Bill Virgin's Radio Beat April 10, 2008

Includes archive of Bill Virgin's columns fromJ une 2006 - March 2009

Bill Virgin's Radio Beat April 10, 2008

Postby radiofan » Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:49 pm

On Radio: KMPS-FM's Riggs calls it a career
'One of the few news guys left at a music station'


He worked for a bank collecting money at the World's Fair in Seattle, as an organ player in a bar, served on several public sector boards and councils in Bellevue -- and in between squeezed in a radio career than spans 55 years.

But that career comes to an end Friday, as Don Riggs delivers his last newscast at KMPS- FM/94.1 as part of the "Ichabod Caine and the Waking Crew" program.

"I was one of the lucky ones who decided when I was about 12 this was what I wanted to do -- and did," says Riggs, who began his career at a small Renton station while still in high school.

After college and an Army stint (working in both radio and TV) he returned to the region to work as both DJ and news reporter for a host of stations.

In a 2003 interview he recounted being one of six people on the KMPS news team.

"I'm probably one of the few news guys left at a music station," he says now, with many other stations outsourcing it or dropping news altogether. "I wish there were more of us doing it."

The most fun he had on a story was while working as a TV reporter at KIRO. Having once played the organ in bars in Yakima (where he worked in radio early in his career), he got to play the theater organ in West Seattle's Admiral Theater.

He's also proud of his community involvement in Bellevue, including serving on the board of the Meydenbauer Center, 15 years as an elected member of a community council and working on the city's downtown park.

After his retirement, Riggs may do some more traveling. He owns a 15-year-old RV with just 35,000 miles.

"The thing is sitting around like a planter," he says. "We'll see if we can put some more miles on it."

One change for Riggs upon retirement is the end of waking up at 3 a.m. for a show that begins at 5. On weekends Riggs has slept in as late as 6 or 7. "A week from now, that may be early," he says.

Riggs' interim successor doing news on the KMPS morning show will be Stephen Kilbreath.

In other radio notes:

Mitch Levy's morning show on sports-talk station KJR- AM/950 has a new audience; a simulcast of the 6-9 a.m. segment is now heard on Spokane's KGA-AM/1510. KJR program director Rich Moore says the station isn't embarking on a major syndication effort, but it has had an interest in giving its programming a greater reach in the region. "They approached us," he says. "We'll give it a shot."

Dave Samson, who hosts the Friday night blues program "The Nightshift" on KBCS-FM/ 91.3, is moving to KMTT-FM/ 103.7 at the end of April to handle Saturday mornings and Sunday brunch. His last show on KBCS will be at 7 p.m. April 18. Meanwhile, Drew Dundon has left the station.

The Metropolitan Opera performs Prokofiev's "The Gambler" at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on KING-FM/98.1.

"Bluegrass Ramble" at 1 p.m. Sunday on KBCS-FM features Seattle bluegrass band the Downtown Mountain Boys.

The Sunday edition of Jim French's "Imagination Theatre," heard at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on KIXI-AM/880, includes a new Harry Nile mystery.

"Voices of Diversity" at 6 p.m. Wednesday on KBCS-FM looks at the sanctuary movement in Seattle.

P-I reporter Bill Virgin can be reached at 206-448-8319 or

Bill Virgin's Radio Beat Thursdays in the Seattle P-I
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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