Formats History News RADIO
Though KIRO started, what it called an all-news format in 1974, Spokane may have had the state’s first real all-news station.
As Vic Stredicke reported in November of 1976, 1230 KSPO started their 24-hour news format along with the NBC News and Information Service. KIRO at the time was also playing six hours of music during the day.
In November 1976, NBC Radio announced that it would be scrapping the NIS service effective mid-1977. NBC NIS had been providing round-the-clock news and feature reports to a minimum number of U.S. radio stations since June 1975. KSPO picked up the format in October of that year.
Mike Fitzsimmons, KSPO news director, said his station would continue with the all-news format despite immense adjustments.
“We think we have mastered the programming techniques of this format,” Fitzsimmons said.
“Now we will have to seek out alternative ways of getting our national and international reports.”
Fitzsimmons said that only one full rating period had been scheduled in the 12 months that KSPO has been all-news. Spokane was being surveyed again at the time of the NBC announcement.
With some coincidental surveys taken in similar rating periods, Fitzsimmons said, his management had evidence that there was a “strong surge” in listeners wanting such an audio information outlet.
Prior to the news format, KSPO played country music as “The Big Country Giant.” Country since 1964, KSPO first operated in Spokane from June 1950 to July 17, 1957 and broadcast on 1340 kHz.
KSPO went dark in 1984 and the call letters were picked up by a network of Beautiful Music stations operated by Tom Read. Read’s stations at the time were KTRQ 810 AM-KTRM 95.9 FM Ephrata and KTRW 97.7 FM-East Wenatchee. With KSPO, Read eventually started changing his station call letters using many long gone from the Puget Sound area, KTBI, KGDN, and KTAC. The old KTWR call sign was not available and is currently in use at a radio station in Guam.