8/4/88-KIRO again rules the ratings roost; Larry will share time with Sally and Tom; Your favorite Martians? ‘War of the Worlds’ gets an updating

VICTOR STREDICKE – August 4, 1988 – It’s hard to believe that a 17 percent increase in audience could be ho-hum. But that’s what happened as KIRO became the double-digit winner in radio’s ratings game – again. KIRO Newsradio’s familiar mix of news, sports and talk garnered a 10.4 share of all listeners age 12 and older in the spring ratings compiled by the Arbitron Co. KIRO has been Seattle’s dominant station for almost a decade.

KIRO’s return to the top pushed the winter champ, the contemporary-music station KUBE, back to second place with a comfortable 7.9 share, compared with winter’s killer 9.4 share and last year’s 5.2 share.

KPLZ, a hot youth-music station, racked up its best numbers ever to move into third place. KPLZ’s jump to 7.7 nearly doubled last spring’s 4.1 share.

The combined KMPS-AM-FM drew a 5.4 share, consistent enough for the dominant country-music station (competing KRPM-AM-FM had a 2.2 share). KISW continued meandering between the threes and fives with a 4.8 share. (KISW’s close music rival, KXRX, followed with a 4.3 share, and KZOK’s “classic rock” had a 2.8 share.)

KOMO faltered. The easygoing station dropped from a 7.4 share last spring to a 4.7 this season, making it an uneasy No. 6 in the marketplace.

One of the area’s newest broadcast competitors, KXRK, seemed to reinforce its 4.3 share. Other stations with new formats, KNUA’s “new age” music and KBSG’s oldies, drew a 1.5 and a promising 3.3, respectively. The other oldies station, KVI, stayed level with a 2.6 share.

The 12-and-older figures are a convenient benchmark to compare stations in total audience, but most stations aim for certain segments of the audience.

The stations with formats called “adult contemporary,” for example, rely heavily on their female audiences. Rock stations tend to count young male listeners. A station that looks first at older listeners, KIXI-AM, drew a 4.1 share, a 50 percent increase over last year – enough to be No. 8 in total audience.

Fall ratings tend to be used to set new advertising rates, and the spring ratings tend to validate those rates. Fall ratings generally reflect football, and spring ratings encompass basketball and maybe soccer. So programmers might look deeper into the ratings book to see why KJR’s acquisition of the Sonics’ broadcasts seemed negligible, and KOMO’s excursion with the Stars scored no goals.


The Seattle Seahawks return in a series of preseason broadcasts beginning at 7:30 p.m. today on KIRO, 710 kHz.

Pete Gross returns for his 13th season as the Seahawks’ play-by-play announcer. Wayne Cody assists with pre- and postgame features and Steve Raible is color commentator.

Pregame features, including “The Enemy Coach Show” and “The Chuck Knox Pregame Show,” begin two hours before kickoff.


It’s seldom, indeed, that one radio station mentions another – even when they clearly don’t compete for the same listener.

During a recent hot spell, KUBE’s Charlie Brown quoted the temperature at various locales and ad-libbed, “. . . and K-Bird says it’s 85 degrees, too.”

Charlie and colleague Ty Flint soon received a thank-you cake from Wes Longino, KBRD’s program director.


— Delilah Rene, midday personality at KJR, 950 kHz., has a series of remote broadcasts in August, including an inner-tube race and next Friday’s trip to Sunset Bowl, where she will watch the KJR disc-jockey bowling team. Later broadcasts from a classic drive-in restaurant will show her on roller skates challenging Marty Riemer, afternoon jock, to a waiter’s obstacle course.

— “Travel-Holiday Magazine Show,” a brief syndicated feature, airs at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. weekdays on KWYZ, 1230 kHz.

— Sunday’s hydroplane races on Lake Washington will be broadcast with related daylong coverage on KPLZ, 102.5 mHz., and KVI, 570 kHz. (Season-long coverage of the hydro races will continue on KWYZ, 1230 kHz., but main-heat broadcasts probably will be tape-delayed in deference to the KPLZ-KVI Seafair exclusive.)

August 11, 1988 – Too much Larry King! Airing from 8 p.m. to 4:30 in the morning, the three-hour “Larry King Show” has been repeated all night on KING-AM, since it began on the station. Come Monday, KING-AM fixes that by returning Sally Jessy Raphael and introducing the Tom Snyder Show.

The change was announced by Brian Jennings, new program director for KING’s News/Talk Radio.

Raphael disappeared from Seattle airwaves after jumping ship from NBC’s TalkNet. She eventually affiliated with the competing ABC TalkRadio, a service which hasn’t surfaced in Seattle, except at Lakewood’s local station, KLAY.

Raphael usually tackles topics such as romance, travel, family matters. The new Sally Jessy Raphael show will broadcast from 6 to 9 p.m. weekdays on KING-AM, 1090 kHz. Larry King will move to the 9 p.m.-to-midnight slot. Tom Snyder’s show, also from ABC TalkRadio, will premiere from midnight to 3 a.m. Snyder, probably best remembered as a late-night TV talk-show host, conducts no-holds-barred conversations, frequently with bizarre guests.

As a penalty for living on the West Coast, Seattle listeners can only participate in “live” phone-in segments in the 6 o’clock hour for Raphael, and from 9-11 p.m. for Larry King. (The shuffle probably means Seattle listeners will hear King’s scheduled guests – the beginning – in the 11 o’clock hour instead.)

Additionally, one of the three programs will repeat in the 3 a.m. hour.

In the 4 a.m. hour, the weekday Mutual News roundup “America in the Morning” will air.

Elvis memories

A three-hour syndicated program, “Memories of Elvis,” will be broadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday and repeated at 7 p.m. Tuesday on KVI, 570 kHz.

The program will include tributes to the king from D.J.

Fontana, the Jordonaires, Mac Davis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. The program is distributed by United Stations.

Convention coverage

KIRO-AM continues political-convention coverage, with reports and prime-time coverage focusing on keynote and acceptance speeches.

KPLU will carry local reports and some NPR coverage from St.


KUOW will carry blocks of continuous coverage.
September 8, 1988 – The famous radio play “War of the Worlds” is being updated for contemporary listeners. Originally broadcast in 1938 by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre group, this new version will star Jason Robards as the main witness to a Martian invasion that begins in Grovers Mill, N.J., and threatens to destroy the world. It is being produced by Otherworld Media, a Seattle-based production company. The principles are David Ossman, a founding member of The Firesign Theater, and Judith Walcutt, who previously produced children’s features at KUOW and KRAB in Seattle.

This “War of the Worlds” will include Steve Allen, Douglas Edwards, Scott Simon, Terry Gross, Hector Elizondo, Rene Auberjonois and Philip Proctor. Walcutt said all of the sound tracks were recorded in August in San Rafael, Calif. Mix-down will be next, and the production will be made available to public-radio stations across the nation. New rotary digital audio-track equipment was used throughout the production. Walcutt said segments calling for outdoors were recorded on location, and in observatory-like environs.

“This production exploits today’s media, as such an event might be heard on your local public-radio station on an ordinary Sunday night in 1988,” Ossman said. The Mercury Theatre’s production made Welles a star. Often overlooked is that the “radio screenplay” was written by Howard Koch. He has helped Ossman update the language of his original script.

“What gives Koch’s script its impact is its compression of time – from an innocent beginning to the `end of the world,’ ” Ossman said. “It’s pure radio for the ear.” Robards plays the astronomer who investigates the alien arrival. Allen portrays the network newsman who keeps “broadcasting to the very end.” Edwards, a retired announcer in real life, appears as another radio newscaster. Two NPR personalities, Scott Simon and Terry Gross, play another newscaster and disc jockey, respectively. Elizondo and Auberjonois are members of Classic Theatre Works of Los Angeles, which has produced radio dramas for NPR and the BBC. While in Boston, Ossman adapted several public-radio series, including “The Spider’s Web” and “Radio Movies.”

Immediate drama

“Mystery Theater,” a collection of hour dramas produced for CBS Radio in the ’70s and early ’80s, is returning to KIRO, 710 kHz., as weekend features. Beginning Saturday, programs will air at 6 and 7 p.m., followed by Sunday programs at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight (unless delayed by sports programming). It’s a tale spooky enough to send you through the creaking door: No radio drama since 1983, and now you get five hours every weekend.

Yoko answers critic

Yoko Ono makes what is described as her “first and only radio response” to controversy over a new book about John Lennon and his family in “Westwood One Special Report,” to be broadcast at 8 p.m. next Wednesday on KZOK, 102.5 mHz. Albert Goldman’s “The Lives of John Lennon” details the career and family life of the late singer-songwriter. Julian and Sean Lennon and others will participate in the program, which will be hosted by Elliot Mintz, confidant of the Lennons and host of the weekly radio program “The Lost Lennon Tapes,” also heard on KZOK.

Twisting the dial

— Maureen Matthews resigned as program director of KNUA to move to Los Angeles, where she has a wedding planned and a new position with Transtar, a national music-format distributor.

— Robert 0’Brien, former radio personality at such stations as KRKO and KQKT, returns Monday to Everett as morning personality at KWYZ, 1230 kHz. Familiar through eight years in Everett, O’Brien has been director of broadcast schools in Seattle and San Francisco. O’Brien will be teamed mornings again with Dennis Wills, colorful sports-and-news sidekick. They both previously worked at KRKO and KQKT.

— Wendy Christopher was bumped from the nighttime air shift at KUBE, 93.3, to make way for boss jock Chet Buchanan. Although assigned to off-air duties at KUBE, Christopher opted for a station jump instead – to middays at KMPS-AM-FM.

— Chris Brecher replaced Marion Seymour after her three-month venture as an midday talk-show host on KING-AM. KING will soon shuffle others as it makes way for a new afternoon talk host, Freddie Mertz, who will join the station Monday.

— Nancy Keith has been named broadcast director of the new Jack Straw Memorial Foundation station, KSER, planned for Everett. Keith, a former volunteer who was program director of KRAB, has served on the Jack Straw board for 15 years. She was on the faculty of Western Washington University.

— Larry Nelson leaves for South Korea this weekend to prepare for “KOMO Breakfast Table” broadcasts from Seoul during the first days of the Olympics.

Author: Victor Stredicke

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Some comments may be held for moderation. (New users)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.