|Broadcast area||Seattle metropolitan area|
|Branding||AM 1590 The Answer|
|Owner||Salem Communications |
(Inspiration Media, Inc.)
|KGNW, KKMO, KNTS|
First air date
Former call signs
KZOK (1977-1982, 1989-1994)
Call sign meaning
|Power||20,000 watts day|
5,000 watts night
KLFE (1590 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a conservative talk radio format. Licensed to Seattle, Washington, United States, it serves the Seattle metropolitan area. The station is currently owned by Salem Communications. KLFE's studios are located on 5th Avenue South in Seattle, while its 4-tower transmitter array is located on Bainbridge Island.
KLFE went on the air on September 10, 1956, as KTIX with a full-service format that operated only during daytime hours (and would upgrade to full-time status two years later) under the ownership of Gordon Allen, who would sell the station to broker Hugh Ben LaRue. In 1962, William Boeing bought the station, flipped it to a country format and took the call letters KETO. The station also launched an FM counterpart on 101.5 (now KPLZ-FM). Boeing would then sell the station to Weaver-Davis Broadcasting. The station then shifted to Adult Contemporary as KSND. In 1970, the callsign changed to KUUU, and rebranded as "KU16". At the time, a daytime transmitter in South Seattle and a nighttime transmitter on Bainbridge Island was needed, due to the need of a shaped antenna pattern so as to not interfere with co-channel KTIL in Netarts, Oregon. Sterling Recreation Organization bought KUUU and became a sister station with KZOK-FM in 1975, with the call letters changing to KZOK in 1977, and flipped to an Oldies format as "Solid Gold 16 KZOK".
At midnight on May 31, 1982, 1590 became KJET with an Alternative Rock format, which was starting to emerge in popularity at the time. The first song on "KJET" was "I Love Rock & Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. The station gained immediate popularity with its primary target audience of young adults, as the market did not have an alternative station on FM radio, which was where most music formats were migrating. In addition, the station also had a following outside of Seattle, particularly at night, due to its signal strength, where it was receivable in Eastern Washington and as far north as Alaska. However, due to financial troubles, KJET signed off at 3 p.m. on September 23, 1988, with "Through Being Cool" by Devo as the final song.
After that, the station became KQUL, with a 1950s/60s oldies format, and was completely satellite-fed from the "Kool Gold" network. (Adams Communications bought the station in 1989, with Chrysler Capital Corporation buying the station in December 1992 due to Adams' bankruptcy.)
KQUL changed its call letters back to KZOK in November 1989, and on February 1, 1990, became Seattle's home for the Z-Rock network, which then changed to a simulcast of KZOK-FM in October 1993.
On September 8, 1994, after Chrysler Capital sold the station to Salem Communications, and KZOK (AM) became KPOZ with a "positive Country" format, which would later transition to Christian music. The KLFE call letters came into effect on August 1, 1995.
On March 17, 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that eighty-eight stations had been given permission to move to newly available "Expanded Band" transmitting frequencies, ranging from 1610 to 1700 kHz, with KLFE authorized to move from 1590 to 1680 kHz.
A Construction Permit for the expanded band station was assigned the call letters KAZJ (now KNTS) on January 9, 1998. The FCC's initial policy was that both the original station and its expanded band counterpart could operate simultaneously for up to five years, after which owners would have to turn in one of the two licenses, depending on whether they preferred the new assignment or elected to remain on the original frequency. However, this deadline has been extended multiple times, and both stations have remained authorized. One restriction is that the FCC has generally required paired original and expanded band stations to remain under common ownership.
Brokered Russian programming was added in 2000. On November 15, 2010, KLFE switched to a conservative talk format, featuring hosts such as Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dennis Miller, Hugh Hewitt, and Mark Levin. Salem's own Michael Medved, based in Seattle, is not heard on the station due to his existing contract with KTTH. In August 2014, Salem Radio announced a name change to "AM 1590 The Answer", following suit with most of the other conservative talk radio stations operated by Salem nationwide.
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