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KISW Current Black Logo.png
CitySeattle, Washington
Broadcast areaSeattle/Tacoma metropolitan area
Branding99.9 The Rock KISW
Slogan"The Rock Of Seattle"
Frequency99.9 MHz FM (also on HD Radio)
First air dateJanuary 18, 1950
FormatFM/HD-1: Mainstream rock
HD-2: Active rock "The Metal Militia"
ERP67,000 watts
68,000 with beam tilt
HAAT707 meters (2320 ft)
Facility ID47750
Callsign meaningKIss Seattle, Washington
OwnerEntercom Communications
(Entercom License, LLC)
Sister stationsKKWF, KHTP, KNDD, KSWD
WebcastListen Live
HD-2: Metal Militia

KISW (99.9 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station in Seattle, Washington. The station is owned by Entercom Communications and airs a Mainstream Rock radio format, with the slogan, "The Rock of Seattle." Entercom owns three other radio stations in the Seattle metropolitan area, with studios in the Bank of America Plaza in Downtown Seattle.

KISW broadcasts with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 67,000 watts (68,000 with beam tilt) from a transmitter in Issaquah on Tiger Mountain.[1] The station broadcasts in the HD Radio format.

Programming and "The Mens Room"[edit]

Weekday mornings begin with BJ & Migs, with Ryan Castle in middays, Taryn Daly heard evenings and Matt Koch overnight. Weekend shows include "Dude, It's The 80s," "Metal Shop" and "Loud & Local."

KISW is the flagship station for the afternoon drive time show "The Mens Room," syndicated across the country by Westwood One. The comedy and hot talk show is hosted by Miles Montgomery, Steve Hill, Ted Smith and Mike Hawk with producer Robin Fox.[2] It is also heard on WAAF Boston, KQRC Kansas City, KGON Portland, WKBU New Orleans, KATT Oklahoma City and other rock stations around the U.S. The Mens Room entered syndication on June 5, 2017.[3]


Classical Music[edit]

On January 18, 1950, KISW first signed on the air.[4] 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.[5]

Owner Ellwood Lippencott (1904-1977), 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. Lippincott would spend his weekends managing the station.[6] 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.

Progressive Rock[edit]

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, AM 950 KJR.[7] The company 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 baseball team.

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 sound pioneered by Tom Donahue at KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco.[8] KOL-FM was also experimenting with free form rock at night.

Album Rock[edit]

Over time, KISW moved to a more formatted album oriented rock sound, 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.[9] (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.[10] The station was bought by Entercom Communications in 1996.[11]

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 Howard Stern. Over the years the station has employed other popular DJs including Crow and West, Robin and Maynard and Steve Slaton

HD Radio[edit]

  • HD1 carries the analog signal of "KISW 99.9" from the standard 99.9 FM frequency as its main digital broadcast
  • HD2 carried a "live rock" format featuring rock songs from concerts. This lasted until August 10, 2015 when 99.9-HD2 switched to "The Metal Militia," which serves as an Active Rock outlet for harder-edged songs not normally heard on KISW.[12][13]


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.[14] Nominated for a RadioContraband Rock Radio Award for "Major Market Radio Station of the Year" 2012

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


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Mens Room" May 3, 2017
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1951 page 318
  5. ^ Harvey Manning, "Letter to the Editor," Seattle Weekly, 21 September 1994.
  6. ^ Byron Fish, "Not Very Old, KISW, Good-Music, Wins Public's Praise," Seattle Times, 3 November 1952.
  7. ^ Victor Stredicke, "Commission Approves Sale of KISW," Seattle Times, 3 January 1969, p. 10.
  8. ^ Victor Stredicke, "Like It Or Not, Rock Music is Here to Stay," Seattle Times, 3 March 1971, p. 155.
  9. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1988 page B-302
  10. ^
  11. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1998 page D-472
  12. ^ KISW Launches All-Metal HD2
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-05-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) HD Radio Guide for Seattle-Tacoma
  14. ^ "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°30′14″N 121°58′34″W / 47.504°N 121.976°W / 47.504; -121.976