To address the issue of when radio left the King Broadcasting Building, I did some research. I believe 1090 AM continued to operate at KING’s HQ’s until 1995. Shortly before, the younger Bullitt sisters had given up on the frequency and switched to an automated AP news service. For almost 20 years, the station has bounced around with numerous formats and call letters.
“On October 4, 1982, at 4 AM, KING adopted a news-talk format, primarily with local personalities, and branded simply as “KING NewsTalk 1090”. Personalities included Jim Althoff, Carl Dombek, Jeff Ray, Randy Rowland, Mike and Candace Siegel and Pat Cashman. This format did decent in the ratings, though they were never at the level that they were as a Top 40.
On September 2, 1994, at Noon, the station fired all on-air personalities and began carrying AP News’ radio service “All News Radio.” Shortly after this, the Bullitts sold the station to Bonneville, and then EZ Communications in 1995. The long-running KING call letters would be dropped for KINF, then KKNG shortly after, followed by KNWX. The station switched formats (but not call letters) with KULL (who was simulcasting KRPM) and became KRPM, an AM simulcast for one of three country stations that would be acquired by Infinity Broadcasting (which bought the station in 1996) in the mid-’90s, which included KRPM (then KCIN, now KBKS), KMPS, and KYCW (now KJAQ). 1090 also carried the call letters KMPS, and then KYCW. The simulcasting stopped in 1999 and 1090 flipped to a locally programmed Classic Country station. The station began broadcasting in AM Stereo in March 2001.
Beginning August 4, 2001, the station ran promos promoting a new format that advised listeners to “listen at their own risk”. At 5 AM on Monday, August 6, the station flipped to hot talk as “Extreme Radio 1090” featuring Bob Rivers’ “Twisted Radio” in mornings (who was also simulcasted on KZOK-FM), Opie & Anthony, Jim Rome, Ron and Fez, Don and Mike, and Phil Hendrie. The station was also a Sporting News Radio affiliate. The station’s ratings were abyssmal, usually peaking at a 0.4 share. KYCW would return to classic country at 11 PM on May 19, 2002. The station’s second version would include the return of personalites previously heard on the first incarnation of the format, including “Tall” Paul Fredericks from 5-9 AM, Mike Preston from 9-noon, PD Becky Brenner from Noon-3 PM, “Buffalo” Phil Harper from 3-7 PM, and Sheldon Smith from 7-Midnight. The station, however, still had low ratings, usually peaking at a 1.3.
On October 25, 2004, at Midnight, the station flipped to its progressive talk format and changed call letters to KPTK days later. During its tenure as “Seattle’s Progressive Talk,” KPTK broadcast syndicated progressive/liberal talk programs hosted by personalities such as Ed Schultz, Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Norman Goldman, Rachel Maddow, Stephanie Miller, Leslie Marshall, and Bill Press. KPTK was also the flagship station of Air America Radio’s Ron Reagan Show. Beginning in 2011, KPTK became the flagship station of Seattle Storm and Seattle Thunderbirds broadcasts, though it was met with some controversy. The station’s weekend programming included a mix of specialty syndicated and local programs, such as “The Ric Edelman Show” (a financial advice show), “Ring of Fire”, “Democracy Now”, “Swirl Radio” (a show targeting the LGBT community), “Community Matters” with CBS Seattle’s director of public affairs and morning traffic reporter Lee Callahan, “Gardening In the Northwest with Scott Conner”, “The Tina and Drew Show”, and “Crash Talk with Mike Harber”.
In July 2012, CBS and Cumulus Media announced a new sports radio network dubbed “CBS Sports Radio”. The initial affiliate list that would carry the network’s full lineup included most of CBS O&O low-performing AM stations (predominantly talk radio stations), while others would be affiliates and carry certain programs and hourly “CBS Sports Minute” updates. After much speculation, CBS announced on November 14, 2012, that KPTK would flip to the new network on January 2, 2013, branded as “1090 The Fan” (this would be further confirmed by the station changing call letters to KFNQ on the same day). This was met with much controversy on the station’s Facebook page, as well as being brought up by several of the station’s hosts. To please displaced listeners, Lakewood radio station KLAY (1180 AM) would announce they would carry Ed Schultz’ and Stephanie Miller’s programs after the station’s flip, as well as KBCS (91.3 FM) picking up Thom Hartmann’s program.
In addition to carrying most of the network’s shows, the station will also carry an afternoon show hosted by Steve Sandmeyer and Bill Swartz.”
The station is currently based at 1000 Dexter Ave. North in with KSTW-TV, about eight blocks north of it’s longtime studio location between Aurora and Dexter.
KING-FM was donated to a non-profit after KING TV/AM/FM was sold to The Providence Journal Co. in 1991, later to become Belo and operated at HQ’s until 1999 before moving a few blocks away.