|Broadcast area||Seattle metropolitan area|
|Branding||Sports Radio 950 KJR|
|First air date||1922|
|Transmitter coordinates||Coordinates: |
|Affiliations||Fox Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One|
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KBKS-FM, KFNQ, KHHO, KJAQ, KJR-FM, KPWK, KZOK|
Since the 2006-2007 season, ISP Sports was the media rights holder for Husky athletics until IMG College took over. KJR was the Washington IMG College Network's flagship station from 2002-2014. (KJR has since lost the broadcast rights back to KOMO.)
It was Seattle's only all-sports talk radio station until 710 KIRO affiliated itself with ESPN.
Although not Seattle's first broadcasting station, KJR is the oldest station in Seattle to be recognized by the Department of Commerce as a broadcasting station according to available records, and its call letters, assigned on March 14, 1922, replaced its previous amateur radio designation, 7XC. The station's founder, Vincent Kraft, initially operated 7XC out of his home. At the time he received the KJR call letters, the station was operating in the Times Square Building in downtown Seattle. In 1925, Kraft moved the station to the Terminal Sales Building, where he had erected a 50-foot mast to serve as the station's transmitter, which was soon superseded by a new, T-wire transmitter built in North City near Lake Forest Park completed in 1927 (later the site of Saint Mark's Catholic Church), at which point the studios were moved to the Home Savings Building at 1520 Westlake Ave. Kraft sold the station to businessman Adolph Linden in 1928. Linden, and a subsequent owner, Ahira Pierce, were jailed for illegally financing the station with money from financial institutions which went bankrupt, and KJR was then acquired by NBC.
In 1933, NBC leased the station to the Fisher family, which owned KOMO radio, who moved the studios to the Skinner Building. The Fisher family eventually purchased KJR in 1941. In 1936, KJR became an affiliate of the NBC Blue Network, and continued this affiliation after the Blue Network became ABC in the 1940s. In 1937, a new transmitter was erected on Seattle's West Waterway, which operated until 1996. By 1945, the Fisher family was forced to sell KJR to comply with an order from the FCC, and KJR was acquired by Birt Fisher, who was unrelated to the KOMO owners. In 1946, KJR was purchased by Marshall Field and continued its affiliation with ABC until 1953, when ABC switched to KING-AM. In July, 1952, Marshall Field sold the station to a group headed by Chicago businessman Ralph E. Stolkin, which sold it seven months later following Stolkin's departure to two Portland businessmen, Theodore Gamble and Howard Lane.
Following the purchase of the station by Lester Smith in 1954, KJR became a pioneer Top 40 radio station, continuing with this format until 1982. Smith moved the studios to the transmitter site on West Waterway in 1955. In 1957, the station was sold to entertainers Danny Kaye and Frank Sinatra, and Smith stayed on as general manager. Sinatra sold his interest in the station to Smith in 1964, and the resulting partnership became known as "Kaye-Smith Enterprises." In the 1960s, under the programming guidance of Pat O'Day, the station was top rated in Seattle and well known for introducing the Pacific Northwest to many recording stars such as Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts and the Ventures. Today, the call letters are used by KJR-FM, which broadcasts a format that includes many of the songs and shows (including original American Top 40 shows from the 1970s) from that era.
KJR was sold to Metromedia in 1980, and evolved to adult contemporary in 1982, following in KING's footsteps. In 1984, Metromedia sold the station to Ackerley Communications for $6 million in cash. (Ackerley would buy KLTX (now KJR-FM) in 1987.) In June 1988, the station shifted to oldies, playing the music that had made the station famous throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
KJR's shift to sports programming was a gradual evolution starting in 1989, when the station added some sports-themed shows in mid-days and afternoons. The rest of the music programming would be phased out in September 1991.
In July 1994, KJR & KJR-FM would be sold to a partnership with New Century Management and Ackerley titled "New Century Media" (Ackerley would re-acquire full control of the two stations in February 1998). Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) bought the stations in May 2002.
On November 4, 2011, at 7 AM, KJR began simulcasting on 102.9 FM, replacing country-formatted KNBQ. This ended on June 13, 2013, when KNBQ (now KFNY) reverted to an Adult top 40 format. During this time, Clear Channel did not transfer the KJR-FM calls from 95.7 to 102.9, instead co-branding the station as "Sports Radio 950 AM and 102.9 FM KJR".
KJR's listeners were entertained by some of the country's greatest radio personalities: Larry Lujack, Scotty Brink, Norm Gregory, Burl Barer, Pat O'Day, Eric Chase, Bob Shannon, Dick Curtis, "World Famous" Tom Murphy, Bobby Simon, Jerry Kaye, Gary Shannon, Ichabod Caine, "Emperor" Lee Smith, Lan Roberts, Kevin O'Brien (Kevin Metheny), Robert O. Smith, Charlie Brown, Bwana Johnny, Matt Riedy, Marion Seymour, Sky Walker, Tracy Mitchell, Bob Brooks and sports commentator Chuck Bolland, plus Bolland's much younger brother Mark "Jeffries" Bolland. Gary "Lockjock" Lockwood, a.k.a. L.J., was the disk jockey who had the longest tenure on the "Mighty Channel 95," from 1976-1991.
KJR served as the home of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1987–2006.
This station also runs itself as "Home of the 12th Man", mainly during Seahawks season.
In 2002, Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Jeff Nelson had surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow. During his weekly show with Dave "Softy" Mahler, Nelson announced he would attempt to sell his bone chips on eBay. After earning bids as high as $23,600, eBay pulled the chips from auction.
In 2003, Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird made a bet with morning host Mitch Levy that gained national publicity. The bet was over Bird's season assist/turnover ratio. If the ratio finished higher that 3:1, Bird agreed to be spanked by Levy on the air. If Bird won the bet, Levy agreed to purchase Storm season tickets. The bet was later amended to include Bird yelling "Harder, Daddy, Harder." The bet was ultimately called off by Bird. When asked at a later date, Tyler Orsborn (morning show producer at the time) suggested that Storm management were the real reason the bet was called off and not Bird.
During a 2006 radio interview with Dave "Softy" Mahler and former University of Washington quarterback Hugh Millen, then Atlanta Falcons head coach Jim L. Mora said he'd be in the "friggin' head of the line" for the Washington Huskies football head coaching position, if it became available. Mora, who played for the University of Washington, later said he was only kidding during the interview, but was still fired by the Falcons at the end of the season.
Host "Softy" began a feud with another sports show host in Salt Lake City, Utah after they argued about their predicted outcomes of the Washington vs. BYU game on September 5, 2008. After arguing with Hans Olsen of Sports Radio 1280 The Zone, Softy had an on-air meltdown where he claimed that he was going to choke Hans and repeatedly called him an idiot.
On August 26, 2017, KJR morning host Mitch Levy was arrested in connection with a prostitution sting. iHeartMedia has not issued a public statement on the matter. On October 6, Levy announced he would exit from the station after 23 years.
- "FCC Query Results". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2013-01-12.
- William Hanford Brubaker, A History of Radio Broadcasting in Seattle Up to the Establishment of the Radio Act of 1927, (Seattle: M.A. thesis, University of Washington, 1968), pp. 37-40.
- Richardson, David (1980). Puget Sounds: A Nostalgic Review of Radio and TV in the Great Northwest. Seattle, Washington: Superior Publishing Company. p. 187. ISBN 0-87564-636-0.
- "KJR Expands Service", The Seattle Times, 24 December 1924, p. 3.
- John F. Schneider, Seattle Radio, (Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2013), p. 31.
- Brubaker, op. cit, pp. 38-9.
- Schneider, op. cit., pp. 33, 38, 41.
- Ibid., p. 41.
- Ibid., p. 41.
- "Blue Would be ABC", The Seattle Times, 26 October 1944, p. 15.
- Schneider, op. cit., pp. 41, 46.
- "Radio Stations KOMO and KJR Separated Officially", The Seattle Times, 1 November 1945, p. 12.
- "Marshall Field Firm Buys KJR", The Seattle Times, 19 July 1946, p. 3.
- "(KJR ad)" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 19, 1948. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- "Radio KING's Coronation Monday (advertisement)", The Seattle Times, 31 May 1953, p. 16.
- "Hughes to Sell R.K.O. Stock", The Seattle Times, 19 September 1952, p. 15.
- "R.K.O. Hunts New President After Stolkin Quits", The Seattle Times, 23 October 1952, p. 52.
- "KJR Purchase Approved", The Seattle Times, 23 January 1953, p. 20.
- "Sale of KJR Approved by FCC", The Seattle Times, 4 December 1954, p. 9.
- Marty Loken, "Like It or Loop It, KJR's Still No. 1", The Seattle Times, 12 April 1964, p. 19.
- Schneider, op. cit., p. 46.
- "Sinatra buys KJR, Two Other Stations", The Seattle Times, 23 December 1957, p. 4.
- Schneider, op. cit., p. 97.
- Victor Stredicke, "KJR Sold for $10 million", The Seattle Times, 7 March 1980, p. D-9.
- "Ackerley Firm Agrees to Buy KJR", The Seattle Times, 23 February 1984, p. C-10.
- Victor Stredicke, "KJR Owner has faith in AM-radio venture", The Seattle Times, 24 June 1984, p. TV Section, p. 2.
- "Stop the insanity: Bidding for Nelson's bone chips reaches $23,600". Sports Illustrated.com. May 15, 2000. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- Associated Press (July 21, 2003). "Bird apologizes to fans for making wager". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- Pasquarelli, Len (2006-12-15). "Mora says he's happy with Falcons". Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- England, Dave. "Seattles 950 Am Sports Show Host "Softy" Is The Ultimate Loser". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Mitch Levy Exits KJR Following Prostitution Sting Arrest
- "Sounders FC announces iHeartMedia as new radio broadcast partner, with 950 KJR AM becoming radio flagship of the Rave Green". Seattle Sounders FC Communications. Retrieved February 13, 2018.