Collection on KIRO Radio, 1925-1987  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Title
Collection on KIRO Radio
Dates
1925-1987 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 boxes, (.87 cubic feet)
Collection Number
2014.67 (accession)
Summary
Photographs, business records, technical reports, clippings and sound recordings related to KIRO Radio in Seattle
Repository
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
98108
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
library@mohai.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Languages
English.


Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The materials in the collection originally belonged to an unknown employee of KIRO Radio. The collection suggests that this person worked in the Engineering department at KIRO, as many of the photographs depict engineering staff, and the materials include a number of technical reports. Several of the photographs are credited to Bill Reuter, who worked at KIRO as a transmitter operator and assistant to Chief Engineer Jim Hatfield.

The collection of photographs includes aerial and ground views of the Vashon-Maury Island KIRO transmitting station and various Seattle KIRO studio and office locations. A series of informal snapshots depict KIRO employees engaging in fieldwork and outdoor recreational activities. Images include KIRO radio personalities in broadcast studios, the first KIRO mobile news radio station wagon, and the 1938 broadcast of the Boeing Clipper flight test from the shore of Lake Washington. Seattle photographs in the collection document World War II events held at Victory Square and the opening of the Mt. Baker Tunnel.

Business records include correspondence, internal memos, FCC applications, newsletters and press releases. A collection of technical drawings and blueprints depict the KIRO antenna system schematic. Northwest regional maps show population, broadcast coverage, signal range and directional measurements. Technical reports include detailed field strength measurements and performance data on the newly designed Vashon-Maury Island directional antenna.

A scrapbook contains photographs and newspaper clippings relating primarily to the construction, promotion and opening of the Vashon-Maury Island station in 1941. A collection of ten 33rpm transcription discs contain KIRO programming, including the 1938 Gold Shield Coffee Hour and an episode of the 1952 program, the Seattle Book Review, featuring local author Betty McDonald. Mt. Vernon and Pt. Townsend are featured on the 1945 program This is the Evergreen Empire.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

KIRO was founded by Moritz Thomsen of the Pacific Biscuit Company and began broadcasting on April 27, 1927 as the 100-watt station KPCB 650. In 1935, Queen City Broadcasting Company headed by Norman K. Lear and Saul Haas took over the station, changing the call letters to KIRO and increasing the power to 500 watts. In 1937, KIRO was assigned the new frequency 710 kilocycles and increased its power to 1,000 watts. About the same time, KIRO became the official Seattle affiliate for CBS.

Over the years, the Seattle KIRO broadcast station moved several times. The first location was at Fourth and University, followed by the Olympic Hotel, the Cobb Building (circa 1940) and the Federal Insurance Building on Queen Anne Avenue. In the 1950s, the station moved to 1530 Queen Avenue North, and then to Third and Broad Streets (circa 1975). The KIRO station is currently located near the Seattle Center, with a transmitting tower adjacent to the station’s original studios on Queen Anne Hill.

KIRO became known as the “friendly station” when its radio personalities broke from the formal style that was common in the early days of radio announcing. Famous KIRO news announcers included Chet Huntley, hired in 1934, and Edward R. Murrow, who came to prominence with a series of radio broadcasts during World War II. KIRO was known for its wide variety of live, local entertainment, but the station also recorded hours of CBS programming for time-delayed broadcast, including transcriptions of World War II era news coverage over the CBS network.

The new KIRO transmitting station on Vashon-Maury Island became operational on June 29, 1941, becoming the first 50,000 WATT station granted by the FCC in the Pacific Northwest. Two 526-foot towers, using state-of-the art directional technology, increased the KIRO audience from 540,000 to 1,355,000 in the most densely populated parts of the Northwest. The new area served was 400 percent larger, and a strong night signal reached as far north as Alaska. During the 1940s, KIRO was one of the most powerful radio stations in the United States.

In April 1963, the communications division of the Salt Lake City-based Church of Latter-Day Saints began purchasing stock in Queen City Broadcasting, eventually getting majority control of the station. By the 1970s, KIRO was known for its “middle of the road” music, and ratings were poor. Using the model of KCBS, a CBS affiliate station in San Francisco, KIRO reinvented itself as a news talk station and began broadcasting three hours of news each morning, putting the first Seattle traffic helicopter in the air. KIRO is currently owned by Atlanta-based Cox Media Group and affiliated with the ESPN Radio Network. KIRO is the official broadcast station for Seattle Seahawk football and Mariner baseball.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Use

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Collection on KIRO Radio, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Photographs, 1925-1975Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
2014.67.1: Buildings and grounds of KIRO transmitting station, Vashon-Maury Island
8x10 inches
Forde Photographers (photographer)
circa 1941
1/1
2014.67.2: KIRO transmitting station, Vashon-Maury Island
8x10 inches
Roy Leiser (photographer)
Aerial view shows station buildings and broadcast towers.
circa 1941
1/1
2014.67.3: Man with car parked on mountain road with high snowdrifts
8x10 inches
Possibly Mt. Baker Highway.
circa 1940
1/1
2014.67.4: Car parked in front of snow-covered entrance to Mt. Baker Lodge
8x10 inches
circa 1940
1/1
2014.67.5:  Exterior of KIRO Radio Station building, 1530 Queen Anne Ave. N.
8x10 inches
Forde Photographers (photographer)
circa 1968
1/1
2014.67.6: Three men and one woman standing with scripts in front of KIRO-CBS microphone
8x10 inches
circa 1950
1/1
2014.67.7: Small table with KIRO CBS microphones and folding chairs
8x10 inches
circa 1950
1/2
2014.67.8:  Two men in broadcast booths
8x10 inches
circa 1945
1/2
2014.67.9: Man working in broadcast booth
8x10 inches
Brant Photographers (photographer)
circa 1950
1/2
2014.67.10: Radio broadcast booth showing microphone and control equipment
8x10 inches
Brant Photographers (photographer)
circa 1950
1/2
2014.67.11:  KIRO studio engineer James Upthegrove and engineer John Dubuque with radio equipment
8x10 inches
Forde Photographers , Seattle (photographer)
circa 1955
1/2
2014.67.12-13: Auditorium with tables and Christmas decorations
8x10 inches
Roger Dudley , Seattle (photographer)
circa 1950
1/2
2014.67.14:  Federal Old Line Insurance Building, Queen Anne Avenue
8x10 inches
Roger Dudley , Seattle (photographer)
Formerly the Queen Anne Club, this building was purchased by the Federal Old Line Insurance Co. in 1942 and converted it to office use. In 1952, the clubhouse accommodated the studios of the Queen City Broadcasting Co. KIRO-TV made further modifications in 1957 and built its television tower at the south edge of the property.
circa 1957
1/3 circa 1942
1/3
2014.67.16: KIRO mobile news station wagon parked on boat dock
3 x 4 inches
circa 1942
1/3
2014.67.17:  KIRO engineers Jim Hatfield and Jim Upthegrove preparing for remote broadcast of Boeing Clipper test near Lake Washington
3 x 4 inches
Handwritten on back on 2014.67.17: Jim Hatfield, Chief Eng KIRO, mike in hand, and Jim Upthegrove, Studio Ch. Eng. setting up for remote broadcast of Boeing Clipper test on edge of Lake Washington.
1938
1/3
2014.67.19-23: KIRO portable shortwave equipment on ship deck
3 x 4 inches
circa 1940
1/3
2014.67.24-26: Victory Square War Monument, Fourth and University Streets
3 x 4 inches
circa 1943
1/3
2014.67.27-29: Military band in Victory Square, Fourth and University Streets
3 x 4 inches
KIRO CBS microphone visible on stage.
Handwritten on back on 2014.67.27: Wartime at plaza north of Olympic Hotel
circa 1943
1/3
2014.67.30: Military band near Hotel President in Victory Square
3 x 4 inches
circa 1943
1/3
2014.67.31: Victory Square in snow, Fourth and University Streets
3 x 4 inches
circa 1943
1/4
2014.67.32-34: Boeing 314 Clipper moored on Lake Washington
3 x 4 inches
Handwritten on back: First Boeing Clipper Ship
1938
1/4
2014.67.35-37: President Truman and Washington Governor Mon Wallgren at event
3 x 4 inches
KIRO CBS microphone visible in photo.
circa 1945
1/4
2014.67.38-39: Opening of Lake Washington floating bridge (Lacey V. Murrow bridge) and Mt. Baker tunnel
3 x 4 inches
1940
1/4
2014.67.40: KIRO broadcasters at table at University of Washington sports stadium
3 x 4 inches
circa 1945
1/4
2014.67.41: Birds-eye view University of Washington sports stadium with spectators and marching band formation
3 x 4 inches
circa 1945
1/4
2014.67.42: The American School of the Air, KIRO broadcasters live on stage
3 x 4 inches
circa 1943
1/5
2014.67.43: KIRO Chief Engineer Jim Hatfield inspecting telegraph lines for forest service
3 x 4 inches
circa 1939
1/5
2014.67.44: KIRO Chief Engineer Jim Hatfield and his assistant Bill Reuter outdoors on hike
3 x 4 inches
Handwritten on back: J. Hatfield Ch. Eng. KIRO with hat. Bill Reuter hatless. I've hiked in (9 miles) many times with Hatfield and he wore the same fishing hat for years.
circa 1939
1/5
2014.67.45: Jim Hatfield and McIntosh hiking at Twin Lakes
3 x 4 inches
Handwritten on back: Jim Hatfield Ch. Eng. KIRO 1939 Lake August in rear and McIntosh in lead at 5500 ft level. Twin Lakes.
1939
1/5
2014.67.46-47: McIntosh fishing and camping at Twin Lakes
3 x 4 inches
circa 1939
1/5
2014.67.48: McIntosh and Jim Hatfield hiking
3 x 4 inches
Handwritten on back: Picture taken by Bill Reuter, Hatfield's assistant [at KIRO]
circa 1939
1/5
2014.67.49: Jim Hatfield and Bill Reuter camping in Methow Valley
3 x 4 inches
1955
1/5
2014.67.50-54: Ski slopes, lodge with skiers and lifts
3 x 4 inches
circa 1955
1/6
2014.67.55: Maury Rider sitting on car fender at Maury Island construction site
3 x 4 inches
Handwritten on back: Maury Rider at KIRO new construction site 1940. He was Ch. announcer & special events Dir,
1940
1/6
2014.67.56: KIRO announcer Maury Rider painting letters "KJP" on outhouse on Maury Island construction site
3 x 4 inches
Maury Island site of KIRO construction - christening the new outhouse and about to add the finishing touch!
1940
1/6
2014.67.57: KIRO transmitting station on Maury Island under construction
3 x 4 inches
1940 November 22
1/6
2014.67.58: Scale model of new KIRO transmitter on Maury Island
3 x 4 inches
1940
1/6
2014.67.59-74: KIRO transmitting station Maury Island, installation of copper strap towers
color ; 3.5 x 5 inches
circa 1975
1/7
2014.67.75-80: Radio broadcasting equipment
color ; 3 x 4 inches
circa 1975
1/7
2014.67.81: Bill Reuter hiking
2.5 x 3.5 inches
circa 1945
1/7
2014.67.82: KIRO announcers Maury Rider and Peter Merton on steps of Capitol building, Olympia
3 x 4 inches
circa 1945
1/7
2014.67.83: KIRO engineer Jack McMullen
3 x 4 inches
1937
1/7
2014.67.84: Jerry Valentine working on wiring
3.5 x 3.5 inches
circa 1970
1/7
2014.67.85: Chief Engineer David Hubert working on equipment
3.5 x 3.5 inches
circa 1970
1/7
2014.67.86-87: Chris Rose at broadcast console
3.5 x 3.5 inches
circa 1970
1/7
2014.67.88: Dave Fields
3 x 4 inches
circa 1940
1/7
2014.67.89: KIRO announcer Bill Yend at microphone
3 x 4 inches
circa 1975
1/7
2014.67.90: People seated on lawn at KIRO company picnic at Bill Reuter home, Vashon Island
3.5 x 5 inches
1952
1/8
2014.67.91-92: KIRO broadcast studio and equipment
5 x 7 inches
circa 1975
1/8
2014.67.93: Talk show host Dick Harris in KIRO broadcast studio
5 x 7 inches
circa 1975
1/8
2014.67.94: Broadcaster Jim Gearhart in KIRO broadcast studio
5 x 7 inches
circa 1975
1/8
2014.67.95-96: Radio broadcast tower
5 x 7 inches
circa 1940
1/8
2014.67.97: Rhodes Department Store rooftop water tower
5 x 7 inches
circa 1940
1/8
2014.67.98: Interior of Rhodes Department Store with CBS KIRO sign visible
3 x 4.5 inches
circa 1940
1/9
2014.67.99-108: Radio equipment and hardware, including portable transmitters, radio receivers, headsets and measurement gauges
2 x 4 inches
circa 1925

Technical reports, 1942-1987Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/10
2014.67.109: KIRO Application for Return to Direct Measurement of Power
16 pages
Prepared by Hammet & Edison, Inc. Consulting Engineers for Radio Station KIRO, following changes to the antenna system.
1987 March 30
1/11
2014.67.110: Proof of Performance (on Directional Antenna), Transmitter Copy
Includes application for new broadcast station license, directional field strength data sheets and maps showing detailed measurements on Vashon Island
1949 June
1/12
2014.67.111: KIRO Radio Station Application for FCC License
Prepared by Hammet & Edison, Inc. Consulting Engineers for Radio Station KIRO, includes proof of performance and field strength measurements to new support license application
1977
1/13
2014.67.112: KIRO Field Strength Measurements
Northwest field intensity measurements made by J.B. Hatfield, KIRO Chief Engineer
1942

Drawings, technical diagrams, blueprints and maps, 1940-1977Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/14
2014.67.113: Northwest regional maps with diagrams showing KIRO Radio coverage service area
22 pages
1945-1965
1/15
2014.67.114: KIRO antenna system technical schematic drawing
1958
1/15
2014.67.115: KIRO antenna system schematic blueprint
1949
1/15
2014.67.116: KIRO antenna system schematic drawing
1977
1/15
2014.67.117: KIRO antenna system schematic drawing
circa 1977
1/15
2014.67.118: Diagram of KIRO antenna
circa 1940
1/16
2014.67.119: Metsker's Map of Vashon Island showing KIRO broadcast measurements
circa 1940
1/16
2014.67.120: Map of Puget Sound region showing population density and local radio station broadcasting range
Prepared by Kroll Map Company, Seattle
circa 1940

Business records, 1949-1980Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/17
2014.67.121: KIRO Radio Station internal office communications
18 pages
Business goals and objectives, audience analysis, customer and population profiles
circa 1970s
1/18
2014.67.122: KIRO Radio Station technical notes and memos
22 pages
Data measurements, directional broadcast patterns, transmission operating notes
1949; circa 1970s
1/19
2014.67.123: FCC correspondence and application forms
6 pages
1949; 1975
1/20
2014.67.124: KIRO Radio Station internal personnel files
12 pages
Memo about holiday bonus, Chief Engineer job description, Transmitter job evaluation
circa 1980
1/21
2014.67.125: KIRO Ink
Two issue of employee newsletter
1969; 1972
1/22
2014.67.126: KIRO Radio Station official press releases and "20 years at KIRO" announcements
8 pages
circa 1950s-1970s
1/23
2014.67.127: KIRO Radio Station rate cards and advertiser profiles
5 pages
circa 1970

ClippingsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/24
2014.67.128: Seattle Post-Intelligencer insert
Special radio section supplement covering Seattle's KIRO Transmitting Station on Vashon-Maury Island
1941 June 29
1/24
2014.67.129: Seattle Times article " KIRO will marry TV and radio news into one happy family" by Joe Haberstroh
1992 June 11
1/24
2014.67.130: Seattle Times article "'Corporate Cultures' Gives Reader Inside View of a Company" by Richard Buck
Photocopy
1982 August 3
1/24
2014.67.131: Photograph of KIRO executives and advertisers celebrating on a Northwest Airlines plane
1941

ScrapbookReturn to Top

Includes staple-bound scrapbook and loose items removed from scrapbook

Container(s) Description Dates
box-oversize
2
2014.67.132: Untitled scrapbook of clippings relating to the construction and promotion of the Maury Island KIRO broadcast station, and other materials
13 x 20 inch
circa 1941
2
2014.67.132.1: KFI Radio 50th anniversary commemorative brochure
Large commemorative brochure in the shape of an old time radio containing photos and description of broadcasting highlights for southern California radio station
1972
2
2014.67.132.2: KIRO Radio two-sided advertising poster
22 x 34 inches, folded
circa 1945
2
2014.67.132.3: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Supplement, "Curtain Going Up on a New Season..."
23 pages
CBS television published program schedule with illustrations by Al Hirschfeld.
1963 September 29
2 circa 1940
Box/Folder
1/25
2014.67.132.5: Photograph of KIRO Gold Shield Coffee orchestra members with Max Dolin and His Violin
8x10 inch
circa 1940
1/25
2014.67.132.6-7: Photographs of exterior and grounds of KIRO Radio Station, Maury Island
8x10 inch
Forde Photographers (photographer)
circa 1941

Sound recordings, 1938-1952Return to Top

33 rpm ; 16 inch discs
Container(s) Description Dates
shelf
5a.4.7
2014.67.133: Gold Shield Coffee Program, 30 Minutes of Music, 7:30-8:00 PM, Parts I and II
1938 October 28
5a.4.7
2014.67.134: Gold Shield Coffee Program, 30 Minutes of Music, 7:30-8:00 PM, Part III
1938 October 28
5a.4.7
2014.67.135: King Louie's Open House, Part 2
1940 May 24
5a.4.7
2014.67.136: KIRO Calling, KIRO Transmitter Construction, Pouring of Concrete, Interview with Aggie Smock
1940 December 14
5a.4.7
2014.67.137: KIRO Calling, Transmitter Construction
1941 April 30
5a.4.7
2014.67.138: Betty McDonald at Seattle Book Review, Part 1
circa 1952
5a.4.7
2014.67.139: Betty McDonald at Seattle Book Review, Part 2
circa 1952
5a.4.7
2014.67.140: This is the Evergreen Empire, Program 14, Port Townsend
1946 August 2
5a.4.7
2014.67.141: This is the Evergreen Empire, Mt. Vernon
circa 1945
5a.4.7
2014.67.142: KIRO in Anacortes
circa 1945

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Radio broadcasting--Washington (State)
  • Radio engineers--Washington (State)
  • Radio stations--Washington (State)
  • Sound equipment and supplies
  • Corporate Names :
  • KIRO (Radio station : Seattle, Wash.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Maury Island (Wash.)
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sound recordings