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KISW Current Black Logo.png
CitySeattle, Washington
Broadcast areaSeattle metropolitan area
Frequency99.9 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding99.9 The Rock KISW
SloganThe Rock Of Seattle
FormatMainstream rock
HD2: Active rock
(Entercom License, LLC)
First air date
January 18, 1950; 70 years ago (1950-01-18)
Call sign meaning
K Independent State of Washington
Technical information
Facility ID47750
ERP68,000 watts
HAAT707 meters (2,320 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
47°30′13″N 121°58′33″W / 47.503722°N 121.975944°W / 47.503722; -121.975944
WebcastListen Live
HD2: Listen Live

KISW (99.9 FM) – branded 99.9 KISW, The Rock of Seattle – is a commercial mainstream rock radio station licensed to Seattle, Washington. Owned by Entercom, the station serves the Seattle metropolitan area; live shows include The Mens Room afternoon show and the BJ & Migs morning show. Other day parts include Ryan Castle (middays) and Taryn Daly (evenings). The KISW studios are located in Downtown Seattle, while the station transmitter resides on Tiger Mountain in the city of Issaquah. In addition to a standard analog transmission, KISW broadcasts over two HD Radio channels, and is available online via RADIO.COM.


On January 18, 1950, KISW first signed on the air.[1] The station's founder and first owner was Ellwood W. Lippincott, who programmed a classical music format. At first, the station was powered at 2,100 watts, a fraction of its current output. From 1954 to 1956, the station was managed by Harvey Manning.[2]

Lippencott, a resident of Centralia, Washington, worked as an electrical engineer for Weyerhaeuser. During the week, Lippincott's job required him to travel around the Pacific Northwest maintaining the company's radio equipment, and would spend his weekends managing the station.[3] Under Lippincott's ownership, KISW operated out of a small studio on the northwest corner of NE 92nd Street and Roosevelt Way NE in North Seattle. The building was demolished and replaced with townhouses in 2007.

In 1969, the station was purchased by Kaye-Smith, a partnership of famed entertainer Danny Kaye and businessman Lester Smith; at that time, Kaye-Smith were also the owners of the leading Top 40 station in Seattle, KJR,[4] and also owned Kaye-Smith Studios in Seattle, where records by Heart, Steve Miller and Bachman–Turner Overdrive were recorded. With Pat O'Day, the firm owned Concerts West, a booking and promotion company that handled Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, The Eagles, Paul McCartney and others, and were original owners of the Seattle Mariners.

With the purchase of KISW, Kaye-Smith decided to switch the station to a format more compatible with KJR. In 1971, KISW became a progressive rock (or "underground") station, similar to the format pioneered by Tom Donahue at KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco.[5] KOL-FM was also experimenting with free form rock at night. Over time, KISW moved to an album oriented rock format, by playing the best selling albums from the top rock acts. In 1982, Danny Kaye sold his interest in the company and the new corporation was called Alexander Broadcasting. In 1987, Nationwide Communications, a subsidiary of Nationwide Insurance, acquired KISW.[6] (Nationwide sold off its radio stations by 1997.)

In 1991, as an April Fool's Day prank, the radio station changed its format to soft rock for a day.[7] The station was bought by Entercom Communications in 1996.[8]

In August 2000, the popular "Twisted Radio" morning show led by Bob Rivers left KISW after 11 years to join rival KZOK-FM. KISW began airing Howard Stern's nationally syndicated show in March 2001 as a replacement. At the end of 2005, Stern moved to Sirius Satellite Radio. On January 3, 2006, The BJ Shea Morning Experience (originally from sister station KQBZ) replaced Stern. Over the years, the station has employed other popular personalities, including Gary Crow,[9] Steve West,[10] Robin and Maynard and Steve Slaton.[11]


BJ & Migs host mornings co-hosted by B.J. Shea and Steve Migs and their producing team, The Reverend En Fuego, Vicky B., Danny V., Ooh Sara, and Joey Deez. KISW is the originating station for The Mens Room in afternoon drive; hosted by Miles Montgomery, Steve "The Thrill" Hill, Thee Ted Smith and Mike Hawk, the show entered syndication on June 5, 2017 and was distributed by Westwood One Westwood One until June 2020.[12][13] Ryan Castle hosts middays, and Taryn Daly hosts evenings.

Weekend programming includes Loud & Local which highlights local music from the greater Seattle area, hosted by Kevin Diers.

The HD2 digital sub-channel broadcasts an active rock format under the brand "Metal Militia".[14][15]

On-Air Personalities[edit]

  • 1971-1975 Lee Michaels
  • 1972-1978 Steve Nicolet
  • 1971-1992 Steve Slaton
  • 1975-???? Tracy Mitchell
  • 1975-1979 Terry MacDonald
  • 1976-1978 Steve Spellman
  • 1977-1978 Brent Alberts
  • 1978-1983 Mike West (on-air w/John Langan as "Those Dudes") (see also 1984)
  • 1977-1986 Gary Crow (on-air w/Bob Hovanes through 1984, then w/Mike West through 1986)
  • 1980-1984 Bob Hovanes
  • 1978-1979 John Evans
  • 1978-1983 John Langan later known as C. Foster Kane (on-air w/Mike West as "Those Dudes") (see also 1988)
  • 1978-???? Jim Arnold
  • 1980-2002 Steve Akrish
  • 1980-1984 Larry Sharp; "Sharpie"
  • 1980-1982 Steve Cooper
  • 1980-1982 Jesse Brandon
  • 1978-1984 Dr. Rock Jeff McIntosh
  • 1980-???? John Napier
  • 1980-???? Rick Evens
  • 1978-1980 Mike Luchino
  • 1981-2002 Dan Wilke
  • 1982-1984 Marie McCallister
  • 1978-1984 Gary Bryan
  • 1983-1986 Beau Roberts
  • 1983-???? Gary Bryan
  • 1983-1986 John Maynard (on-air w/Robin Erickson)
  • 1982-1986 Robin Erickson (on-air w/John Maynard starting in 1984)
  • 1984-1986 Mike West (teamed with Gary Crow) (see also 1978)
  • 1984-1985 Lisa Walker
  • 1985-1987 Dean Carlson
  • 1985-2001 'the late' Cathy Faulkner
  • 1985-2000 Mike Jones
  • 1987-2002 Damon Stewart
  • 1987-1989 Sky Daniels
  • 1987-1997 Jon Ballard
  • 1989-1996 Rob Oxford (Rockfish) (Returned briefly 1998-1999)
  • 1997-2002 "Scott 'the Worm' Vanderpool"
  • 1987-1988 John Langan aka C. Foster Kane (Mornings w/ John Rody "Two White Guys") (see also 1978)
  • 1987-1988 Mike Bell (Also Writer/Producer/Voice talent for "The Two White Guys" morning show" 1987 - 1988)
  • 1987-1988 John Rody (Mornings w/ John Langan "The Two White Guys")
  • 1989-2000 Twisted Radio (Bob Rivers, "Spike" O'Neil, "Downtown Joe" Bryant)
  • 1989-1995 Steve O'Neill (Steve-O)
  • 1990-1991 Bill Reid
  • 1990-2002 Mr. T (Mike Trochalakis)
  • 1997-2004 Andy Guyer
  • 1998-2003 Adam Gehrke
  • 2001-2002 John Sebastian
  • 2002-2003 Lisa Wood
  • 2002-2004 Reed Wacker
  • 2002-2002 Rover
  • 2002-2003 Kylee Brooks
  • 2002-2003 Tommy Hough
  • 2002-2004 Ditch
  • 2004-2008 Kenna
  • 2004-2006 Will Dixon
  • 2005-2006 Seaman
  • 2003-2009 Ricker
  • 2006-2010 Double R
  • 200?-2020 Jeetz
  • 2004-2015 Jolene
  • 2005-2016 Ben "The Psycho Muppet"
  • 2006-2016 Topshelf
  • 2007-2016 Mono Nick
  • 2016-2019 Uncle Chris
  • 2017-2020 Robin Fox


In 2007, the station was nominated for the Radio & Records magazine Active Rock station of the year award in a top 25 market; other nominees included WIYY in Baltimore, WAAF in Boston, KBPI in Denver, WRIF in Detroit, and WMMR in Philadelphia.[16] KISW was also nominated for a RadioContraband Rock Radio Award for "Major Market Radio Station of the Year" in 2012.

KISW was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame in the "Heritage Rock Radio Stations-Still Rocking" in 2014.[citation needed]

KISW won KING-TV's 2019 Best of Western Washington viewers choice poll in the Best Radio Station category.

B.J. Shea was named the 2020 recipient of Morning Show Boot Camp's prestigious 'Kraddick Award' named in honor of the late Kidd Kraddick.[17]

Live Day[edit]

KISW is the flagship station for the 100% live show that happens once a year known as "Live Day". From the commercials and the music to the shows and the sound effects, everything is performed completely LIVE, going by the mantra, "What could possibly go wrong?!" Originating in 2015 and typically in November, KISW pays homage to the earliest days of radio, when every component had to be performed live. In 2017, the station took Live Day on the road to be played out in front of a LIVE audience at various area casinos.


  1. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1951 page 318
  2. ^ Harvey Manning, "Letter to the Editor," Seattle Weekly, 21 September 1994.
  3. ^ Byron Fish, "Not Very Old, KISW, Good-Music, Wins Public's Praise," Seattle Times, 3 November 1952.
  4. ^ Victor Stredicke, "Commission Approves Sale of KISW," Seattle Times, 3 January 1969, p. 10.
  5. ^ Victor Stredicke, "Like It Or Not, Rock Music is Here to Stay," Seattle Times, 3 March 1971, p. 155.
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1988 page B-302
  7. ^ "Kmtt: Go Sell It On `The Mountain' | The Seattle Times".
  8. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1998 page D-472
  9. ^ "Gary Crow - KZOK". 2012-09-15. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  10. ^ "Golden boy". Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  11. ^ "Slaton Gets Ax At Kisw | The Seattle Times". Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  12. ^ Jacobson, Adam (2017-05-03). "America Will Now Have More Of 'The Men's Room' | Radio & Television Business Report". Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  13. ^ "Mens Room". Mens Room. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  14. ^ "Entercom Launches All-Metal HD2 In Six Markets". RadioInsight. 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  15. ^ "HD Radio Station Guide for Seattle–Tacoma, WA". Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-05-31. HD Radio Guide for Seattle-Tacoma
  16. ^ "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008.
  17. ^ "The Mouth". Retrieved 2020-09-09.

External links[edit]