Late Night Switch Puts King on KING

May 5, 1985
How did Larry King, the nation’s premier radio-talk-show host, pop up at KING-AM after all these years on KVI?
Short memory, folks. It’s King’s third Seattle station since signing on with the Mutual Broadcasting System. KIRO, then hungry for late-night talk, carried the first broadcast in January 1978. But even with KIRO’s emerging all-news format, the station had a hard time clearing other Mutual programs. Tired of the stepsister relationship, Mutual finagled an affiliation switch to KVI. It was “The Larry King Show” that KVI wanted. King’s glib, street-smart style fit well, and during one phase of KVI’s venture into talk-radio, King _ live and in weekend repeats _ filled 56 program hours a week. King came to Seattle in 1982 to do a single-shot KVI play-by-play of the Mariners, fulfilling his career fantasy _ to broadcast major-league baseball.

But when the hastily reassembled KVI personality staff was dispatched, King’s show was pushed back to midnight _ an unpromoted man of iron awash in solid-gold rock ‘n’ roll.

The new KING-AM affiliation has a direct effect on Seattle King-aholics. With a 9 p.m. air time, listeners can participate again in the show as it airs, quizzing guests or spouting off during “Open Phone America” segments. And if insomnia dictates, they can hear it all again during late-night repeats through 5 a.m. Jim Bohannon will host a Saturday-night version of the show, and “The Best of Larry King” will run Sundays from 9 p.m. to midnight. Fifty-one hours.

Greg Tantum, KING-AM’s program and operations manager, described the additions as “a natural next step in the evolution of KING 1090 into a total news-and-information leader.” KING’s competition is KIRO, not KVI.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Shannon Sweatte, general manager of KVI, said. KVI will remain the primary Mutual affiliate, “running news when we need it,” Sweatte said. A KVI satellite receiver will switch “The Larry King Show” to KING-AM over telephone lines.

What does Larry King, himself, think about being the linchpin in a struggle to win listeners between information stations? He loves it. During a phone interview in 1980, when Mutual transferred to KVI, King was willing to predict the outcome.

“I know who the winner will be,” he confided. “The station that does the best job.’

FROM THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

Larry Nelson will be in New York City while hosting his regular morning show Monday on KOMO, 1000 kHz., from 5:30 to 10 a.m. The occasion is to check out “42nd Street,” the New York musical which will soon check in for a run at the Fifth Avenue in Seattle.

It’s not certain at this writing what the exact site of the early-morning program will be. Nelson might be broadcasting from the glitter of New York’s Orpheum Theater; from a high-visibility sidewalk site on 42nd Street itself; or in the air-conditioned comfort of ABC’s network studios.

Nelson’s guests are expected to include cast members of the musical, Mayors Koch and Royer; and some ABC soap stars and news anchors.

TWISTING THE DIAL

KEZX has named Nancy Low music director. With the added duties comes an air-shift shuffle, with Low moving from nights to midday;

Peyton Mays moving from middays to afternoons; and Carol Handley, familiar name in jazz-radio, joining the station as 7 p.m.-to-midnight host, including the “Softside” segment in the 10 and 11 o’clock hours.

Certifiably the worst broadcast voice on Puget Sound radio, “Victor the Predictor” (Vic Cozzetti), is doing nightly Longacres race results on KAMT, 1360 kHz.

Author: Victor Stredicke

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

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