|Broadcast area||Seattle metropolitan area|
|First air date||1922 (as KDZE)|
|Power||50,000 watts (day)|
47,000 watts (night)
|Transmitter coordinates||47°14′56″N 122°24′18″W|
|Former callsigns||KDZE (1922-1924)|
|Former frequencies||833 kHz (1922–1923)|
660 kHz (1923–1927)
670 kHz (1927-1928)
1270 kHz (1928–1941)
The station went silent on February 28, 2018, following the loss of its transmitter site, and is in the process of securing a new site in order to resume broadcasting. KKOL is one of the oldest radio stations in Seattle. It was first licensed, as KDZE, in May 1922.
KKOL was first licensed, with the sequentially assigned call letters KDZE, on May 23, 1922. It was owned by the Rhodes Company Department Store at 1321 Second Avenue in Seattle. In the early days of broadcasting, some stations were owned by department stores and electronics stores, to promote the sale of receivers.
C. B. Williams, the department store's advertising manager, coordinated the installation of the initial 50-watt transmitter. The station's glass-enclosed studio was located on the second floor of the store, where shoppers could observe its operation.
At this time there was only a single wavelength, 360 meters (833 kHz) available for "entertainment" broadcasts, so KDZE was required to make a time-sharing agreement with the other stations already in operation. On June 23, Seattle stations were scheduled to operate from noon to 10:30 p.m., with KDZE assigned the 3:30 to 4:15 p.m time period.
In May 1923, the U.S. Commerce Department, which regulated radio at this time, made a range of frequencies available to "Class B" stations that had higher powers and better programming. The Seattle region was initially assigned 610 kHz, with 660 kHz assigned to Portland. These two assignments were soon swapped, and in the summer of 1923 KDZE moved to 660 kHz.
In early 1924, in conjunction with an upgrade in facilities, the station's call sign was changed to KFOA. At this time the department store was issued a license to operate a second radio station, with 100 watts on 1110 kHz, which inherited the original KDZE call letters. This second KDZE was primarily used to broadcast the weekly Chamber of Commerce luncheons, and was deleted in March 1925.
On November 11, 1928, under the provisions of a major reallocation resulting from the Federal Radio Commission's (FRC) General Order 40, KFOA was reassigned from 660 kHz to 1270 kHz, sharing the assignment with KTW (now KKDZ).
The next month the station was sold to the Seattle Broadcasting Company, headed by Archie Taft, with the call letters changing to KOL. The studios were moved to the Northern Life Tower. In 1931 KTW moved to 1220 kHz, giving KOL unlimited use of 1270 kHz.
From 1930 to 1938, KOL was Seattle's CBS Radio Network affiliate. In 1934 the station abandoned the T-wire antenna on the Rhodes Department Store building's roof, moving to a new transmitter site on Harbor Island, which featured a 490-foot (150 m) self-supporting tower, which at the time was the tallest of its type in the United States. The studios were moved to the transmitter site in 1952.
In 1941, the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) was enacted. On March 29, 1941, KOL, along with all the other stations on 1270 kHz, moved to 1300 kHz.
In 1962, the Taft interests sold KOL to television producers and game show moguls Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. KOL briefly adopted a Top 40 format which was dropped within a year due to the strong ratings of Top 40 leader AM 950 KJR, and reverted to a Middle of the Road (MOR) format. By 1965, KOL's Top 40 format had returned. In 1967, the station was sold to Buckley Broadcasting. From 1965 to 1975, KOL battled KJR as the number-one Top 40 music station in Seattle.
In 1975, the format flipped to country music. The call letters were changed to KMPS (for "Kountry Music Puget Sound") following another change in ownership. The country format was also added to 94.1 KMPS-FM (now KSWD and formerly KOL-FM). The Harbor Island studio and transmitter site was demolished in 1981.
While KMPS-FM concentrated on contemporary country music with continuous music sweeps, KMPS 1300 had more personality and a playlist with older country hits.
After then-owners EZ Communications sold AM 1300 KMPS to Salem Communications in December 1996, the station's call letters were changed to KKOL in 1997, and a conservative talk format was adopted at that time.
In 2002, after losing its transmitter site, KKOL installed a temporary 1,000-watt transmitter on a moored 175-foot (53 meter) cargo ship, and began to operate from a Seattle waterway. This was the only floating broadcasting station antenna in the U.S. This unique configuration was used for almost five years.
In 2007, a new 50,000-watt transmitter was built. However, there was a complaint from a nearby U.S. Oil and Refining petroleum facility about the transmitter. There was concern that its proximity to the refinery produced electrical fields that exceeded safe limits at the loading docks, creating a potential source of ignition for the combustibles handled there. In particular, there was concern that a spark caused by the flow of radio frequency (RF) energy (a high-frequency alternating current) within cranes, acting as receiving antennas, could trigger an explosion. (This issue is a rarity in broadcast engineering, though a similar situation regarding fuel occurred at AM 1010 KIQI in Oakland, California.)
U.S. Coast Guard standards specified that materials may not be handled with a signal strength of greater than 0.7 volts per square meter (700mV/m²), while the industry recommendation is 0.5V/m². U.S. Oil's request was for the station to introduce a null toward the facility. However this was in the direction of downtown Seattle, which would necessitate a waiver of the regulation which requires radio stations to cover their community of license with a grade A "city-grade" signal. In addition, the proposed pattern had the effect of reducing KKOL's potential audience by 700,000 listeners.
In May 2018, Salem agreed to swap KKOL to Tron Dinh Do's Intelli LLC in exchange for 860 KPAM in Troutdale, Oregon. Salem had been operating KPAM via a local marketing agreement (LMA) since March 2018. KPAM is conservative talk "860 The Answer" with essentially the same programming as "1590 The Answer" KLFE in Seattle.
- "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. March 5, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1922, page 4. Limited Commercial license, serial #417, issued May 23, 1922 for a three month period for operation on 360 meters to the Rhodes Company in Seattle, Washington.
- "KFOA, Seattle, Toastmaster of Northwest", Radio Digest, January 16, 1926, page 6.
- "Rhodes Radio Unique in N.W.", Seattle Star, May 20, 1922, page 2.
- "Radio Broadcasts", Seattle Star, June 23, 1922, page 2.
- "Radio Conference Recommendations: New Wave Lengths", Radio Age, May 1923, page 11. Beginning with these assignments radio stations ended the practice of broadcasting their market reports and weather forecasts on the separate 485 meter wavelength.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, August 1, 1923, page 8.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, February 1, 1924, page 10.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 1, 1924, page 3.
- "Radio Program", The Seattle Times, 18 January 1924, p. 24.
- "Strike out all particulars", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1, 1925, page 11.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, November 30, 1928, page 7.
- "KFOA is Sold, Call Letters Changed to KOL", The Seattle Times, 9 December 1928, p. 20.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, June 30, 1931, page 22.
- John F. Schneider, Seattle Radio, (Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2013), p. 64.
- "Radio Antenna of KOL Now is Tallest in U.S.", The Seattle Times, 18 November 1934, p. 32.
- Schnieder, p. 104.
- Radio Broadcast Stations, Federal Communications Commission (March 29, 1941 edition), page 23.
- "Changing Hands", Broadcasting, 29 October 1962, p. 62.
- Warren Guykema, "KOL is Swinging Station With Some Serious Aims", The Seattle Times, 17 November 1963, TV Section, p. 4.
- Marty Loken, "Like It or Loop It, KJR's Still No. 1", The Seattle Times, 12 April 1964, p. 19
- Schneider, op. cit., p. 108.
- Marty Loken, "KOL's New Sound-Rock and Roll from the Mudflats", The Seattle Times, 13 June 1965, TV Section, p. 17
- S.J. Skreen, "Leathernecks Land Again", The Seattle Times, 21 March 1967, p. 23.
- Victor Stredicke, "Multiple Messages behind Radio Station Call Letters", The Seattle Times, 15 June 1975, TV Section, p. 26.
- Victor Stredicke, "Country air staff, others get Labor Day Workout", The Seattle Times, 1 September 1975, p. B-6.
- Schneider, op. cit., p. 103.
- 1983 KMPS AM 1300 Willie Nelson Commercial (youtube.com)
- Chuck Taylor, "Summertime and News Just Keep Dribbling In", The Seattle Times, 8 August 1997, p. F-3
- "Transactions: Washington", Radio & Records, 12 December 1996, page 9.
- "Aboard the Coastal Ranger: Seattle's KKOL Goes Maritime Mobile", December 17, 2002 (radioworld.com)
- "KKOL moves to bolster its signal power, format and market share" by Bill Virgin, April 18, 2007 (seattlepi.com)
- "Big Oil: Primary Issue Is Public Safety", November 6, 2007 (radioworld.com)
- "KKOL Fights to Keep Transmitter Site" by Scott Fybush, June 19, 2007 (radioworld.com)
- Virgin, Bill (November 5, 2008). "On Radio on Radio: KKOL-AM shifts to business news; Owner sees a market for new format". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- "Salem Swaps KKOL/Seattle To Intelli For KPAM/Portland" May 15, 2018 (allaccess.com)
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KKOL
- Radio-Locator Information on KKOL
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KKOL
- FCC History Cards for KKOL (covering 1927-1981 as KFOA / KOL / KMPS)