KNHC Historical Background From Sam Lawson

(Originally posted October 2019) — It is well documented that KNHC went on the air as a very low power AM station, broadcasting with 100 milliwatts on 1210 kHz, in December 1969. It turns out that this low power AM station has a history of its own that began several years earlier that Puget Sound Media readers might enjoy.

As a teenager I operated a low power AM radio station from my bedroom. I would come home from school each day, sign on, and play disk jockey for a few hours. Influenced by CFUN in Vancouver, I named the station “KFUN 1210.”
Back in those innocent pre-internet days of 1967, I actually sent a letter to the FCC asking about rules pertaining to my station. I am including a picture of the response I received from the FCC.

During my senior year at Nathan Hale High School, KFUN gained some notoriety when the school newspaper, The Sentinel, ran a story about my extracurricular activity. During electronics class I worked as a student assistant to Mr. Larry Adams, Nathan Hale’s electronics instructor, who had the idea of starting an FM educational station. Knowing that getting an FM license would take some time, and being aware of my home station, Mr. Adams asked if I would move KFUN to the school and rename it KNH. I agreed of course, since it meant I’d then be able to play around with the radio station during school hours.

KNH immediately had a schedule of student announcers on the air. The following school year Seattle Public Schools received its FM license for KNHC 89.5. Even though I had already graduated (class of 1970), Mr. Adams invited me to return to do a show just for fun on KNHC which I appreciated.

I am also including an article about KNH that appeared in the Northgate Journal in January, 1970.

Author: Sam Lawson

Student engineer at pioneer Nathan Hale radio station KNH 1210 in 1970 (prior to KNHC). Also attended North Seattle Community College and L.H. Bates in Tacoma. Sam’s career began as a KJR request line operator in 1970, with his first on air job at KRKO in 1972. In 1976 he segued to overnights at KTAC as Cory Landon, then weekends at KING. In 1978 he moved to Lewiston, Idaho for afternoons on KOZE and KRLC. Throughout the ‘80s he was an announcer and/or engineer at the best mix and biggest variety of Spokane radio stations; including KKER (The Sam & Pam Show), KZZU, KISC, PD of KJRB, and the voice of KAYU-TV. In 1989 he moved to Los Angeles as Assistant Chief Engineer and weekends at KZLA/KLAC. Also engineered for KBIG, KFI, Premiere Radio Networks, CBS Radio, and others. After avoiding any actual work for nearly 45 years, now happily retired and very appreciatively back in the great Pacific Northwest! --- View other articles by Sam Lawson --- Sam Lawson airchecks

7 thoughts on “KNHC Historical Background From Sam Lawson

  1. Just added history this station has had on so many of us. Glad to see Eric’s Heroes/KOMO TV grab time to expose this great Icon of Seattle and the Northwest. I too had a one day radio project when in High School (Nathan Hale only place we could pull it off). I was asked to be part of a Student Panel to discuss/interview the current Seattle School Superintendant and Board members on current issues in the late 70s (a first at KNHC). That one day was another key ingredient among few in figuring out how to find a path in radio that I have now followed 42 years!
    Mark Christopher-KOMO Newsradio/Talk Radio 570 KVI

  2. Sam, just found this article and it brought memories of my time with KNHC and Mr Adams from 1969-71. I was the station manager 1970-71 and would like to hear from you to chat about those times!
    Steve Koski

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