|Broadcast area||Seattle metropolitan area|
|Branding||AM 1300 Business Radio KKOL|
|First air date||1924 (as KFOA)|
|Power||50,000 watts (day)
47,000 watts (night)
|Former callsigns||KFOA, KOL, KMPS|
(Inspiration Media, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KNTS, KGNW, KKMO, KLFE|
The original call letters were KFOA when the station commenced broadcasting at a wavelength of 465 meters in 1924, and the studios and transmitter were located at Rhodes Department Store, the original owner. The station was sold in 1928 to Archie Taft, at which time the call letters were changed to KOL, its frequency was 1270 kHz, and its studios were moved to the Northern Life Tower. In 1934, KOL abandoned its T-wire transmitter on the roof of the Rhodes Department Store building and commenced using a new, 490-foot transmitter on Harbor Island, which at the time was the tallest radio transmitter of its type in the United States. From 1930 to 1938, KOL was Seattle's CBS affiliate. The studios were moved to the transmitter site in 1952. In 1962, the Taft interests sold KOL to television producers and game show moguls Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. The station then briefly adopted a Top 40 format which was dropped within a year due to a perceived failure to compete with KJR-AM, and reverted to an MOR format. By 1965 the Top 40 format had returned. In 1967, the station was sold to Buckley Broadcasting. From 1965 to 1975, KOL battled KJR as the Number 1 top 40 station in Seattle. The call letters were changed to KMPS (for "Kountry Music Puget Sound", featuring a country/western format) in 1975 following another change in ownership. During its days as KMPS, it simulcasted KMPS-FM/94.1, the former frequency of KOL-FM. The Harbor Island studio and transmitter site was demolished in 1981. The station's call letters were changed to KKOL in 1997, and a conservative talk format was adopted at that time.
In 2002, due to losing its broadcast location, KOL installed a temporary 1000-watt transmitter on a moored boat and began to broadcast from a 175-foot/61-meter ship in one of the waterways in Seattle. This was the only floating radio station in the US. In 2007 the station has a new broadcast facility with a 50,000-watt transmitter and is dedicated to news/talk.
There was a complaint from a nearby U.S. Oil and Refining petroleum facility about the station's new location. It has alleged, based on industry-published safety recommendations, that the station's signal strength exceeds safe limits at the loading docks, creating a potential source of ignition for the combustibles handled there. A spark caused by the flow of RF energy (a high-frequency alternating current) from the cranes (which act as antennas, exactly like the station's mast radiator) to other objects could trigger an explosion].
The U.S. Coast Guard has said that materials may not be handled with a signal strength of greater than 0.7 volts per square meter (700mV/m²), while the industry recommendation is 0.5V/m². U.S. Oil's request is for the station to introduce a null in the direction of the facility, however this is also the direction of downtown Seattle. For this, the station needs a waiver of the regulation which otherwise requires it to cover its city of license with a grade A "city-grade" signal. Doing so would reduce the audience for the radio station by 700,000 listeners.
The case is a rarity in broadcast engineering, though a similar situation regarding fuel occurred at KIQI AM. The case went (as of November 2007[update]) before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
KKOL airs popular business content such as Phil Grande of The Phil's Gang Radio Show and Ray Lucia.
- Virgin, Bill (November 5, 2008). "On Radio on Radio: KKOL-AM shifts to business news; Owner sees a market for new format". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- "Radio Program", The Seattle Times, 18 January 1924, p. 20.
- "KFOA is Sold, Call Letters Changed to KOL", The Seattle Times, 9 December 1928, p. 20.
- "Radio Antenna of KOL Now is Tallest in U.S.", The Seattle Times, 18 November 1934, p. 32.
- John F. Schneider, Seattle Radio, (Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2013), p. 64.
- Ibid., p. 104.
- "Radio Station KOL Sold to Show Firm", The Seattle Times, 22 October 1962, p. 13.
- Warren Guykema, "KOL is Swinging Station With Some Serious Aims", The Seattle Times, 17 November 1963, TV Section, p. 4.
- Marty Loken, "Like It or Loop It, KJR's Still No. 1", The Seattle Times, 12 April 1964, p. 19
- Schneider, op. cit., p. 108.
- Marty Loken, "KOL's New Sound-Rock and Roll from the Mudflats", The Seattle Times, 13 June 1965, TV Section, p. 17
- S.J. Skreen, "Leathernecks Land Again", The Seattle Times, 21 March 1967, p. 23.
- Victor Stredicke, "Multiple Messages behind Radio Station Call Letters", The Seattle Times, 15 June 1975, TV Section, p. 26.
- Victor Stredicke, "Country air staff, others, get Labor Day Workout", The Seattle Times, 1 September 1975, p. B-6.
- Schneider, op. cit., p. 103.
- Chuck Taylor, "Summertime and News Just Keep Dribbling In", The Seattle Times, 8 August 1997, p. F-3
- "History". KKOL Website.
- Dalke, Jim (November 7, 2007). "Big Oil: Primary Issue Is Public Safety". Radio World.