1985: Sky Walker To Lead Spokane Air Wars

VICTOR STREDICKE April 28, 1985, THE SEATTLE TIMES — Sky Walker left KPLZ last week, to prepare for work on new stations in Spokane. He will be program director for KUDY-AM-FM. The stations have been acquired by Medina Broadcast Group, whose president is Phil Syrdal, a Medina resident. Syrdal, previously a magazine publisher and furniture-store owner, was sales manager at KIRO when the all-news format was introduced. Syrdal said he had commissioned a study of the Spokane radio market, but format plans for his new properties will not be announced until late in May. A format change on one or the other of the stations is likely. KUDY had been operated as a sponsored-religion format. Walker had been air personality and promotion director at KPLZ since 1983, with four years of air work previously at KJR. Walker will keep his air name, which fell on him about the time “Star Wars” first came out.
Talk-show host cuts back — Jerry Dimmitt has cut back his marathon workload, stopped the Amtrak commute from Portland to Lakewood’s KLAY, 1280 kHz. The end of Dimmitt’s five-month stint came as a surprise to Tim Blair, manager, who used the impetus of Dimmitt to develop a full-scale talk-radio format on the suburban station. But Dimmitt decided revenue from commissions on his segment didn’t quite offset the train ticket ($23) and time involved. Dimmitt, willing to feud with his audience at the press of a dial tone, said there is much pressure on a small station attempting talk. “Two clients stop advertising and it hurts,” Dimmitt said. Cliff Wilson stepped in as KLAY’s new talk host. Dimmitt also walked away from his part-time gig at KKEY, Portland, and has moved to part-time and weekend work at KHJ, a powerful Portland news and talk station. “I have to believe there is a conspiracy to keep talk radio out of Seattle,” said Dimmitt, a talk-show host at KAYO in 1970.“Talk is blossoming in Portland and in every other large city.”
Twisting the dial– Roall Erickson, probably most familiar from his years as a KVI newsman, winds up 40 years in broadcasting this week, and so KASY, 1210 kHz., his present employer, has declared Tuesday “Roall Erickson Day” on the station. KBCS, student-run station at Bellevue Community College, has increased its power from 100 watts to 1,200 watts. The station operates monaurally at 91.3 mHz., with a format including jazz, folk, blues and bluegrass music. The quarterly newsletter for KRAB supporters reports that the appearance of KMGI on 107.7 mHz. “has nothing to do with us, the old KRAB. We’re still here . . . working to get back on the air.” Acoustical experts and architects are designing new facilities at KRAB’s Jackson Street site. Patti Par is away from the “KMPS Morning Show” for maternity leave; Suze Falkner is filling in. But in a few weeks, Par may return. The station has installed broadcast equipment so she can issue highway reports from her home. ABC Radio coverage of the Kentucky Derby will be broadcast in the 2 o’clock hour Saturday, on KOMO, 1000 kHz. The May 18 Preakness Stakes also is on the ABC schedule. Jim Cameron, owner and manager of KWWW, Wenatchee, plans on introducing a new station, KWWW-FM, in Quincy, 30 miles away. The Wenatchee station calls itself KW3, avoiding the mouthful that Kay-doubleyou-doubleyou-doubleyou would be. Cameron said relaxed FCC rules allow the use of the same call letters in different towns. “Ours will be the first such use in the state,” he said. Cameron said the new FM signal, from Monument Hill, would blanket Grant County. “In Wenatchee, it’ll be like our second signal in the market, but in Grant County and the Columbia Basin it’ll be a new market for us,” Cameron said. (The only other stations with shared call letters that I know are shared are familiar enough to West Coast travelers: KCBS-AM in San Francisco and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times (1964-1989). --- View other articles by Victor Stredicke
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1 thought on “1985: Sky Walker To Lead Spokane Air Wars

  1. I remember traveling to Montana in 1985 and hearing a radio station called Spirit 99 in Spokane the call letters were KQSP.. That was the best radio station I ever heard and I remember hearing Sky Walker on there. They would play oldies and mix it with brand new hits.

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