KTCL & The March of Time

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Harbor Island home of the combined KJR-KOMO
(Picture from HistoryLink)
SEATTLE TIMES – March 21, 1937 — “I remember way back when.” — In radio way back when can mean any time over 10 years ago. In this story it means back 12 years ago to the start of the parade of progress and success of a Seattle radio station. Back to the days when listeners tuned in on the “parade” with Crystal sets or “deluxe” equipment now obsolete.
This particular march down the airlanes of entertainment began April 12, 1925, when KTCL “Charmed Land Station,” went on the air from studios in the New Washington Hotel, with a power of 250 Watts. The founder was Birt Fisher, who also was manager of KJR, the old the station in Seattle.
With the renewal of operating licenses a year later the call letters were changed to KOMO. Shortly thereafter Fisher met O.D. Fisher, president of the Fisher Flouring Mills. Out of the conference grew plans for expansion of equipment and activities. And it wasn’t long before a new transmitting plant was housed in a three-story concrete structure on Harbor Island, and new studios established in Metropolitan Center.

First Program In 1926

The first program under the new set up was broadcast November 17, 1926. On New Year’s Eve the studios were officially dedicated to the policy of providing the best in entertainment and educational and constructive productions. In turn came the gathering of vocal and instrumental artists and the inauguration of 14 hours daily entertainment.
Station KOMO’s next big step in the march of progress came April 5, 1927, when it became affiliated with the NBC network. So the parade continued, ever attracting new followers and developing greater interest, until October 18, 1931, when NBC assumed control of KJR. And that acquisition had a direct bearing on KOMO’s onward rush to further popularity. For on April 3, 1933, NBC leased KJR To Fisher’s Blend Stations Inc. and KOMO and KJR merged under the same management, with Birt Fisher as general manager. Not long after that the combined stations moved into the present modern and efficient home occupying almost the entire seventh floor of the Skinner Building.

The Skinner Building in Seattle.
(picture from MOHAI)
The parade moved on until February of last year, when the latest type of RCA high fidelity 5000 W transmitter was installed, together with a 570 foot self-sustaining vertical tower. The new tower and transmitter were placed in service a month later when KOMO was licensed to increase its daytime power to 5000 Watts.
And today—
stations KOMO and KJR are making new history with their modernization of equipment, production of local programs featuring a large staff of artists and announcers, and the release of network programs. The NBC red network feeds KOMO and the NBC blue network comes through KJR, which operates on 5000 Watts on a clear channel.

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Jason Remington

Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of PugetSound.Media, a former broadcaster at KVAC/Forks, KDFL/Sumner, KTTX/KWHI/Brenham, TX., KONP/Port Angeles, KBAM/Longview, KAMT/Tacoma, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KJUN/Puyallup, KASY/Auburn, KTAC AM/Tacoma, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix. Retired from AT&T.

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