|City of license||Seattle, Washington|
|Broadcast area||Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area|
|Slogan||The Best Mix of Everything|
|Frequency||101.5 MHz FM|
|First air date||1959 (as KETO)|
|Format||Adult Top 40|
|Callsign meaning||K-Plus (former handle)|
|Former callsigns||KETO (1959-1976)
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(Sinclair Radio of Seattle Licensee, LLC)
KPLZ-FM (101.5 FM) is a commercial radio station located in Seattle, Washington. KPLZ-FM airs an adult top 40 music format branded as "Star 101.5". KPLZ broadcasts on a frequency of 101.5 mHz with an ERP of 100,000 watts through a transmitter located on Cougar Mountain, while its 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.
During the 1970s, AM radio dominated the Seattle airwaves. The major country station was KAYO 1150. Top-40 stations in the city included KOL-AM, which became country station KMPS-AM in the mid-1970s. In 1976, Seattle was a two-station battleground between KING-AM 1090 and the legendary KJR 950. When Golden West Broadcasters bought the station they decided to name the station KVI-FM or "The FM KVI", and go to a Top 40 format. The FM KVI's (101.5) first Program Director was Frank Colbourn, who relocated to Seattle from Monterey, CA to sign-on the new format. The FM KVI was Gene Autry's first Top-40 formatted music station. The first song played under the new format was "Beginnings" by Chicago. The new format quickly became very popular as AM music began to lose it's audience to the FM band. Colbourn lead the station to ratings successes, and earned the station twelve gold records from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Exile, and Donna Summer. However, there was some confusion between KVI am (talk format), and it's new Golden West Broadcasters sister station, The FM KVI. The station then, in 1978, became "K-Plus 101" and changed its call letters to KPLZ. This signaled the beginning of the end of contemporary music stations on Seattle AM radio.
In the late 1970s, while KJR and KING maintained mainstream Top-40 formats, "K-Plus" became the area's de facto disco music station. The death of disco combined with the sign-on of Top-40 upstart KBLE-FM ("The New 93") -- today's KUBE—signaled a tough ratings environment for KPLZ in the early 1980s, but under the leadership of Program Director Jeff King, and eventually Casey Keating, the station became the city's dominant Top-40 station during the late 1980s. KUBE struggled for a time, but ultimately adopted a Rhythmic CHR approach. KPLZ's ratings dropped while KUBE ascended the ratings ladder. In 1994, KPLZ finally gave up on Top-40 and became adult top 40 as "Star 101.5." The Kent and Alan morning team remained intact and continue on-air to this day.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and currently, KPLZ would be challenged by KRWM (Mainstream AC), KBKS-FM (Top 40), and KLSY (AC, but flipped to Adult Top 40 in 2002, only to flip to Rhythmic AC in 2006 as KQMV). Seattle would gain a second Hot AC in March 2012, when KLCK-FM flipped formats from alternative rock. KPLZ has a more rhythmic direction as compared to KLCK, which has an alternative slant.
On April 11, 2013, Fisher Communications announced that it would sell its properties, including KPLZ-FM, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Although Sinclair primarily owns television stations, the company intends to retain KPLZ, KVI, and KOMO. The deal was completed on August 8, 2013.
- Malone, Michael (April 11, 2013). "Sinclair to Acquire Fisher Stations for $373 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Allison, Melissa (April 11, 2013). "KOMO owner Fisher Communications agrees to sale". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- "Sinclair Broadcast Group Closes On Fisher Communications Acquisition". All Access. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KPLZ
- Radio-Locator information on KPLZ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KPLZ