Seattle’s Greatest Call Letters

My vote is for K-I-N-G. Followed by KSEA, KTAC (Tacoma), KLAY (Clay Huntington), KFKF (Kemper Freeman), KTNT (Tacoma News Tribune) and just the letters TNT (dynamite!), and in TV, KTVW TV Washington. How about KRKO. At a time when RKO was a major movie company, Everett had these call letters. Your faves?

10 comments

  • 1Oldradio

    I like KJUN or cajun for a reason. 🙂

    • pugetsound

      This comment posted earlier, but later disappeared. This is a known issue – but no fix is known. Don’t be alarmed. It just has to be watched.
      Sincerely,
      The Watcher

  • john fortmeyer

    The historic three-letter calls: KJR, KXA, KTW, KOL (Seattle) KVI (first Tacoma, then Seattle), KMO (Tacoma), KGY (Olympia). It’s interesting that one of them briefly was added to a TV station (KMO-TV when Channel 13 first started), and that another TV station could also have gotten them (KJR, KXA) when there was competition for the Channel 7 license that KIRO eventually won.
    Too bad later owners of most of these radio stations changed to four-letter calls and thus lost a piece of history.

  • pugetsound

    Any station with a solid format, could have kept the three call-letters. But the formats being brought in were either weak or the history was simply not appreciated by the new owners. KOL – give me a break! Those call letter should never have been changed. Big mistake! Some stations have tried to revive the letters with clumsy 4-letter calls: KKOL, KKMO. Yuk!

  • lonergan

    Among stations I worked for, KTNT was a great name, changed when the News Tribune sold it to KPMA which was not-so-great. KITN was a warm and fuzzy name in Olympia, but it became hard-to-say KQEU by the time I worked there. K-BRO in Bremerton has become a better call sign today with many guys calling each other “Bro.” The worst named station I worked for was KURB (competitors said our slogan should be “One step above the gutter”) but it switched to one of the best station names, KAAR Radio on your car radio. And it was always fun to walk into KLAY and see namesake Clay sitting at his desk. On the TV side, I worked briefly for KNDU in the Tri-Cities–along with Yakima’s KNDO they were the “Can-Do” stations. (Their competitors on the TV dial had clever geographic names: KEPR in KEnnewick, Pasco and Richland –pronounced “Keeper”–and KIMA in YaKIMA.) Amazing all the creativity in just 4 letters!

    • pugetsound

      KPMA was an agonizing slow death for a once-great radio station. To lose the dial position altogether, having it moved to Bremerton, was like salt in the wound. I visited KTNT studios at 11th & Grant a few times, meeting personalities like Bruce Vanderhoof back when the station was a Mutual affiliate. That particular visit was during a time when Mutual was trying to revive radio drama. Death of a Salesman was featured the night I sat in with Vanderhoof. He gave me a tour of both the radio and tv facilities there.

  • john fortmeyer

    I must correct my earlier posting at one point. It was KVI, not KJR, that competed with KXA and KIRO for the Channel 7 license that was awarded around 1957. My apologies for the error. But KJR WAS earlier — around 1953 — in competition for another TV license — Channel 4, which KOMO eventually secured.

    • pugetsound

      KMO 13 tv was an NBC affiliate for only a few months before KOMO took the affiliation from them. In 1959, KOMO switched to ABC and KING became the NBC station. These stations have held those affiliations ever since. CBS was fought over by KTNT 11 and KIRO 7. At one point, for a period of about 2 years, both stations were affiliated with CBS, making most of that network’s progeamming available on both channels. At the same time, nearby KVOS was also affiliated with CBS. Being the 1st station in the market, KING had multiple networks, including Dumont.

  • maplevalleymike

    Walla Walla had K-HIT, which actually was bought by a Seattle Station. http://mvbarer.blogspot.com/2009/06/note-on-k-hit-radio.html K=SEA would be right there. KIRO is catchy and is etched in people’s heads.

  • maplevalleymike

    Seattle had KOMO and Tacoma had KMO, that had to be confusing. Today, stations chuck the call letters so you have “The Sound” and “The Bull”

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