Bill Virgin's Radio Beat June 5, 2008

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

Bill Virgin's Radio Beat June 5, 2008

Postby radiofan » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:02 pm

On Radio: Everett station to boost signal, broaden format
Another local show beyond sports is possible


Coming this fall -- a new radio station from Everett.

Actually it's not a brand-new station -- KRKO-AM/1380's predecessor was, according to its history, one of the first to be licensed in Washington.

But until now, KRKO's signal could be described as sketchy at best as far south as Seattle. The station is licensed to operate at 5,000 watts.

The Federal Communications Commission has granted an application from KRKO's owner, S-R Broadcasting Co., for a construction permit for a new transmitter site, consisting of four antennas. Once assembly and testing are complete this fall, KRKO will be operating at 34,000 watts during the day, 50,000 watts at night -- a signal strong enough to compete with such Seattle stations, it says, as KIRO-AM/710 and KJR-AM/ 950, and to be heard on car radios from Mount Vernon to Tacoma. It also plans to add high-definition technology to its signal.

The FCC approved the application over objections from area residents, some of whom organized as Citizens to Preserve the Upper Snohomish River Valley, on environmental grounds, including the effect on birds. The FCC ruled that S-R Broadcasting's application and environmental study met its requirements.

In announcing the application approval, KRKO emphasized the importance of having a full-power Everett-based station to give a voice to local issues and activities.

KRKO does have a local emphasis, with its broadcast of Everett Silvertips hockey and AquaSox baseball, and it does have one locally hosted talk show, with Jeff Aaron. But its format is sports, and much of its programming comes from ESPN.

"I don't think there's any conflict between being a sports station and getting involved in community issues," says Andrew Skotdal, the station's president and general manager. One way to integrate local nonsports issues into its format would be to add a second local show, perhaps in the mornings.

Another is to add a second AM station, which Skotdal hopes to do with an FCC-approved station for 1520 on the AM dial. Skotdal has proposed adding two more antennas to the four that will be built at the new site (two miles south of Snohomish) to accommodate the second station.

Skotdal is awaiting a decision from a Snohomish County hearing examiner on its application, as well as another construction permit from the FCC. "That's going to go a lot faster because the environmental review has been done" for the first set of transmitters at the site, he says. "The best scenario is that 1520 would be on next summer."

In other radio notes:

A follow-up to our previous item concerning Spanish-language radio in this market: Colorado-based Seattle Streaming Radio has been operating three local stations -- KBRO-AM/1490 in Bremerton, KNTB-AM/1480 in Lakewood and KLDY-AM/ 1280 in Lacey -- that carry Spanish-language religious programming. They've now been converted to ESPN's Spanish-language service.

KBCS-FM/91.3 has shuffled its program lineup. "Uncle Meghabhuti Presents" moves to 7 p.m. Fridays, while "Ampbuzz" shifts to 11 p.m. Thursday and "Melange" can be heard at 3 a.m. Tuesdays. New programs include "Slow Drive," hosted by Jean-Pierre Antoine, at 1 a.m. Tuesdays; "Soul Food," with Rodney Outlaw, at 3 a.m. Fridays; "Overnight Groove" at 3 a.m. Saturdays; and "Bygone Blues" at 2 a.m. Mondays.

Jim Wilke's "Jazz Northwest" at 1 p.m. Sunday on KPLU- FM/88.5 features performances by the Roosevelt, Garfield and Shorewood high school jazz bands in the recent "Essentially Ellington" competition.

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.

Jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan performs live in the studios of KPLU-FM/88.5 at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Newton Faulkner performs live in the "Mountain Music Lounge" at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday on KMTT-FM/103.7.

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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