KOMO (AM)

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KOMO
KOMO Newsradio logo
City of license Seattle, Washington
Broadcast area Seattle Metropolitan Area
Branding KOMO Newsradio
Slogan What happens next, happens here.
Frequency 1000 (kHz)
First air date 1926
Format All News
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Facility ID 21647
Transmitter coordinates 47°27′49″N 122°26′27″W / 47.46361°N 122.44083°W / 47.46361; -122.44083
Former callsigns KGFA (1926-?)
Former frequencies 980 kHz (1926-1941)
Affiliations ABC News Radio
Cumulus Media Networks
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
(Sinclair Radio of Seattle, LLC)
Sister stations KOMO-TV, KPLZ-FM, KVI
Webcast Listen Live
Website KOMO-AM 1000

KOMO (1000 AM) is a radio station based in Seattle, Washington. Its format is primarily news. From 2003 to 2008, it was also the flagship station of the Seattle Mariners Radio Network. A 50,000 watt clear-channel station, KOMO can be heard across much of the Western United States and as far north as Fort McMurray, Alberta at night. The station's studios and offices are co-located with former television partner KOMO-TV within Fisher Plaza in the Lower Queen Anne section of Seattle, directly across the street from the Space Needle and the transmitter is on Vashon Island.

History[edit]

In July 1926, KOMO was founded on Harbor Island as KGFA 980 by Birt F. Fisher, whose lease on Seattle radio station KTCL was about to run out, and the Fisher brothers of Fisher Flouring Mills (no relation), who had been on the island since 1911. In preparation for the switch to the new station, he changed KTCL's call letters to KOMO. In December, his lease ended, and he took the call letters with him to KGFA. KOMO 980's first broadcast was December 31, 1926. Studios moved to Downtown in 1927. The station also began a long-running affiliation with NBC that year as well, primarily with the Red Network, but also with the short-lived west coast Orange Network from 1931 to 1933. Over the following years, KOMO's frequency would go from 980 to 1080, back to 980, down to 920, up to 970, then back to 920, and settled at 950 after the NARBA frequency shakeup in 1941.

Fisher's Blend Station, owner of KOMO, bought NBC-Blue affiliate KJR from the network in 1941. In 1944, KOMO switched frequencies with KJR (then at 1000 kilocycles) and sold KJR off two years later. At its new frequency, KOMO began broadcasting with 50 kilowatts of power from its current transmitter site on Vashon Island in 1948. New studios at the corner of Fourth and Denny, near what is now the Seattle Center, were also inaugurated that year and included space for an expansion into television broadcasting.

KOMO Radio/TV's former broadcast facility photographed circa 1948-1959. Note the "NBC Affiliate" script on the facade.
KOMO-TV's former broadcast facility at the current site of Fisher Plaza, taken in March, 1995, near the intersection of 4th Avenue North and Denny Way. This building was completed in 1948, expanded in 1975, and demolished in 2000 to make way for building 2 of the Fisher Plaza complex.

In 1953, KOMO-TV took the air on Channel 4 as an NBC affiliate. Channel 4 swapped affiliations with KING-TV in 1958 and became an ABC station. KOMO radio followed suit the next year. By 1964, old-line network programming had been phased out and KOMO carried a MOR music format. Long-time morning drive personality Larry Nelson began in 1967. From 1967 to 1978, KOMO was the original flagship station of the Seattle SuperSonics of the National Basketball Association with Bob Blackburn on play-by-play. Norm Gregory, formerly of KJR and KZOK-FM, joined the staff as afternoon disk jockey in 1984. KOMO carried a full-service diet of music, personality, news and Washington Huskies sports well into the early '90s. Dayparts gradually changed from music to talk and by 1995, the conversion to news-talk was complete.

In January 1981, former FM Rock Programmer Ken Kohl joined the team at KOMO and put a fresh coat of paint on this gray lady of the Pacific Northwest. When Kohl arrived, the station had fallen from grace and its ratings languished in the middle of the pack. After building the station's news commitment and implementing KOMO's first major marketing effort, Kohl and his KOMO team inched to within a tenth of a point of market leader KIRO. In January 1987, Kohl departed Seattle for KFI/Los Angeles. For the next several years, KOMO unsuccessfully attempted to directly compete with market leader KIRO. Following an outcry from loyal fans following his firing at KIRO-FM ("The Buzz 100.7") in 1999, local comedian Pat Cashman took over as morning-drive host. In late 2002, Fisher Communications announced a six-year contract for Seattle Mariners play-by-play rumored to be worth at least $10 million annually, a record for any Major League Baseball radio broadcast agreement. To shore up the surrounding broadcast schedule, KOMO dropped its talk shows and became an all-news station with reports from an enlarged radio news staff and material from KOMO-TV newscasts. Some notable anchors include Bill Yeend, Manda Factor, Brian Calvert (who also works as a reporter and weathercaster on KOMO-TV), Lisa Brooks, Bill Rice, Art Sanders, and Nancy Barrick.

It was announced on May 11, 2009 that KOMO will be simulcast on KFMY, an FM station in Oakville, starting on May 15, 2009. The station is now known as "KOMO Newsradio." [1] KFMY changed its call letters to KOMO-FM in August 2009 to reflect the new ownership of the station and the simulcast. The move was made to improve KOMO's daytime coverage in the southern part of the market. Fisher Broadcasting has stated that there are currently no plans to move KOMO Newsradio to the FM band only, as Bonneville did with KIRO earlier in the year.

On April 11, 2013, after 87 years of owning the station, Fisher Communications announced that it would sell its properties, including KOMO, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[2] Although Sinclair primarily owns television stations, the company intends to retain KOMO and Fisher's two other Seattle radio stations, KVI and KPLZ-FM.[3] The deal was completed on August 8, 2013.[4] Two months after the sale, several radio employees were laid off as part of general cutbacks by Sinclair at most of the stations they acquired from Fisher.[5]

Marketing[edit]

Slogans[edit]

Early 1970s: "From Vancouver (B.C., Canada) to Vancouver (Washington) and from the Olympics to the Cascades, this is KOMO Radio 1000!"

(also) "You're in KOMO Country". Slogan was used with a heavily orchestrated instrumental jingle package from a Canadian studio. The package was called "Big Timber", and was commissioned exclusively for KOMO.

Early 1980s: "A taste of what you're living for, KOMO AM 1000, Seattle!"

Early 1990s: "The station you depend on!"

2002-2005, 2006-2007: "First For Local News, Traffic and Weather." Similar to KOMO-TV's past slogan of "First 4 Local News."

2005-2006: "The commuter's best friend."

2007-2009: "The Northwest's News, Traffic and Weather Station."

2009–present: "Everything you need to know."

2011-2012: "Western Washington's News, Traffic and Weather Station."

2012-present: "What happens next, happens here."

Television advertising[edit]

KOMO regularly advertises on Seattle-area TV stations, including both KOMO-TV and competing stations. KIRO-TV and KING-TV apparently have no issue with accepting advertising for a radio station owned by the same company that owns Channel 4, but do take issue with the use of the "KOMO" call sign as an implicit promotion of KOMO-TV. The radio station instead promotes itself as "AM 1000" in ads on KIRO and KING. Some such ads make tongue-in-cheek references to the restriction.[6]

Logos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ KOMO Newsradio to be heard on FM and AM
  2. ^ Malone, Michael (April 11, 2013). "Sinclair to Acquire Fisher Stations for $373 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ Allison, Melissa (April 11, 2013). "KOMO owner Fisher Communications agrees to sale". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Sinclair Broadcast Group Closes On Fisher Communications Acquisition". All Access. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Stiles, Marc (22 October 2013). "KOMO not commenting on reported layoffs of nearly 20 staff members". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  6. ^ KOMO "AM 1000" ad on YouTube

External links[edit]