|Broadcast area||Seattle metropolitan area|
|Frequency||1090 kHz (HD Radio)|
|Slogan||Home of Dan Patrick in Mornings and the Seattle Thunderbirds|
|Affiliations||CBS Sports Radio|
Fox Sports Radio
(iHM Licenses, LLC)
|KBKS-FM, KHHO, KJAQ, KJR, KJR-FM, KUBE, KZOK-FM|
First air date
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|K FaN Q (previous branding)|
|Webcast||Listen live (via iHeartRadio)|
KFNQ (1090 AM) is a commercial radio station in Seattle, Washington. It airs a sports radio format and is owned by iHeartMedia. KFNQ carries programming from Fox Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio as a brand extension of sister station AM 950 KJR. The studios and offices are in the Belltown neighborhood northwest of Downtown Seattle.
KFNQ is powered at 50,000 watts, the maximum for AM stations in the U.S., and is a Class B station. Because AM 1090 is a clear-channel frequency reserved for Class A KAAY Little Rock, WBAL Baltimore and XEPRS Rosarito-Tijuana, KFNQ must use a directional antenna at all times to avoid interference. The transmitter is off Dockton Road SW on Vashon Island. KFNQ also airs on the HD3 sub-channel of co-owned KJAQ 96.5 FM.
In 1927, the station first signed on the air as KGBS. The station is considered the third oldest radio station in Seattle, the first being KJR, which began broadcasting in 1922, and the second being KOMO, which began in 1926. KIRO began broadcasting later in 1927.
The call letters became KEEN in 1936 and KEVR in 1940. When the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) took effect in 1941, KEVR moved to 1090 kHz. It got a boost to 250 watts, but still only a fraction of its current output. In the early 1940s, the station was owned by the Evergreen Broadcasting Company, with its studios still in Smith Tower.
In 1947, broadcasting pioneer Dorothy Bullitt bought KEVR and almost immediately asked for permission to change the call letters to KING (for King County, Washington). Bullitt was a rare female executive in the male-dominated broadcasting industry. After Bullitt bought the call sign from a merchant ship, the FCC granted the request to flip to KING a few months later. Bullitt incorporated her broadcast holdings as King Broadcasting Company.
In 1948, King Broadcasting acquired Channel 5 KRSC-TV and 98.1 KRSC-FM, changing their call letters to KING-TV and KING-FM. Channel 5 had only been on the air eight months before King Broadcasting took it over. KING-FM first signed on in 1947. After initially simulcasting 1090 KING, KING-FM began adding classical music in the evening and eventually classical became its full time format.
Under the Bullitts' watch, the once-small station 1090 KING became a powerhouse in Seattle. In the 1950s and 60s, it was known as the "Mighty 10-90." It featured legendary radio personalities such as Frosty Fowler, Ray Court, Mark Wayne, Buzz Lawrence, and late night talk with Irving Clark's Clark on King. The station was an NBC Radio Network affiliate. Its local news often used KING-TV anchors. The format of music was Middle of the Road (MOR), but also mixed in jazz, bossa nova and some swing. When compared to its chief rival 950 KJR, KING had a light-hearted and upbeat direction, an opposition to KJR's more hip direction, but not being as staid as KIRO. Some late '60s personalities defected to KIRO. Bob and Jim, a duo team, was brought in from KREM in Spokane, and personality Larry Nelson came aboard from 1000 KOMO.
Top 40 era
During the 1970s, the station flipped to Contemporary - Top 40 music and changed monikers to "Musicradio 11 KING." This put it in close competition with 950 KJR. The line-up at the time included such Seattle radio personalities as Gary Lockwood (who later defected to KJR) and Bruce Murdock, with the Murdock in the Morning Show. (Murdock later moved to 92.5 KLSY.)
When KJR unveiled its yellow "Sunshine" window sticker, KING followed with its own red "Sunburst" sticker. KING-AM-FM-TV were located in studios on Aurora Avenue in Seattle.
In April 1980, KING experienced a major change. As AM music radio lost younger listeners to FM, KING gave up on Top 40 and flipped to Soft Adult Contemporary, while retaining the "Musicradio 11 KING" moniker. KING's slogan was "Soft Rock and More". The station's tagline used in advertising was "You grew up with us, now we've grown up for you".
Talk and All-News
On October 4, 1982, at 4 a.m., KING switched to a talk radio format, mostly with local personalities. It was branded simply as "KING NewsTalk 1090". Personalities included Jim Althoff, Carl Dombek, Jeff Ray, Randy Rowland, Freddy Mertz, Mike Siegel, Candace Siegel (no relation) and Pat Cashman. This format produced moderately high ratings, though never as successful as the Top 40 format had been.
On September 2, 1994, at Noon, the station fired all on-air personalities and switched to an all-news radio format. The station carried programming from the AP News radio service "All News Radio."
In February 1995, the Bullitts sold 1090 KING to Bonneville, the commercial broadcasting arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based in Salt Lake City. (The family had already sold KING-TV to the Providence Journal Company in 1991.) Bonneville in turn sold KING-AM-FM to EZ Communications later that year. The FM station was then sold by EZ to a non-profit organization that pledged to continue its Classical music format as a non-commercial, listener-supported station. The TV and FM stations retained the KING call sign. But for the AM station, the long-running KING call letters were dropped for KINF, then KKNG shortly after, followed by KNWX.
In November 1995, the station swapped formats (but not call letters) with 770 KULL (which was simulcasting country music station 106.1 KRPM). 1090 became KRPM-AM, an AM simulcast for KRPM-FM/KCIN (now KBKS-FM). The simulcast continued after KCIN's flip to Rhythmic AC in March 1996, as well as the shift to Top 40 (CHR) in May 1997. (EZ merged with American Radio Systems in July 1997; subsequently, Westinghouse/CBS bought American Radio Systems' stations (including KRPM) on September 19, 1997. In June 1998, CBS split off the radio division under the revived Infinity Broadcasting name, which would be renamed CBS Radio in December 2005.)
The simulcasting stopped on February 1, 1999, and 1090 flipped to a locally programmed Classic Country format with a simulcast of the morning show on sister KMPS-FM. At that time, 1090's call letters became KMPS, and then KYCW. The station began broadcasting in AM Stereo in March 2001.
Hot talk/back to Classic country/Progressive talk
Beginning August 4, 2001, the station ran announcements promoting a new format that advised listeners to "listen at their own risk". At 5 a.m. on Monday, August 6, the station flipped to hot talk as "Extreme Radio 1090" featuring Bob Rivers' Twisted Radio in mornings (simulcast from KZOK-FM). After morning drive time, the station aired nationally syndicated shows from Jim Rome, Ron and Fez, Opie & Anthony, Don and Mike and Phil Hendrie.
On weekends, the station carried sports programming from Sporting News Radio (now SB Nation). The station's ratings were abysmal, usually peaking at a 0.4 share. KYCW returned to classic country at 11 p.m. on May 19, 2002. The station's second version of the classic country format included the return of personalities previously heard the first time, including "Tall" Paul Fredericks from 5-9 AM, Mike Preston from 9-noon, PD Becky Brenner from Noon-3 PM, "Buffalo" Phil Harper from 3-7 PM, and Sheldon Smith from 7-Midnight. The station, however, still had low ratings, usually peaking at a 1.3.
On October 25, 2004, at Midnight, the station flipped to progressive talk and changed its call sign to KPTK days later. During its tenure as "Seattle's Progressive Talk," KPTK carried syndicated progressive/liberal talk programs hosted by personalities such as Ed Schultz, Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Norman Goldman, Rachel Maddow, Stephanie Miller, Leslie Marshall, and Bill Press. KPTK was also the flagship station of Air America Radio's Ron Reagan Show. Beginning in 2011, KPTK became the flagship station of Seattle Storm and Seattle Thunderbirds broadcasts, though it was met with some controversy. The station's weekend programming included a mix of specialty syndicated and local programs, such as The Ric Edelman Show (a financial advice show), Ring of Fire, Democracy Now!, Swirl Radio (a show targeting the LGBT community), Community Matters with CBS Seattle's director of public affairs and morning traffic reporter Lee Callahan, Gardening In the Northwest with Scott Conner, The Tina and Drew Show, and Crash Talk with Mike Harber.
In July 2012, CBS and Cumulus Media announced a new sports radio network dubbed "CBS Sports Radio" to be launched in January 2013. The initial affiliate list that carried the network's full lineup included most of CBS Owned and Operated low-performing AM stations, while others were CBS-owned sports stations that would carry certain programs and hourly "CBS Sports Minute" updates. After much speculation, on November 14, 2012, CBS announced that KPTK would flip to the new network on January 2, 2013, branded as "1090 The Fan." (This was further confirmed by the station changing call letters to KFNQ on the same day.)
This was met with much controversy on the station's Facebook page, as well as being brought up by several of the station's hosts. To please displaced listeners, Lakewood radio station KLAY (1180 AM) announced that it would carry Ed Schultz' and Stephanie Miller's programs after the station's flip, as well as KBCS (91.3 FM) picking up Thom Hartmann's program.
After the station's flip to all-sports, KFNQ aired a local afternoon show hosted by Steve Sandmeyer and Bill Swartz (later replaced by Jason Churchill). However, on July 11, 2015, the show was cancelled, resulting in KFNQ airing the entire CBS Sports Radio program lineup around the clock.
On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced its merger with Entercom (which locally owns KHTP, KISW, KKWF, and KNDD). On October 10, CBS Radio announced that as part of the process of obtaining regulatory approval of the merger, KFNQ would be one of sixteen stations to be divested by Entercom, along with KJAQ and KZOK. (KMPS-FM was retained by Entercom.)
On November 1, iHeartMedia announced its acquisition of KFNQ, KJAQ, and KZOK. To meet ownership limits set by the FCC, KFNY (formerly KFOO) and KTDD (formerly KUBE) were divested to the Ocean Stations Trust in order to be sold to a different owner. Until the completion of the divestment of KFNY and KTDD to the trust, CBS placed KFNQ, KJAQ, and KZOK into the Entercom Divestiture Trust. The merger of CBS and Entercom was approved on November 9, and was consummated on November 17. iHeart then began operating KFNQ under a local marketing agreement. The sale of KFNQ to iHeart was completed on December 19, 2017.
On February 8, 2018, the station relaunched as a brand extension of co-owned KJR. With the change, KFNQ added the syndicated Fox Sports Radio programs The Dan Patrick Show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and The Doug Gottlieb Show.
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- HD Radio Guide for Seattle-Tacoma Archived 2015-07-22 at the Wayback Machine
- "KING (KFNQ) history cards" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
- 1937 Seattle City Directory shows Gellermann, Vincent as "opr KVL Broadcasting Sta"
- Information from the Broadcasting Yearbook 1935 page 66
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1943 page 152
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- "Northwest Progressive Institute Archive: Air America Radio,Now in Seattle!".
- "Radio & Records, October 29, 2004" (PDF). worldradiohistory.com.
- FCC Internet Services Staff. "Call Sign History". licensing.fcc.gov.
- "Classic Country 1090 KYCW becomes Progressive Talk KPTK". Format Change Archive. 2005-01-20.
- Ron Reagan added as permanent Air America host, ltradio.blogspot.com
- KPTK Weekday Program Lineup
- KPTK Gets New Calls; To Join CBS Sports Radio
- CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
- Venta, Lance (October 10, 2017). "Entercom Narrows Down 16 Stations To Be Divested To Complete CBS Radio Merger". RadioInsight. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
- Entercom Trades Boston/Seattle Spin-Offs to iHeartMedia for Richmond/Chattanooga
- "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (December 10, 2017). "Alt 102.9 & KUBE 104.9 Tacoma To Flip Monday". RadioInsight. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
While iHeart has begun operating 1030 WBZ, 97.7 WKAF, and 100.7 WZLX in the Boston market and Sports "1090 The Fan" KFNQ Seattle via LMA…
- iHeart Begins Operating Remainder of Boston & Seattle Acquisitions
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. December 19, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (February 8, 2018). "iHeart Launches 1090 KJR and South Sound Talk 850 Seattle". RadioInsight. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
- Official website
- KFNQ in the FCC AM station database
- KFNQ on Radio-Locator
- KFNQ in Nielsen Audio's AM station database