John Curley – Seattle Radio’s Best Personality –Ever! ?

…….. listening to KIRO FM. Based on my memories of Seattle radio past, and air checks available from the Golden Ages of Seattle radio, it is my opinion that John Curley may be Seattle’s finest radio personality. Without the aid of Top 40 tunes and show prep aids like the Electric Weenie, Curley talks for 3 hours each day and always has something interesting to say. He is clever with use of stories and opinion, witty without being silly, and topical without kissing up to anyone or being politically correct. He is also NOT a shock jock. With a sidekick like Tom Tangney, who has opposing views on most every topic, Curley carries the show, keeping it tight, with humor and opinion that I find unmatched by any predecessor in the field of radio entertainment locally. Curley is the new and much improved Bob Hardwick. As clever as Jack Morton, possibly moreso. Curley is the Bob Crane of Seattle radio, without the MOR tunes. Your thoughts….?

70s Usher In FM Popularity; Top 40 AM Fades Out

Locally, at the time FM radio began to blossom in the 1970s, KTAC Tacoma was in a heated ratings war against Top 40 kingpin KJR Seattle. Steve West’s talent seemed to be wasted at KJR, working the overnighter. KJR GM Pat O’Day may have considered West a weak air talent. At the same time, West had his eye on KTAC, believing that he could do much more with the Tacoma rocker than current PD Tom Connors. West used all the tricks he had learned coming up in the business and while at KJR, once he took the helm at KTAC. He brought Bruce Cannon over from Tri-Cities. This move may stand as the single most important talent acquisition for KTAC. Cannon eventually became ‘the heart & soul’ of KTAC, on-air as the long-time afternoon drive host, and for periods as Program Director, as well as KTAC’s ambassador of goodwill toward the community. Bruce Cannon remained at KTAC long after West and other talent came and went. There was nothing to KTAC without Bruce Cannon on the radio. Ask anyone who grew up in Tacoma at the time. Soon, KTAC was battling KJR in the South Sound and posting great ratings. The threat was so great that Pat O’Day offered Steve West the Program Director position at KJRB, Spokane to cut KJR’s rival down to size. West took the offer. KTAC’s next PD Derek Shannon, eventually purchased a station in Chehalis and things were changing at KTAC, but the station continued making good money with talents such as Bob Hardwick, Gary Crow, Don Wade, Bobby Simon, and Robert O Smith. As Top 40 began to fade in popularity, so did the fortunes of KTAC and KJR. READ MORE background on STEVE WEST.

Grouchy grumblers organize

Hardwick, early- morning d.j. at KVI Seattle, is being flooded with membership applications for his new Grouch
Club (NAGG- National Assn. of Grouchy Grumblers). The club was started to give KVI listeners a chance to air their pet gripes. A local grumbler whose gripe is read on the air is chosen as the grouch of the week. Each month, Hardwick chooses a grand grouch – someone of national significance with an obvious reason to be grouchy. Grand grouch for November is the chairman of the board of the Ocean
Spray Cranberry Assn.
[Broadcasting Magazine – November 1959]

ad from 1965

60s Radio: New Year’s Eve

1961 – New Years Leave Dance Parties
Network pickups of dance-band music across the country: KING 8:05 PM; KIRO 8:30 p.m.; KOMO 11 PM.

1962 – Dance Time 10 PM on 1590 KETO “Your key to better listening.”
Music of the past 62 years is aired continuously until sign-off on KXA.

1963 – Guy Lombardo, Count Basie, Les Brown, Lionel Hampton and others are heard on KIRO AM and FM from 8-10 PM, and from 11 PM to 1 AM.
The Jerry Rowan Quintet ushers in 1964 with the program of dance music, beginning at 11:55 PM on KETO AM and FM.
Mori Simon’s orchestra, playing in The Olympic Grand Ballroom, is heard at 11:15 p.m., and music from San Francisco’s Gold Street is aired at 11:45 PM on KOMO.
Tomorrow — Orson Welles “War of the Worlds,” considered by many to be the most famous radio broadcast of the century, will be aired at 10 AM on KXA as a part of the stations “Sounds of the Century,” a musical – history marathon which will end at 5:30 p.m.
Cotton Bowl: Texas University will play Navy at 10:45 AM on KIRO AM and FM.
Orange Bowl: Auburn and Nebraska will meet at 10:45 AM on KOMO.
Rose Bowl: The University of Washington Huskies will face Illinois at 1:45 PM on KING-AM and FM.
Arthur Godfrey and Betty White narrate the Rose Bowl parade on NBC TV New Year’s Day.

1964 – While the rock stations counted down the top hits of the year, KING-FM presented an informal evening of music including jazz, folk music, show tunes and humor.
Lorne Greene and Betty White narrate the Rose Bowl parade on NBC-TV on New Year’s Day.

1965 – New Year’s resolutions for Seattle media offered by C. J. Skreen, Seattle Times TV editor: J. P. Patches-keep those mothers happy with more of those action-packed educational cartoons. Irving Clark-keeping blab-off handy for those unruly telephone callers. KAYO-maintain an ample supply of picketing signs the next time The Times’ John Hinterberger reviews a Country KAYO Western stage show. Pat O’Day and Jack Roberts-trading your worn-out toupees for 1966 models. KOL and KJR-shake hands and come out swinging with rock ‘n roll discs. Perry Allen-go berserk and break up every one of and boss Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer” platters. (Goodbye, Perry, hate to see you go.). Bob Hardwick-more whales to conquer. KRAB FM and Lorenzo Milam-continue presenting such diversified programming (who cares about Big Daddy Nielsen?) As “Music of the Ituri Forest” (recorded in The Congo), “Research in Consciousness Expansion,” “Music Directors Sporadic Report on the State of the Musical Onion” and “Amharic and Somali Music of Ethiopia” (with titles that defy even the station manager).

1966 – 10 PM, Jim Wilke [KING FM] hosts a potpourri of dance music, humor, jazz, folk, and nonsense. Live-remote broadcasts of Cannonball Adderley live from Chicago, Count Basie from New York and Don Scaletta and Ray Charles from Seattle will last until 2 AM.

Stredicke 1967 – The party is in full swing, but somebody forgot to invite Jan Garber!
The CBS Radio Network will present its 40th annual coast-to-coast New Year’s eve Dancing Party– but it’s the only one. KIRO AM will open network lines for the event, including remote broadcasts of 12 big-name bands (Guy Lombardo, Count Basie and Russ Morgan) from eight o’clock Monday evening to midnight.
But right at the stroke of midnight, automation takes over and the regularly-scheduled soft, up-tempo music sponsored by Holiday Inn takes over just like any other night.
Neither ABC nor NBC features will be offered in Seattle. “We will present clusters of dance music of our own choosing,” KING-FM explains.
In pursuit of the young audience, neither KING or KOMO will dare permit a night of nostalgia for the older folk.
KERI FM in Bellingham will have the closest thing to it with a syndicated feature called “12 Hours of New Years.”
KJR continues “Flashback” Monday, including a segment beginning at 6 PM which will play, in reverse order, the top 100 of the stations all-time hits.
And if past performance is any guide, at the stroke of midnight, New Year’s Eve, the most likely song to be played will be – “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

1968 – 7 PM KVI, JJ Valley presents the “very best in dance music” and JJ’s “best one-liners of the year” steel you for facing the new year reasonably sober.
KOMO – Larry Nelson, KOMO Country’s newest announcer, and some of the worlds oldest pop standards.
KING-AM – Record Party, contemporary music for a contemporary New Year’s Eve party.
KBBX – Dance Party, up-tempo music to greet the new year.
Country Music KAYO, good old Dan Williams plays good old country music, right up to the new year.
Dance Party, KIXI-lots of up-tempo music in the KIXI fashion.
12:00 Auld Lang Syne – KING- Dick Roth will sing along with Carmen Lombardo if thousands of listeners request him to do so.
Tomorrow, 10 AM, KBIQ-Music to Recover By… Pop standards-just remember to keep it down when that jet station identification comes swooping through the room in stereo.

1969 – a live broadcast of Woody Herman and his band, performing in Seattle, will be aired over the NBC Radio Network, as part of an across-the-country New Year’s Eve celebration.
Jim Wilke, KING-FM program director, said NBC asked the FM station to feed the broadcast to the network as part of NBC’s All-Star Cavalcade of Bands. In 1966, Wilke supervised a similar New Year’s broadcast by Ray Charles.
Portions of the network program to be heard on KING-FM, will include tape-delays or live broadcasts of Lionel Hampton in New York, Duke Ellington in Las Vegas, Count Basie in Miami and Dizzy Gillespie in Chicago.
Wilke said the music would be included in the stations nightly jazz show, which begins at 11 PM. The program will conclude at 1 AM rather than at the normal midnight sign off time. The 25 min. Herman segment will be aired to the nation at 12:30 AM.
Herman and his 15-piece band are performing at the Westlake Room of the Washington Plaza.
“There is so little live music on the radio.” Wilke said. “This is the one time of the year when it is so important, so logical.
“And Herman is the ideal musician to offer radio listeners.
“He has a trunk load of standards, for which he is justly famous,” Wilke said. “But his musical tastes also include the most contemporary ‘college-age’ current tunes.”
Wilke said Herman has a young band, all good musicians.
The live broadcast clearly will be the highlight of the night on Seattle radio.
Meanwhile – the station which historically should be carrying the NBC band extravaganza, will give it short shrift – as it did last year.
Buzz Barr, program director, was still skimming the list of musical remotes, crossing them out as not fitting the “KING image.”
He crossed out guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk remotes immediately.
“Dizzy Gillespie? Barr said. “Our listeners don’t have any idea who that is.”
One or two of the more contemporary bands will be picked up on KING-AM, for 5 min. or so, said Barr, the fellow who introduced “Sugar, Sugar” to KING radio.
“Sugar, Sugar?” Who’s that?

5 PM Countdown, KOL AM-top hits of the year (or as KOL calls ‘em, 1969 grabbers, “the sounds that made it”) climaxing with KOL’s selection of the top song of the year just before midnight.
6 PM Countdown KJR-”Fabulous 50″ for the fading ’60s -top hits of 1969, climaxing just before midnight, with what KJR proclaims the top song of the year in Seattle.
New Year’s Eve Dance Party, KBBX-familiar dance music instrumentals to salute the years end.
8 PM New Year’s Eve Dance Party, KIXI-familiar dance music until 3 AM.
Midnight New Year Salute (just about every station): A hoot, a holler and best wishes from your favorite disc jockey – and from us, too.

Milestones

October 1974 – Robert L Scott is the new MD at KYAC. Former music director Robert Nesbitt continues as a jock at the station.
November 1974 – KING 1090 ran the first Northwest Donut Eating Contest recently. The “eat-off” drew a crowd of 4000. Winner downed 31 donuts in 15 minutes.
June 1975 – Gary Shannon, newsman at KJR, switches to Mid-day jocking at KISW.
July 1982 – Jay Johnson named as program director at KVI, succeeding Mark Savin who retains his 9 AM to 1 PM talk shift.
August 1982 – Bob Hardwick leaves KTAC for the morning slot at KVI following KVI’s recent pickup of Drake-Chenault’s “HIT PARADE” format.
KVI welcomes Jack Spencer as morning news anchor…
September 1982 – KING 1090 changes to all-news from adult contemporary using CNN and NBC.
November 1982 – KIRO midday host Jim French celebrates 30 broadcasting years.
February 1987 – KUBE Seattle Production Director Ron Erak has been named PD at KNBQ. He replaces Ric Hansen, who remains as morning cohost along with news personality Chet Rogers. Erak was acting PD when Bob Case departed KUBE last summer to program Z 93 in Atlanta. Erak has also been an air talent at KVI and KTAC, as well as KROY Sacramento.
1989…Clay Huntington moves KLAY to 1180; sells 1480 frequency…

Ratings Book Identifies Listener Favorites

ratings race Morton-Kevin August 10, 1975 / The Arbitron ratings, as mentioned a few weeks back, reported KOMO as the most popular radio station overall, but that Bob Hardwick, KVI morning personality, has the more listeners in his day-part than any other disc jockey in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area. Requests followed for information on other segments of the listening day. Prefacing with the reminder that ratings were designed to be used by advertisers to get an idea of the indefinable radio audience, here are some simplified answers.
Teen-agers, naturally, want to know who is the most popular in the “after school” timeslot. According to the April-May figures from the rating service, it was a neck-and-neck race.
KJRs Kevin O’Brien, since departed, had a full quarter (25.1 share) of the area teen-agers listening to him. KING AM’s Gary Lockwood had a close 24 share.
A 12 share of Seattle-Tacoma-Everett teens were listening to KTAC’s Robert O Smith, since defecting to KVI.
Decidedly lesser in teen listeners were KOL AM, KOL FM, and KZOK. Incidental teen listeners were reported on such stations as KISW, KLAY, KOMO, KUUU and KGDN.
The survey shows that teenagers, in this rating, at least, were not to be caught dead listening to such stations as KAYO, KBIQ, KETO, KMO, KWYZ, KXA and KYAC. The stations had no reported afterschool teens.
Adults in the afternoon drivetime (Same thing as afterschool–3-7PM) also like KJR but favored KOMO and KVI. KOMO had an 8.4 share of women and a 10.9 share of men listening to Don Cannon, ace afternoon announcer. KVI’s Jack Morton had an eight share of women and 11 share of men listeners–his best ratings ever.
Continuing a stereotyped demographic description: most men “driving home from work” were tuned to KVI or KOMO. But others were favoring KIRO FM (obviously the ones already home since FM car radios art that evident) and KJR (7.4 each) and KIRO AM (seven point). KIXI’s combined figures show that it’s News 90 news block drew a male audience of 7.9 compared to KIRO AM’s NewsRadio block with 7. — Both healthy figures for quantities of news-listeners. Women’s afternoon favorites were overwhelmingly KOMO, KVI, KIRO FM and KIXI AM and KIXI FM.
Back to total audience figures, nighttime radio saw KING AM get it’s only strong daypart. From 7 PM to midnight, KING AM’s 8.3 edged out KJR’s 8.1. The third most popular station at night was KVI with the 7.8 share. (KVI’s usual fare in that time included Theater of the Mind and soccer.) FM listeners massed faithfully around KIRO FM’s beautiful music to make it forth, beating out KOMO. KOMO Had a 6.9 Share, equal to combined 6.9 share of KIXI AM and KIXI FM at night.
With the exception of KING FM’s classical music toting up a respectable 4.6 share, the 32 other radio stations surveyed in the period ranged in the threes, twos and (gulp) less-than-ones at night.

KOL’s license-transfer to Hercules Broadcasting has been approved by the FCC and most folks expect that by September 1 you’ll be hearing the new format… Rich Erickson left KOL last week to take a midday disc jockey slot at WLCY Tampa…Bob Oxarat, KOL station manager, has moved to KPOK Portland… Roy H. Park has agreed to purchase KEZX, subject to approval of the Federal Communications Commission. Park Broadcasting properties include AM-FM-TV combinations in Tennessee and Virginia and two Portland stations, KWJJ and KJIB… Rick Evans from Salem, has joined the staff at KZOK. He’s on the air from 7 PM to midnight weekdays.

Unexpected interest in Wally Nelskog’s radio station call-letter tinkering finally got Nelskog himself into the act.
The president of KIXI, affirms that call-letter predecessors of his Renton station were both KQDE and KUDY.
Nelskog says his “cutie” radio stations were as follows-KUTI Yakima; KUDI Great Falls Montana; KQDY Minot, North Dakota; KQDI Bismarck North Dakota; KQTY Everett; KUDE Oceanside, California; KQDE and KUDY Renton.
KUDY became KIXI Seattle in the fall of 1961, after 2 1/2 years of litigation and 12 months zoning for towers in the Mercer Slough.
If KIXI AM gets permission to move to 880 on the dial there will be no call letter change.

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