KISN (Portland)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
CityVancouver, Washington
Broadcast areaPortland, Oregon
Branding91-derful KISN, Yours Truly KISN, The Mighty 91
Frequency910 kHz
First air date1939 as KVAN (at 880 kHz until 1941); 5/1/1959 as KISN
Last air dateSeptember 2, 1976
FormatTop 40
Power5,000 watts directional
Callsign meaningKissin'
Former callsignsKVAN
OwnerDon W. Burden
(Star Broadcasting)
Sister stationsKOIL Omaha, WIFE Indianapolis

KISN was an AM radio station licensed for Vancouver, Washington but based in Portland, Oregon,[1] broadcasting on 910 kHz and licensed for 5,000 directional watts. During the 1960s and early 1970s, KISN was not only the number one rated rock station in the market (the station followed a Top 50 playlist),[2] but at times also rated as Portland's most popular radio station. Originally KVAN, it flipped format to Top 40 and became KISN from 1959 until 1976, when the FCC forced it to shut down.[3]


KVAN came on the air in 1939 on 880 kHz and moved to 910 kHz in 1941, owned by Sheldon F. Sackett; by 1958 it was licensed for 1,000 watts[1][4] and was co-owned with KVAN-TV, a TV station under construction for channel 21.[5]

When KVAN was a country and western station in the early 1950s, Willie Nelson was one of the DJs. He financed his own first single, "No Place for Me"; the record was backed with "Lumberjack" written by Leon Payne, who was also a DJ. KVAN was sold by Sheldon F. Sackett to Don W. Burden, and control transferred to Burden's company, Star Broadcasting, Inc.[1]

KISN started broadcasting at 6 a.m. on May 1, 1959.[1] In the previous 24 hours before its incarnation, the station continuously played "Teenage Bill of Rights" by Robby John and the Seven-Teens, which featured the words "Should we start a revolution? (Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)". The new station continued broadcasting from above a furniture store in Vancouver until its "KISN Corner" studio at West Burnside and 10th Streets in Portland started service at 6 a.m. on November 28, 1959. Though the FCC continued to recognize the station as being located in Vancouver,[1][3] the original transmitter was actually located in North Portland at Smith Lake. It was later relocated to 4615 NE 158th Avenue east of the Portland International Airport with power increased to 5,000 directional watts.

Within one year after beginning operations, KISN was Portland's top-rated station. During one rating book in 1963, the station held 86% of the audience.[3] Their promotions included a billboard at the airport exit proclaiming "While you've been away, we've been KISN your wife!"[6] Among the many station jingles used was "Yours truly KISN radio." Later jingles included "The Mighty 91", "Good Guy Territory", and the short-lived "Have a happy day!"[1]

KISN also offered Portland the unique KISN Carol Tree, with red, blue, and green bulbs which flashed to the music being played, and the KISN Aerocar, a unique combination car and plane used for traffic reports.

The station had numerous problems with the Federal Communications Commission over the years, including problems with city of license identification and the studio location, which was mostly caused by Burden's trying to associate KISN as more of a station connected to Portland rather than to Vancouver.[1] Kisn Corner was considered a remote studio. Overnight and weekend programming, plus some weekday newscasts, usually took place at the transmitter.[1]

In 1970, following a complaint from disgruntled former disc jockey Paul Oscar Anderson, the FCC refused to renew Star Broadcasting's broadcast licenses, citing the station's political partisanship in the U.S. Senate campaign of Mark Hatfield. Although it agreed to issue the licenses in 1973, the FCC refused renewal again in 1975.[1][3] After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case in May 1976, the FCC denied KISN's request to stay on the air, and the FCC was on hand to ensure that KISN was taken off the air at the end of September 2, 1976, going so far as to require that the station broadcast their final program directly from the transmitter site.[1] Star stations in Omaha and Indianapolis also went off the air.

After evening air personality Dave "Records" Stone said "Good night from the KISN Good Guys", the station was not even allowed to complete its last song, the Supremes "Someday We'll Be Together", going silent at 12:01 AM PDT.[7]

Famous KISN On-Air Personalities[edit]

Several well-known radio personalities passed through the KISN studios[1][8] including "The Real" Don Steele, who in 1964 ran a presidential campaign from Portland's Steel Bridge wearing an Uncle Sam costume, Tiger Tom Murphy, later known as The World Famous Tom Murphy, who usually handled evenings, Mike Phillips, who later programmed stations in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Ken Chase, who owned a nightclub called The Chase and was also the manager of its house band, The Kingsmen, Roger Hart, who managed Paul Revere and the Raiders, One-time KPTV personality Robert (Bob) Atkins, working under the pseudonym "Addie Bopkins", Australian-born Rod "Kangaroo" Muir, who would later launch Australia's Triple M Network, Tom Michaels, long-time spokesman for Fred Meyer stores, Roger W. Morgan, Buddy Scott, Newsmen Bill Howlett, Whitey Coker, William R. Hatch, and Bob Noonan, Steve Randall, Jeff Michaels, who would later anchor news with ABC Radio, Dave "Records" Stone, and Pat Pattee, all-night personality from 1962 to the end. All of his shows were broadcast from the transmitter.

Other KVANs and KISNs, competitors and revivals[edit]

1550 kHz, also at Vancouver, Washington, carried the KVAN callsigns at least three more times: For a few years in the late 1960s (pre-dating KINK's FM stereo rock station), KVAN played rock album cuts (the area's first station to have an album-oriented rock format) and introduced the area to the more serious American and British hard rock groups that didn't fit into the KISN format. It reappeared again from 1981 to 1989 and 1991 to 2003, and is now KKOV. 106.5 KLMI at Rock River, Wyoming was KVAN (FM) for a few months in 2005. Since 2006, KVAN has been 1560 kHz at Burbank, Washington. KVAN-FM has been using its callsign from 2007 to 2010 for 92.1 MHz at Pilot Rock, Oregon.[9]

In the mid-late 1960s, a rival rock-pop station, KGAR, moved into an adjacent corner of the same Portland intersection that KISN was located at. After a few years at the attempt, KGAR failed to garner enough of KISN's local audience to post any significant ratings. KGAR eventually moved to Vancouver, Washington for a year or so, then disappeared altogether. An attempt to revive the station in Vancouver during the late 1970s initially with a country format, ultimately proved unsuccessful.

Other KISNs[edit]

CityPortland, Oregon
Broadcast areaPortland, Oregon
Branding97.1 KISN-FM
SloganPortland's Fun Oldies Station; The station you can sing along with
Frequency97.1 MHz
First air date1988
Last air date2005
Callsign meaningKissin'
Sister stationsKKSN/910 (currently KMTT)

In 1988, KKSN-FM, 97.1 MHz at Portland, Oregon, started broadcasting golden oldies with the same "kissin'" pronunciation of the station name. Dave "Records" Stone, the last of the original KISN disc jockeys, broadcast a Saturday specialty oldies program that included air checks from the original station plus unlimited presentations of "forgotten 45s" by his friend and assistant, Dirty Dave the Record Slave. The FM station (now KYCH-FM) changed to an adult hits format in 2005. The oldies format would return to the AM station until its final demise in 2007. The last moments of Stone's original 1976 farewell - "Good Night, from the KISN Good Guys!" - was used to close this station.[3]

The 910 kHz frequency at Vancouver, Washington was reused by another station (KKSN)[7] starting around August 1980,[citation needed] identifying itself as KISN and playing an oldies format. That station has had various call signs, briefly regaining the KKSN moniker in 2005 before it became KTRO in 2007.

The call letters KISN were later issued to two different stations (now known as KZHT and KNRS (AM)) in Salt Lake City, and then to the current KISN (FM) at Belgrade, Montana.[10][11][12]

Internet revival project[edit]

In Spring 2009, surviving staff members celebrated 50 years since KISN first went on the air. Stone (also known as Dave Rogaway) would continue to document KISN and Portland history through his Web site, "The Stumptown Blogger". On January 1, 2010, Stone announced plans to revive KISN. His efforts and those of good friend "Dirty Dave the Record Slave," station historian Craig Adams, and technician Scott Young would lead to KISN returning as an online audio stream. Officially titled the "KISN Good Guys" and located at, the new KISN featured the voices of some of the original station's more popular personalities including Morgan, Murphy, Hart, Stone, and Pattee, plus Major Logan, Adams, Randall, Jim Cassidy, and newsman William R. Hatch.

The stream began operation at 7:00 p.m. PST on February 24, 2012.[13] The "oldies" format featured the record collection of "Dirty Dave," said to number over 100,000.[13] As was noted throughout the broadcast day, the stream did not follow a limited playlist. Within weeks, the revived "KISN" had accumulated thousands of listeners not just in the Vancouver/Portland market, but had gained listeners from all over the world.

On August 14, 2014, the project was officially discontinued, though the stream continued operating for several days afterward.[14][15]

Low-power FM revival[edit]

CityPortland, Oregon
Broadcast areaPortland, Oregon
Branding95.1'derful KISN, 91-derful KISN, Yours Truly KISN, The Mighty 95.1, The Mighty 91
SloganPortland's "Real Oldies" Station
Frequency95.1 MHz
First air dateMay 1, 2015
ERP2 watts
HAAT280 meters (920 ft)
Facility ID195134
Callsign meaningKissin'
OwnerWestern Oregon Radio Club, Inc.
Sister stationsKQRZ-LP 100.7 MHz Hillsboro, Oregon

Following the discontinued operation of the KISN internet stream, Scott Young contacted Ken Seymour of the Western Oregon Radio Club (WORC) to explore opportunities for joining forces to resurrect KISN radio. The WORC recently received a Construction Permit issued by the FCC to build a new low-power, non-commercial radio station assigned to Portland on 95.1 FM. The WORC, led by President Ron Polluconi and club member Ken Seymour, were planning to move the club's existing radio station, KQSO-LP, from Newberg, Oregon to Portland's Mount Scott. On August 26, 2014, the WORC installed the transmit antenna for 95.1 on a tower located in a communications compound on Mt. Scott.

On October 21, 2014, Ken Seymour successfully negotiated use of the KISN call sign from the licensee of the current KISN radio station located near Bozeman, Montana. Subsequently, a press release was issued on November 28, 2014 where Ron Polluconi announced that "finally after 38 years the KISN call sign and radio signal will return to Portland via the FM airwaves". On May 1, 2015, at 9:51 a.m. KISN-LP commenced broadcasting 24 hours a day 56 years later to the day when the original KISN launched in 1959.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gerald Gaule (ed.). "KISN AM 91-wonderful Tribute Page (1959-76)". Archived from the original on 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  2. ^ -selected KISN Top 50 surveys from 1966–1970
  3. ^ a b c d e Stanford, Phil (February 27, 2007). "Time to kiss KISN goodbye, again". Portland Tribune. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "Radio Stations" (PDF). Broadcasting Yearbook (1958 ed.). Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. p. A-392.
  5. ^ "Tv Stations" (PDF). Broadcasting Yearbook (1958 ed.). Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. p. A-120.
  6. ^ "Old Seattle Radio Saturday: "we've been kisn your wife"". BlatherWatch. December 5, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^ "FCCInfo Search Results: 5 Records Formerly Holding Call Sign KVAN". Manassas, Virginia: Cavell Mertz & Associates, Inc. 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2009-06-14.
  10. ^ "Search by Old Broadcast Call Sign (since 1980)". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  11. ^ "Jacor plans to exchange S.L.'s K-Buck for KISN-AM". The Deseret News. August 21, 1997. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  12. ^ "Get ready, reset". The Deseret News. December 26, 2003. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Vondersmith, Jason (February 22, 2012). "Some Day We'll Be Together: A band of old rock 'n' roll deejays warms up the vinyl to turn KISN AM loose on the Web". Portland Tribune. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  14. ^ "KISN Goodguys", archive, [1]
  15. ^ "KISN Goodguys", archive, [2]

External links[edit]