December 2021 – Kent Phillips eases out of KPLZ after 35 years at that station. That is a record, for a radio personality in Seattle. For the first 33 years, Alan Budwill partnered with Phillips as the team of ‘Kent & Alan’. Budwill retired in January 2019, broadcasting from his San Juan Island home, rather than going into the studio each morning, for the final 2 years of the partnership. This is now a common method used by personalities, but it started long before Covid.
The record for longevity at one station by a Seattle radio personality had previously been held by Larry Nelson. Nelson was a popular KOMO 1000 personality, working other dayparts at the station before taking ownership of the morning show.
Larry Nelson had been the afternoon drive personality at Bellevue’s ‘middle of the road’ music station KFKF (92.5) along with Dick Stokke, Gene Larson, Tom Hood, Stas Loutas and Terry McManus. Nelson spent about 3 years at KFKF before automation took over, pushing the KFKF record-spinners out the door.
In December 1968, Jay Ward, KOMO 1000 Program Director, gave up the morning program to undertake the duties of KOMO radio General Manager. At that time, Buddy Webber was the afternoon drive personality at KOMO. Old-timers will remember that Buddy Webber also had a variety show on KOMO TV. Buddy sang and played the piano. He interviewed guests, local dignitaries and celebrities passing through town.
When Jay Ward gave up his morning drive shift, Larry Walker was brought in for mornings at KOMO 1000.
At about that time, (December 1968) an automation system replaced the personalities at KFKF. Larry Nelson moved over to KOMO radio as the 7pm-Midnight personality. In June 1969, Larry Nelson moved to the afternoon drive show, 3p-7p at KOMO. His replacement in the 7pm time slot was Charlie Burd. Charlie Burd’s time as a KOMO DJ lasted only weeks and Tracy Smith replaced Burd in July 1969. Tracy Smith later became Tracy Steele, entertaining at KVI and other area stations. In November, Tracy Smith was replaced by Lloyd Allan, who came to KOMO after two years at 770 KXA.
In September 1970, Larry Nelson was moved into the morning drive position at KOMO radio. Del Olney became the KOMO mid-day personality 10a-3pm, Don Cannon the 3pm afternoon drive-time guy, and Bill McDonnell 7pm-Midnight. Music All Night was the Midnight to 6 easy listening program on KOMO.
Larry Nelson remained as morning mayor at KOMO 1000 for the next 26 years. Nelson retired on November 1st 1996, after nearly 28 years with KOMO.
At the time Kent & Alan debuted at KPLZ, the station was co-owned with KVI-AM, by movie star/song-writer, Gene Autry. Autry owned several radio stations under the Golden West banner. Since then, through several ownership changes, KVI-AM, KOMO AM/FM and KPLZ FM are now owned by Lotus Communications.