KOL’s Last Run To The Top – 1969 to 1972

After chasing KJR through most of the ’60s, KOL re-fired its engines for what may have been a last gasp rally. From ’69 through part of ’72 KOL had solid leadership, outstanding jocks (some of the best voice master personalities in town) and Seattle’s first FM operation. Here’s a composite of chronological airchecks which collectively reflect KOL’s sound. Total time 5:40.
1969 – Burl Barer, Sept. 4. Jingle theme: “KOL– ahead of it’s time,” with Terry McManus station ID. Remember the Sky River Rock Festival? Then, Lan Roberts Oct. 31. The in-your-face International Garbage Record Festival, during which Roberts played KJR’s Concerto. Also Don Chambers headline news.
1970 – Don Clark, Sept. 2. Jingle theme: “The Golden 1300″/McManus ID, Joe Fiala News. Then Don Clark again, Dec. 25. The top 100 songs of the year, a Coca Cola spot from evening jock Paxton Mills, George Garret news, a McManus voicer for the hit movie “Love Story,” and a Ken Matler 1970 retrospect segment.
1971 – Lan Roberts, Jan. 22, with his Terry McManus sidekick Jimmy Stalwart and another thunder throat news guy, Jim Bach. Feb. 22. Off-air PD Robin Mitchell filling in and introducing new “Where Your Friends Are” jingle package.
Robert O. Smith, July 12, afternoon drive show, and a women’s lib award.
Some believe KOL peaked in ’71 (when the FM went 24-hours) and recaptured, maybe exceeded, its magic of the mid-’60s. What do you think?

Buckley Broadcasting took over KOL in ’67. Soon gone was the “fake-Drake”
that dominated much of KOL’s ’60s sound. New program director Dick Curtis left KJR (after nearly six years there) in late ’67. He launched KOL-FM’s progressive rock in June ’68, became KOL general manager in Jan. ’69 and hired morning star Lan Roberts away from KJR in May, ’69. Roberts was KOL’s off-air program director (due to a non-compete contract at KJR) and became KOL morning drive jock in early Oct. ’69. Popular KOL talent Robin Mitchell, who left the station in Aug. ’69, replaced Roberts as off-air PD when Curtis brought Mitchell back to the station in April, ’70. The Curtis-Mitchell team led KOL through one of its most successful periods until both were fired in the summer of ’72. Before that, further proof of KOL’s efforts to air big-name personalities was the hiring of another long-time KJR favorite, Tom Murphy, in fall of ’71 after Murphy’s brief stint at KRLA in Los Angeles. When Curtis and Mitchell left, Murphy became PD a short while, leaving later in ’72. Things unraveled after that. The station’s FM dropped independent programming in late Sept. ’73, and within a few weeks nearly everyone was fired and KOL went soft rock, abandoning eight consecutive years of Top-40 (after a similar six-year rock music run from ’57 to ’63). KOL never quite surpassed KJR’s high listener ratings, partly because of technical/signal issues. Buckley sold KOL to Hercules Broadcasting (in ’75) which converted the FM to automated beautiful music and retired the 46-year KOL call sign to make way for KMPS.

KOL On-Air Roll Call (’69-’72) –
Robin Mitchell, Dick Curtis, Burl Barer, Bobby Simon, Robert O. Smith, Lan Roberts,Terry McManus, Don Clark, Paxton Mills, Don Burns, Greg Connors, Chris Hill, Bill Ford, Tom Murphy, Gary Crow, Jack Morton, Don Wade, Johnny Novak, Robin Sherwood, Patrick McDonald, Bud Moegling, Max Anne, Bruce Bowles, Paul Gregg, Mee Shore
News Roll Call (’69-’72) –
Bill Munson,Bill Taylor,Don Chambers,George Garret, Gary West, Ken Matler, Joe Fiala, Jim Bach

Author: Ronald DeHart

Ron DeHart is a former newspaper and broadcast journalist and a retired Public Affairs Officer from both the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Navy/Naval Reserve. His historical accounts of Pacific Northwest broadcasting are published by Puget Sound Media. View more articles by Ron DeHart  

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