Norm Gregory Radio Scrapbook: The Demise of Seattle ‘Progressive Rock’ Stations, 1973

by Norm Gregory on March 23, 2012

in 1973, KZOK, Radio Scrapbook

The headline of the Seattle Times Vic Stredicke column of June 10, 1973 says it: The experiments with ‘Progressive Music’ in the early ’70s failed. It was several more years before we had a commercially competitive rock station on FM in Seattle. Theories abound. Seattle’s geography was FM unkind. FM stations were low powered, etc. The truth is, regardless of the myths that exist, these FM formats were listener unkind. When FM started to tighten up, play some hits (not avoid the hits**) and present the best of alternative music the ratings would come. I was part of the process when I arrived at KZOK in the fall of 1974. Three years later we were number one.

** I remember KOL-FM playing the first America album . . . but as soon as “Horse With No Name” became a hit . . they took it off. They no longer played any of the album in fear their reputation would be tarnished by being associated with anything the AM stations were playing.

Scapebook Stredicke 061073 ProgressiveRockCrumbles 630[ Click on image above to see a more readable version ]

What is going on here? I have been digging through My Collection of photos, news clippings and other documents from my 35 years in radio. The daily postings began on May 19, 2011. The Collection can be sorted:

By radio station: KPUG • KJRB • KJR • KZOK • KQFM • KOMO • KJR-FM

By year: 1961 • 1963 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972
1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1994

1 Ed Bennett March 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm

It is interesting to point out that KTAC-FM drifted back to progressive rock in the fall of 73 after KOL-FM bit it. They had Bruce Buls and Joe Fiala there for a while then Bruce became one of the first jocks at KZOK. In about the spring of 74, KTAC-FM brought back some of the jocks that they let go a year ago. Then in November of 75, the station died and went to K-BIRD heaven. (or purgatory)

2 Norm Gregory March 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Bruce was at KZOK doing mid-days when I arrived in September 1974. That’s Bruce sitting in the KZOK studio in photo #5 on this page.

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