KISM-FM 1970’s Memorabilia

In doing some newspaper archive searches in the “Western Front” (student newspaper of Western Washington University), I found a couple interesting pieces of memorabilia associated with KISM in Bellingham. KISM was originally the FM owned by radio innovator Rogan Jones, and it was sister station to KGMI-AM which, before those call letters, was KVOS.  The first newspaper ad is from February 1972.  KISM was very much an automated oldies station at that time. And in those days, most of the oldies they played were not all that old!

The next ad is from six years later, October 1978, right before Halloween. Mike Bettelli, in the photo, went on to KOMO in Seattle. And occasionally he pops in here at Puget Sound Media. Maybe he will fill us in on some of KISM’s history. Going way back, I recall that the early calls were KVGM. Since Rogan Jones was the founder of International Good Music (IGM) his home base call letters, in the sixties, translated to  “K-Good Music Incorporated” (KGMI-AM) and “K-Very Good Music” (KVGM-FM). KVGM and it’s elevator music really never caught on. When Mike was the PD at KISM, I used to see him around town with the late Pat Rowe, who was also closely associated with KISM.

Thanks to a tip from John Fortmeyer, who checks in on Puget Sound Media, we are able to provide a demo tape of the Draper-Blore automated Olde Golde format that was distributed by IGM. Again this is not an actual KISM aircheck (although I believe I may have one somewhere) but it is characteristic of the early ’70s sound of the Olde Golde format — less the local content.

Draper-Blore format: Olde Golde (run time 19:30)

Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with QZVX.COM in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions. View other articles by Steven Smith
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6 thoughts on “KISM-FM 1970’s Memorabilia

    1. John…you are correct…that is what they were playing. I recall all the old audio news clips mixed with the music. It is funny because back then some of the gold was only about 5 years old. Now the songs would be in their sixties. I will embed a copy of that aircheck into the post.

  1. But Jason, isn’t that what automated radio was all about — emphasizing the music and de-emphasizing the yak-yak? That was the philosophy behind the nationally popular Drake-Chenault “Hit Parade” and “Solid Gold” formats carried by KIRO-FM 100.7 and KFKF-FM 92.5 in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the TM Productions format carried by KOL-FM 94.1 in the mid-1970s and KNWR-FM 104.3 in Bellingham in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    Examples of these and other automated formats can be found at

  2. Steven, if you are able to find that KISM aircheck from the Olde Golde days and post it here, I’d love to hear it!

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