Enchanting Harbor Island

KOL AM started around 1929, making it one
of Seattle’s earliest radio stations. It was owned by the Seattle
Broadcasting Company, and located in a building on Harbor Island. There
aren’t many records of the station’s earliest days. By 1958, KOL was a
Top 40 station. The studios were still on Harbor Island, surrounded by
gasoline storage tanks, railroad tracks, and busy shipyards.

I came to Seattle in the summer of 1965, and visited KOL one rainy night that fall. On the air was Danny Holiday. I asked him lots of questions, and I must admit that although Danny and I became friends over the years, and was one of the first to call me on the phone after my heart attack May 23, 2005, he really pissed me off that night! We both laugh about it now — but it served me well. It made me absolutely determined to one day sit in his chair and play the hits!  I joined KJR in 1966, and in 1968 Danny called me from KUUU and offered me a job. Dick Curtis called that same day offering me a job at KOL. As I was delirous with a 104 fever that day, I turned them both down. I wasnt until I got over the flu that I remembered the phone calls. Despite turning down Curtis’ original offer, I moved to KOL in April  1968. Twenty years after first meeting Danny Holliday, 1985, he was doing the Rock n Roll Time Machine on KZOK.  I was flattered when he requested that I fill in for him while he was on vacation. I did, and it went so well that KZOK hired me to do thirteen Weekend Specials. What fun! Thanks Danny

As for Kolorful KOL, in 1965, you could find Dex Allen, B.R. Bradbury, and Buzz Barr on the
AM. Buzz was made PD, and he re-launched KOL as "Kolorful KOL, 13
Double O." Robin Mitchell came on board in 1967. Robert O. Smith,
Robert_o whom i first met working at KJR, also moved to KOL.  Dick Curtis moved over from KJR as PD, and he also did
afternoons. Tom Murphy, Bobby Simon, Gary Crow, Robin MItchell, Chris Hill, Greg Connors, Don Wade, Paul Oscar Anderson,George Garret, Gary West and many other radio legends were part of KOL  Buckley Broadcasting became the new owner and GM in 1968. Dick Curtis was named GM of the AM in 69. He brought Lan Roberts back
again to be PD and morning man.
Kolorful_kol

A Little Bit Country…

IN 1973, KOL FM’s independent programming ended. They briefly
simulcasted with the AM again and then switched to soft rock. In 1975,
both stations were sold to Hercules Broadcasting, owned by Manning
Slater. The FM was changed to KEUT, an automated, beautiful-music
format. The AM became KMPS, with a country format patterned after a
station they owned in Sacramento. Rick Stewart was PD and also on the
air, along with Art Lind, and Lee Rogers, playing the KMPS "Corral of
Country Hits." Kay Spilker was sales manager, and Jim McGovern was GM.

18 Responses to “Enchanting Harbor Island”

  1. Dan Dennis

    AWWWW. Seattle radio in that time was just amazing, I remember listening to you in the evenings, with the timer from my old RCA table clock radio set for 1 hour. The first time I heard LOVE’s version of Hey Joe was on your program , the same with CCR Graveyard Train. I thank you for the memories!! I had a small heart issue in December. Damn this getting old is for the birds! Thank You Burl

    Reply
  2. Mike Barer

    The 3 letter call sign signifies one of the early stations. KXA gave up it’s 3 letter call sign so it can be “The Truth” it should be KRAP, but I don’t think the FCC would issue that one.

    Reply
  3. dave zarkin

    I was a huge KOL fan in the late 50s when I attended UW and living in ZBT house. Jockey John Stone was huge on KOL and I later heard him on a small N. CA station. I was a big fan of KAYO and the morning drive guy was Al something who called KAYO “poor but honest radio.” The hours I wasted listening to Top 40 in the late 50s…oh my. My grade average would havea skyrocketed if I would have thrown out my Arvin radio. Early evenings Jim something with a deep baritone did “soothing music” and poetry on KOMO and you won’t believe this but John Deremus is doing the same thing today on CBS affiliate KNXR in Rochester, MN. (syndicated I am sure) Mind boggling.

    Reply
  4. linnea

    Wow…
    Here I am, watching Dog Whisperer re-runs, and next thing you know, I’m reliving the days of my first transistor radio.
    Thanks for the memories…

    Reply
  5. wendy bickerton

    Could you please offer any information you have on John Deremus I have been trying to locate any recordings of him. I am from NewZealand and a radio station would broadcast his stories on late night radio.I would be very thankful if you could help me.
    Thankyou, Wendy Bickerton

    Reply
  6. Bill

    Geeze, Burl, in your list of KOL “legends,” how come you left out Don Hughes, Logan Stewart, Bob Fuller and your old newsman, Bill Taylor? And what about RHW1, Tom Connors, Jeff Boeing,POA,Gary Todd,Lee Perkins and Jim Meeker?
    C’mon!

    Reply
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  9. WJE

    To the Zarkin note (above):
    The morning guy at KAYO was Hal Raymond.
    The poetry readings, voiced by Dave Ballard, were on KIXI (Center Aisle 91)not KOMO.
    Jim Willis was another of Wally Nelskog’s stable of memorable announcers at KIXI.
    Rudy Perez, Martin Tobin, Bill Wippel, Bill Foster, Dean Smith and Ken Stewart were also part of KIXI’s rich sound in the ’60s and ’70s.
    The golden-voiced Dick Guthrie hosted “Music Till Midnight” on KING radio in the early 1960s, and then was the night booth announcer at KOMO TV for many years.
    Jockey John Stone was the program director and afternoon drive DJ at KJR before before he went to KOL. While at KJR, Stone hired both Pat O’Day (from KAYO) and Dick Curtis.

    Reply
  10. DT

    I saw a YouTube clip from KOMO-TV circa 1977 & the announcer saying “KOMO-TV Channel 4 Seattle” is that of Dick Guthrie. Is he still around or did he pass away sometime ago?

    Reply
  11. Spike Friedman

    I knew Martin Tobin since
    the early 50’s in Walla Walla; and well as taught “Bounci’n Burl Barer the boad at his first radio gig at KTEL in Walla Walla; worked with Gregory Jerome Alavekiu AKA Greg Connors at KORD in Pasco, WA in ’65-66. Later in 1968-69 Jim Liniger was my PD at KYXI in Portland.
    Those were the simple good old days – for sure.

    Reply
  12. Duane Vincent

    Dick Guthrie is long since deceased. I first met him more than 50 years ago when he, Buzz Lawrence and Bill O’Mara shared hosting duties on KING-AM’s NIGHTLINE. Classically trained, he also hosted the Sunday night program Music To End The Weekend.
    My mentor and friend, Dick was the inspiration for me to later in life become involved in Seattle radio (KBBX-FM) as a weekend announcer.

    Reply
  13. Duane Vincent

    Ah! The glory days of Seattle radio – voices like Harry Wallace, Del Olney, Frosty Fowler, Bill Carter, Jim French – Bill Yeend of KIRO and KOMO radio was fresh out of Washington State University and working the day shift at KBBX-FM when I was working weekend evenings at that station.
    The night that the astronauts were resting on the moon prior to their historic moonwalk in 1969, I was working at KBBX-FM. For 45 minutes, I played a medley of songs in our station library with the word “moon” in the title; on the way home, I was delighted to hear a competing station (KIXI) doing the very same thing!

    Reply

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