Country station tries relaying British news

January 1, 1968
Victor Stredicke

A country music FM station in Chehalis is going highbrow with its newscasts–experimentally–in one of those things that may someday be realized as a communications explosion.
KGME-FM 102.9 Mc, is the first Western Washington radio station to program direct news broadcasts from the British Broadcast Corporation. The programs are presently aired at 9:30 AM and 1:25 PM.
The broadcasts offer different news emphasis, transmitted from BBC shortwave broadcasts. They are not the transcription commentaries frequently used locally as public service fills.
The FM station is co-channel with KTW FM. An outside antenna pointed South, an off-switch for AFC and a mighty fine tuning hand are required to pick up the station north of Tacoma.
The experiment is an attempt to form an overseas monitoring network by Pacific Broadcasting System of Vancouver, Washington. British shortwave broadcasts, while available for rebroadcast anywhere, are incredibly hard to receive in the Western states. The firm, with special antennas and equipment, hopes it has a technological monopoly. Several Seattle stations are watching the operation, but pondering the audience interest in such a service.

New network services debut

Three of the splintered ABC network services debuted in the area over the past week. The American Entertainment Network is carried on KTAC in Tacoma. The Information Network on KOMO Seattle, and the American FM Network on KETO FM Seattle. The Contemporary Radio Network, designed for a top 40 station format, is not contracted.
KOMO now carries 12 network newscasts a day, plus Paul Harvey commentaries (at 8 AM and noon) and a number of weekend sports summaries. The station expects little listener reaction.
“This new plan will enable KOMO to continue to provide the best in national news coverage without changing the basic format,” John Behnke, station manager explained, “… A format which has gained wide acceptance in the area.”
The affiliation with KTAC makes the first time one of the three major networks has been represented in Tacoma. Familiar voices on the 850 kc dial setting will now include Joseph C Harsch, Alex Dryer and Tom Harmon.
The Don McNeill show will be heard weekday mornings at 10:05 on KTAC.

On the business side

The business office at KJR is promoting a bridal fashion show in February, by invitation only. The station, always ready to improve its listener image, has a vested interest. Amazing how a simple wedding ring changes a “teenybopper” into a “young homemaker.” But it does.
The FCC has approved an application for an FM affiliate for KWIQ Incorporated, Moses Lake and received an application from Goetz Enterprises Incorporated Yakima, for a new FM station. An FM station for Kennewick has been proposed by Cascade Broadcasting.
The FCC also approved a request from KRSC Othello for assignment of license to a revised corporation including R. Daniel Leary. The license of KENY a Whatcom County radio station off the air since August, is being placed in the hands of a receiver. Another station, in the same area, KAGT Anacortes, has reduced its broadcast day. The station now signs off at 9 PM.
KOQT Bellingham, went off the air the past month due to management problems.

KUOW fills broadcast week.

Yesterday, concluding a two-year plan, KUOW began broadcasting on Saturdays. Broadcasting is from noon to midnight, with new releases and concert music for the first four hours.
A commentary block is presented from 4 to 6 PM and recordings of local speeches or lectures are offered at 7 PM.
From 8 PM to 11, ‘The Swing Years,’ with Don Wirtz as host, offers a nostalgic Saturday evening, and a concluding hour of folk music is presented by Walter Simon.

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Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times (1964-1989). --- View other articles by Victor Stredicke

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