KHIT Bremerton Debuts; A New & Improved KSEA; Odd Call Letters For 1560 Sumner

July 8, 1984 – Does Seattle really need another contemporary hit radio station? Bob Bingham‘s research indicates it does. You need it, you got it. KHIT radio is on the air, 106.9 MHz. “It began Wednesday”, said Bingham, “because July 4th seemed like it might make a good anniversary date.“
Bingham‘s new FM station is, of course, the old KWWA licensed to Bremerton and, although an automated contemporary hit station already, virtually ignored by Seattle listeners. Bingham has separated the FM station from its Kitsap county sister station KBRO. The new KHIT will attempt to attract listeners from Tacoma, Seattle and Everett as well. The stations new tower site on Gold Mountain, near Bremerton, ensures a reception pattern across most of Puget sound and Elliot Bay.
“Our strength will come from the personalities we present,“ Bingham explained. “We’ve taken the handcuffs off our announcers. Listeners who have dialed across other hit stations may have noticed that only morning disc jockeys do much; the rest of the day is pretty much just music.“ KHIT‘s unleashed personalities are Crazy Steve Randall, 6 to 10 AM, From Los Angeles, but also with two turbulent stints at KNBQ and briefly KISW. From 10 AM to 3 PM, Jerry Kay resurfaces. Mostly he’s been doing KVI weekend work, but back in the 1960s Kay was a rock jock at KJR. Afternoons are held down by Morrie Shanahan, a high energy personality who most recently worked in New Zealand. Steve Rabow resurrects, from KYYX-KXA-KZAM, from 7 PM to midnight, and Jennifer Michaels is on from midnight to 6 AM. She previously worked at KNBQ and KUBE. Bob Wikstrom is operations manager and music director; Chet Rogers will be the drive time news voice. In a week or two, Seattle offices will be opened in Watermark Tower – which is within walking distance of the Bremerton ferry. Bingham said 50% of the programming would originate from the Seattle studios.

Just as there are variations in rock formats, there are gradations between easy listening stations. KSEA, along with a Sister station in Los Angeles, KBIG, have developed what is billed as a distinctive easy-listening format. Keyed to and to be syndicated further by Bonneville Broadcast Systems in Chicago, the format focuses on vocals as much as instrumentals, 55% vocals actually. This easy – listening format was introduced last Sunday. KSEA endorsed vocalists include Anne Murray, Lionel Richie, Al Jarreau and Barbra Streisand. William T. Knudsen, vice president and general manager of KSEA, said, “The playlist has been cut from 10,000 pieces of music, much of which we weren’t too thrilled with, to approximately 800 gorgeous pieces of contemporary easy listening tunes.” Virtually all music on KSEA will be either original artist hits or custom arrangements produced in Los Angeles by Bonneville Broadcast Systems.

January 19, 1986 – There is a new radio station in Sumner, airing mainly religious programming. 1560 AM is now KARP. The station is owned by Lloyd Hannah, Tacoma broadcast engineer…Everett radio 1380 AM, previously known as KBAE, is now Radio Free Everett, KFRE. 1380 would actually be Free Radio Everett if you follow the order of call letters…January 30, 1976 – KZOK celebrates its second anniversary this weekend. From 3 o’clock this afternoon until 8 pm Sunday, the station will play record albums in a Great Groups Weekend. Groups tonight include The Beach Boys, The Who, Rod Stewart and Faces, and Jethro Tull.

Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times. --- View other articles by Victor Stredicke
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