Solved! 1st FM Station In Washington State forums forums History Solved! 1st FM Station In Washington State

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    I’ve always suspected KWLK-FM Longview was the first FM station in Washington state and now we know for sure. We also know why Longview beat Seattle! It was Harold Singleton KGW-FM’s Chief Engineer and builder of the Northwest’s first FM station. From the article I would think KWLK-FM signed on the air Monday, January 27, 1947. Not mentioned in the article was KWLK-FM frequency 104.3mc with the power of 410 watts. The antenna was mounted on the AM tower on Olive Way.


    The Oregonian, Tuesday, January 28, 1947.


    The first FM station in the State of Washington — KWLK-FM, Longview — is now on the air on a regular schedule of six hours a day, 12 noon to 3 and 6 to 9 P.M. Transmitter is G.E. except antenna, which is designed by Harold Singleton of Portland.

    C.O. Chatterton, principal owner of KWLK and KWLK-FM is an FM enthusiast and is convinced that when broadcasters do a proper job of programming, listeners will be quick to see FM’s advantages.


    What a great name for a radio guy! It was also my kindergarten teacher’s name. That last line speaks volumes!


    Was California, then, the only western state which had FM stations on the 42-48 MHz band (pre WWII)?


    Perhaps the Utah station got on the air?

    Craig_Adams, good info on KWLK-FM! 🙂


    There’s a listing for a Colorado station, too, though that one might not have been on the air by 1942.


    A Snapshot of the early life of Harold C. Singleton, electrical Radio Engineer.

    Harold Singleton

    Born: 7 , Feb 1904

    Died : September 1986

    Last Residence : 97034, Lake,Oswego, Clackamas, Oregon

    SSN : 541-01-3758


    In 1930 his occupation was as : ELECTRICAL ENGINEER- RADIO age 26. Born Colorado.

    Location in 1930 : Alameda, Alameda, California

    Residence in 1930 : 2116 San Jose Avenue # 6 and they paid 45 / month in rent

    Wife Roseamond, children, Richard C. and Dorothy M.

    Learning his trade, no doubt. I wonder what station he worked for or put on the air down in the bay area at that time ??? KGO? Alameda is closer to Oakland?? mm?? Maybe the precursor to KFRC?


    In 1920 his occupation was , Student in grade school.

    Residence : 1101 12 th street, Golden, Jefferson, Colorado

    He and his sister lived with a grandmother who ran a boarding house at this address. No parents listed. I’ll bet he was pineing away listening to the few broadcast or shortwave stations on the air at that time with his cat whisker and a crystal. HI TECH , HI TECH…in 1920

    And if you look at your current census form ( mine came today ) the kind of information you put on them now is barely the quality that they asked for in 1930 !! Not much has changed in terms of information to be gleened by future generations looking into genealogical history.


    Forgot to mention why C.O. Chatterton, KWLK President would have contacted Harold Singleton in the first place and what their connection was.

    Both had worked a KGW-KEX in the 1930’s. Chatterton had first been Asst. General Manager & then G.M. of Oregonian owned KGW-KEX between 1933-38. At the same time Singleton was KGW-KEX Chief Engineer, so they must have known each other for 15 years.

    The FM transmitter must have been a General Electric (model) BT-1-A.

    On November 14, 1947 KWLK-FM switched frequency from 104.3mc to 103.9mc. Marvin E. “Rusty” Johnson was KWLK-FM Chief Engineer. By December 1952 the station had left the air.


    I thought it would been Spokane so that’s good to know. Thanks


    An excerpt from this 1948 list shows the Longview station and 2 in Seattle… no Spokane yet:

    104.3 KWLK-FM Longview WA

    94.9 KING-FM Seattle WA

    98.1 KRSC-FM Seattle WA

    1950 list adds a few more in Seattle and Tacoma:

    103.9 KWLK-FM Longview WA 410

    98.9 KOMO-FM Seattle WA 14400

    99.9 KISW Seattle WA 2100 CP

    100.7 KIRO-FM Seattle WA 5700

    91.7 KTOY Tacoma WA 3500

    97.3 KTNT Tacoma WA 10000

    1958 list

    KEWC-FM Cheney 89.9

    KCPS Pierce County 90.9

    KALE-FM Richland 103.9

    KING-FM Seattle 98.1

    KIRO-FM Seattle 100.7

    KISW Seattle 99.9

    KMCS Seattle 98.9

    KUOW Seattle 90.5

    KREM-FM Spokane 92.9

    KTNT Tacoma 97.3

    KTOY Tacoma 91.7

    KTWR Tacoma 103.9


    Thanks for the list wow I remember KTNT am and fm.

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