|Broadcast area||Portland metropolitan area and Salem, Oregon|
|Branding||NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620|
|Slogan||Portland's Blazers Station|
|First air date||March 25, 1922 (as KGW)|
|Power||25,000 watts (daytime)|
10,000 watts (nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||Portland Oregon Journal, after the newspaper which once held the callsign.|
|Former callsigns||KGW (1922-1993)|
|Former frequencies||832.7 kHz (3/1922-11/1922)|
749.4 kHz (1922-1923)
609.3 kHz (1923-1925)
610 kHz (1925-1928)
|Affiliations||Fox Sports Radio|
NBC Sports Radio
|Owner||iHeartMedia, Inc. |
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KKRZ, KKCW, KFBW, KLTH, KXJM, KEX|
KPOJ (620 AM) is a radio station serving the Portland metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Oregon and neighboring Washington. It airs a sports talk format, and is affiliated with Fox Sports Radio. Prior to November 9, 2012, the station aired an influential progressive talk format. Its transmitter is located in Sunnyside, Oregon, and its studios are in Tigard, Oregon. The station is owned by iHeartMedia.
For more than 70 years, the station at AM 620 was KGW, founded in 1922 by The Oregonian newspaper and owned and operated by it until 1953, when it was sold to King Broadcasting. It began broadcasting on March 25, 1922 (after a test transmission two days earlier). KGW affiliated with the NBC network in 1927 and stayed for 29 years until joining ABC Radio in 1956. The station's studios and transmitter were located in the Oregonian Building from 1922 until 1943, when a fire destroyed them and the station moved to other quarters.
Among KGW's early personalities was Mel Blanc, a local musician and vocalist featured on the "Hoot Owls" variety program from 1927 to 1933. Here, Blanc discovered a talent for character voices that would win him stardom as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and many other Warner Brothers cartoon features.
Under The Oregonian the station gained an AM sister, KEX, in 1933, and the Northwest's first FM station, KGW-FM (now KKRZ), in 1946. King Broadcasting founded KGW-TV in 1956. All three stations continue to exist in Portland, but none have any remaining connection to AM 620. KGW would flip to Top 40 on January 9, 1959.
"62 KGW", as it called itself during its later years under those call letters, was one of the most popular radio stations in Portland in the 1960s and 1970s, but its ratings declined during the 1980s, despite a shift to adult contemporary music and on July 28, 1989, the station changed to a talk format, using primarily local hosts. The change did not produce the hoped-for ratings turnaround, and on July 26, 1991, the talk programming was replaced by a simulcast of sister station KINK-FM's programming, but retaining the longstanding and locally well-known call sign, KGW, until March 1, 1993, when the call letters were changed to KINK.
On February 6, 1995, KINK-AM changed back to all-talk, now airing nationally syndicated talk radio programming instead of local talk, and the call letters changed to KOTK. The frequent changing of call letters continued, with the station becoming KEWS ("K-News") in 1997, KDBZ ("The Buzz") in 2000, and KTLK ("K-Talk") in 2002. On July 25, 2003, the station flipped to oldies, with the current KPOJ call letters adopted on August 18. For many years and with various formats, the station called itself "Super 62".
The KPOJ call sign originated at what is now KKPZ AM 1330, which for many years was the Mutual Broadcasting System's Portland affiliate. In the 1970s, that station changed its call letters to KUPL. The call letters stand for Portland Oregon Journal, the now-defunct newspaper that once owned AM 1330.
On March 31, 2004, KPOJ flipped to progressive talk. The station was one of the first Air America affiliates, when the political talk network launched in that same month, running the standard Air America rotation of Marc Maron's "Morning Sedition" and other shows featuring Rachel Maddow, Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy and others, serving as broadcast home for Thom Hartmann with Carl Wolfson and Christine Alexander doing a locally focused morning show for a time.
The progressive talk format was replaced by sports talk at 5:30 PM on November 9, 2012, three days after the 2012 general election. Fans of the progressive talk radio format immediately started a campaign to "Save KPOJ", with thousands of listeners signing a petition to Clear Channel.
In 2013, KPOJ became the flagship station of the Portland Trail Blazers, replacing sister station KEX. The station had already aired some Blazers games during the 2012–13 season if there were conflicts with KEX's broadcasts of the Oregon State Beavers.
On April 14, 2014, KPOJ rebranded as "Rip City Radio 620" (the name is based off a nickname for the city inspired by the Blazers.) Rip City Radio is a Fox Sports Radio affiliate, carrying The Rich Eisen Show from 9am-12pm Pacific as well as Jay Mohr Sports from 12pm-3pm Pacific. In March 2015 a local morning drive show was added, "Rip City Mornings" with Andy Bunker and Taylor Danforth. Travis Demers was brought in to host the afternoon drive show "The Rip City Drive" in October 2015. Dan Sheldon and Nigel Burton took over hosting the morning show on September 1, 2016. Chad Doing was added to the afternoon show on March 20, 2017.
Partnership with NBC Sports Northwest
On January 14, 2018, Rip City Radio announced a partnership with NBC Sports Northwest, formerly Comcast SportsNet Northwest. The lineup included a television simulcast of Rip City Mornings with Dan Sheldon and Nigel Burton from 6-9 AM Pacific time, and the Rip City Drive with Travis Demers and Chad Doing 3-6 PM Pacific. A new mid-day show with Dwight Jaynes and Aaron Fentress was added from 12-3 PM. In July 2018, the Brian Noe Show replaced Dwight and Aaron. The partnership also included adding a radio simulcast to shows originated by NBC Sports Northwest including 'Talkin Beavers', 'Talkin Ducks', 'The Bridge', and 'Outdoor GPS'.
- "The way we were". Jack Bogdanski. 2004-06-28. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- Nelson, Bob (June 2, 2009). "Call Letter Origins". 238. The Broadcast Archive. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
- Mesh, Aaron (November 9, 2012). "KPOJ Cancelling Political Talk Radio". Willamette Week staff blog. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
- WW Editorial Staff (November 14, 2012). "Murmurs: KPOJ Format Shift Sparks Outrage". Willamette Week. p. 6. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- "KGW To Celebrate Tenth Anniversary". (March 20, 1932). The Sunday Oregonian, p. 1.
- "KGW [history of]". PdxHistory.com. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
- "The Oregonian Test of Radio Makes Hit". (March 24, 1922). The Morning Oregonian, p. 5.
- "Radio Is Installed By The Oregonian". (March 19, 1922). The Sunday Oregonian, p. 1.
- "Blaze Hits Oregonian Top Floors". (September 24, 1943). The Oregonian, p. 1.
- Murphy, Francis (May 9, 1965). "Multi-Voiced Mel Blanc Recalls Days Of Ad-Lib Portland Radio High Jinks". The Sunday Oregonian, Section 1, p. 40.
- Farrell, Peter (August 8, 1989). "KGW's new format won't be shock radio". The Oregonian, p. D9.
- Schulberg, Pete (January 11, 1995). "KINK-AM turning to all-talk". The Oregonian.
- Tokito, Mike (August 29, 2013). "Blazers announce move to KPOJ, and TV schedule for 2013-14 season". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- KPOJ Enters Rip City
- KPOJ Website
- FCC History Cards for KGW
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KPOJ
- Radio-Locator Information on KPOJ
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KPOJ