloney made about CBS newsman Dan Rather. Maloney said Saturday that he was fired for criticizing Rather’s handling of challenges to the credibility of memos aired on “60 Minutes II” about President Bush’s National Guard service. Station manager Ken Berry said that wasn’t the issue.
“The primary reason Brian Maloney’s show was canceled is because KIRO’s broadcasts of the Seattle Seahawks football games significantly reduces our Sunday talk lineup, and we felt the remaining time slots would be better filled by other hosts.” Maloney’s show aired for three years on the station, a CBS affiliate.

Margo Myers is finished with those 2:15 a.m. wake-up calls. After six years of anchoring KOMO/4′s weekday morning newscast, she gave notice on Wednesday. By yesterday morning, she was out of Fisher Plaza. That’s less of a shocker than the news of where Myers is going. In early 2005, Myers will become anchor of KIRO/7 10 o’clock newscast on KSTW/11, currently helmed by Kristy Lee and Steve Raible.

Former Q13 KCPQ-TV/13 Tacoma news anchor Leslie Miller, who left the station last May, will join ABC-TV/7 Los Angeles on November 1 as a reporter and fill-in anchor.


Ancil Payne, who presided over the rise of Seattle’s King Broadcasting to a profitable and prize-winning media empire, died at age 83. The cause of his death was unknown, but in recent years he had battled cancer, said B.J. Paine, a longtime colleague at KING-TV. Mr. Payne spent more than 30 years in broadcasting, most of it directing KING-TV from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, when the station was nationally recognized for its bold, professional approach to television journalism.

Washington state Republicans have filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against Democratic congressional candidate Dave Ross and KIRO AM 710 Seattle for using the Dave Ross Show to promote his candidacy.

Veteran KIRO AM 710 and KTTH AM 770 Seattle programmer/manager Ken Berry says he will leave the stations on October 10th, take some time off and return to the market in “three or four months”.

Carmen Ainsworth, a former KOMO reporter, will co-anchor “Q13 Fox News This Morning” with Bill Wixey and Lily Jang. Ainsworth worked at KOMO from 1993 to 1997 before moving to Northwest Cable News as a weekend anchor. She returns to Seattle from WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Mo., where she was an evening anchor.

Meanwhile, meteorologist Monty Webb has left Q13 and will be replaced by Walter Kelly, who moves from mornings to “Q13 Fox News @ 10″. Weekend meteorologist MJ McDermott will take over Kelly’s morning gig.

Rounding out the weather team is new hire Mark Coleman, a Seattle native whom viewers may recognize from KING-TV and Northwest Cable News.

Coleman will replace McDermott as weekend meteorologist on “Q13 Fox News @ 10″.

HarperPhil Phil Harper, who brought a distinctive voice and unscripted personality to radio gigs ranging from jazz and country music hosting to advertisements to playing a detective in dramas, died at the age of 64 from complications related to diabetes and heart disease.
Harper would have been well-known for no other reason than the length and breadth of his career locally. At the time of his death, he was juggling a regular weekday afternoon shift as “Buffalo Phil” on KYCW-AM, a classic country station, being the promotional “voice” of jazz station KPLU-FM and performing the role of Harry Nile in the long-running series of radio dramas. He had also been the morning host of
KMPS-FM when it became a country station nearly 30 years ago and had a long career doing radio ommercials. He worked as a disc jockey at stations in Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon before moving to Seattle in 1974, snagging a job at KING-AM playing rock ‘n’ roll.
Right about that time, Jim French sat down and wrote the first Adventure of Harry Nile, and Mr. Harper’s most enduring role was born.

Seattle Mariners’ affiliate Everett AquaSox has announced agreement with NorthSound 1380 KRKO AM Everett to broadcast all 76 AquaSox home and away games for the 2005 baseball season.

Air America Radio is coming to Seattle on what is now Classic Country 1090 KYCW AM with a switch to Progressive Talk Radio. This will be the second time KYCW has moved to talk. The previous change was to Extreme Talk in August 2001 with a move back to country in May 2002. KYCW will be KPTK, Seattle’s new home for the liberal Air America Radio. Air America’s Web site listed 36 local affiliates and XM and Sirius satellite radio, which carry its programming along with its Internet broadcast.

KPTK’s owner, Infinity Broadcasting, didn’t have much to lose by switching formats from the low-rated “classic country” to “progressive talk,” said Dave McDonald, senior vice president and general manager of Infinity Radio Seattle.

Meanwhile, the popular Music with Moskowitz, displaced by the format flip, can be heard Saturday afternoons on community radio KSER FM 90.7 Everett.

The FCC has granted a Modification of Construction Permit for KMNT-FM 102.9 Centralia for transmitter relocation with 70 kW ERP When facilities are completed, the station’s 60 dBu service contour will extend into the southwestern portion of Seattle.

KOMO-TV/4 Seattle has announced that it will add First News @ 4 weekdays from 4-5 p.m. starting Monday, November 1. Kathi Goertzen will anchor.

Democrat and long time KIRO AM 710 Seattle talk show host Dave Ross has conceded his 8th Congressional District race. Ross began hosting a talk show on KIRO in 1987 and moved to mornings in 1995. He also has done commentaries for the CBS radio network.


The FCC has accepted for filing, applications for voluntary assignment of license from Entercom Longview License, LLC to Bicoastal Longview, LLC for the following stations: KRQT-FM 107.1 Castle Rock, KBAM AM 1270, KEDO AM 1400, KRQT-FM1 107.1 Longview and KLYK-FM 94.5 Kelso.

The FCC also accepted for filing is transfer of control of KCTS-TV/9 Seattle from KCTS Association to KCTS Television Board of Directors … and applications for license to cover for KXPB-LP 89.1 Pacific Beach and KGHO-LP 94.3 Aberdeen.

The FCC has granted assignment of license for KNWX AM 1210 Auburn-Federal Way from Entercom Seattle License, LLC to Bustos Media of Washington, LLC. Plans are to convert the station from business and investing programs to a Spanish-language format.
KNWX will become KDDS-AM, the call letters a play on Bustos’ “LaGrand D” format of contemporary regional Mexican music it has used in stations it owns in Portland and Salt Lake City.
KNWX began moving from all news to business talk in 1998 back when it was at 770 on the AM dial. At the time there was another station with the format, KEZX-AM (1150), which that same year switched to classic soul and R&B music (and later changed yet again to a mishmash of talk shows and CNN news). Entercom later moved KNWX’s call letters and format to 1210 to make room for KTTH’s political talk format.


The Washington State Association of Broadcasters has named Dave Niehaus, the Voice of the Seattle Mariners since 1977, as its 2004 Broadcaster of the Year.

The FCC has approved voluntary transfer of control of KCTS-TV/9 Seattle from KCTS Association to KCTS Television Board of Directors.

Phil Harper, who died in October, played the role of the detective in 157 Harry Nile episodes on Jim French’s long-running drama series, currently known as “Imagination Theatre.”
French has announced that Larry Albert, who has appeared in other “Imagination Theatre” dramas, has been chosen to fill the role. Albert won’t try to imitate Harper’s voice or style, French says.

In Tacoma, Gisela Rasmussen-Johnson, host of “Gisela’s Original German Hour” since 1958, plays carols that have earned her several generations of fans. Now in her 70s, she said the music helps quell the homesickness she’s felt since leaving Germany as a child. But keeping the German Hour going is a challenge because there are no ready-made successors — or a paycheck — for the job. [KXPA Bellevue]

Veteran newscaster Tony Ventrella is on the move again, departing KCPQ after more than two years. He said yesterday he expects to leave Q13 sometime in January.

“I am doing some new things, and frankly, I’m not sure which of the new things I’m going to do yet,” Ventrella said. “I’ll certainly do more motivational speaking, a lot more writing. … I may do some radio. There’s a whole new world out there.”

Ventrella, 60, said he probably will not do much television. Ventrella, a former sports director for KIRO, has worked at every news affiliate in Seattle since arriving here in 1981.

Q13 news director Bill Kaczaraba told staff Ventrella was leaving “to pursue a variety of opportunities in broadcasting and politics.”

“We wish him the best,” Kaczaraba said.

Ventrella joined Q13 in August 2002 as co-anchor of “Q13 Fox News This Morning.” He has since contributed to “Q It Up Sports” reports as well as hosting the weekly program, “Tony Ventrella Tonight.”

Website Update


Some SEATACMEDIA readers have contributed information, pictures, audio etc., as well as being initial contributors to our BUDGET FUND.

Mike Barer, admin of BARERS OF MAPLE VALLEY has also provided information to us from time to time. Much appreciated!

A large portion, probably more than half of the TALENT bios at SEATACMEDIA, have been provided by BRIAN LORD. [pictured here]

[Modifications to the website continue. Some elements may not be available until all updates have been completed.]

Talent K-M

A-C | D-F | G-J | K-M | N-R | S-Z Here we will post [& update] on the whereabouts of some of Seattle Radio’s finest. Have you wondered WHATEVER HAPPENED TO…? or WHERE IS so & so working these days…? — Send us email if you have an update on any personalities from Puget Sound radio/TV. Thank you for […]

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