KOL-FM inaugurates underground format on June 17, 1968.

  • By Alan J Stein
  • Posted 7/05/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1463

On June 17, 1968, radio station KOL-FM inaugurates "progressive rock" programming. Station manager Dick Curtis hires part-time disc jockey Robin Sherwood to take over the station, which airs live and on tape from noon to midnight. KOL-FM broadcasts the music of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Rolling Stones, and new artists such as James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and Carole King. Announcers are given wide discretion in the music they can play.

In 1971, the station achieved enough commercial success to begin broadcasting 24 hours a day.

Independent programming ended on September 24, 1973, when KOL-FM simulcasted with KOL-AM before shifting to "soft rock" on October 1.

KOL's studios were housed since the 1950s on Harbor Island, where the station's broadcast antenna had been located since the 1930s. In 1975, the station call sign was retired and the frequencies were turned over to a country-western station.

In 1981, the Harbor Island studios were demolished.



Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 257; Patrick MacDonald, "An Obituary for KOL-FM," The Seattle Times Tempo, September 21, 1973, p. 3; MacDonald, "Take That: KOL Cronies Do a Bang up Job for Farewell," Ibid., February 14, 1981, p. B-3; "Radio Antenna of KOL Now is Tallest in U.S.," Ibid.,November 18, 1934, p. 23; John F. Schneider, Seattle Radio (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2013), 104.
Note: This essay was corrected on October 27, 2015.

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