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1090 KPTK Seattle Gets New Calls; To Join CBS Sports Radio

AM 1090 KPTK Seattle Progressive Talk Ed Schulz Stephanie Miller Bill Press CBS Sports Radio The Fan KFNQOn the heels of Clear Channel dropping Liberal Talk from 620 KPOJ Portland in favor of Sports, CBS will follow suit at 1090 KPTK Seattle.

As of today the station has changed call letters to KFNQ, with a likely branding of “The Fan” to match many of its CBS Radio brethren coming. is reporting that Talk 1180 KLAY Lakewood/Tacoma will pick up the syndicated Ed Schulz and Stephanie Miller following 1090’s shift to Sports in January.

The Everett Post run by the operator of two stations in that city states that KFNQ will add a local afternoon show.

KPTK registered a 0.8 share of the audience in the October ratings. The shift to Sports will place it in direct competition with Clear Channel’s 950/102.9 KJR and Bonneville’s “710 ESPN” KIRO which combined for a 7 share in the same monthly. CBS Sports Radio will debut on January 2 with a national lineup including Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb, and Scott Ferrall.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.


  1. Despite my personal interest in keeping KPTK, that just seems like a dumb business move b/c who wants more sports on the radio?? Intelligent, funny, progressive talk is needed, even aside from the fact that there are 10 times as many conservative and religious stations! All those bumper stickers for KPTK I see — and I see lots and I have one — will be coming down and the station will lose money; watch. ~mandy

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta

      There’s a lot of factors that go into a format change that aren’t obvious on the surface. CBS is launching a national Sports radio network and wants to get the programming into as many markets as possible. Sports usually outbills its ratings more than any other format.

  2. Believe it or not, I figured that out before I wrote. My point remains there are enough sports channels, and we need more intelligent and relevant talk/news, so I predict your change will fail, and I hope it does.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta

      Um.. We have nothing to do with the change. We’re a radio industry news & commentary site.

  3. Profile photo of MattParker

    Broadcasting is an industry noted for dumb business moves. Many of these come about because broadcasting are competition focused, not customer focused and not at all listener focused. They are great believers in the sincerest form of flattery. So, if somebody does well with a format or type of program, a herd forms to follow. Most fail and sometimes the entire format dies from over-exposure and unrealistic expectation. Broadcasters are all too willing to drive away listeners they have in their rush to find new listeners, as radio keeps losing listeners overall.

    • Profile photo of ding101

      Look at San Francisco I know Cable Pundits say its a liberal DMA. But when I look at the ratings for SFO. KQED-FM (NPR affiliate) was a top 5 in the SFO ratings but when I look at KNEW 960 AM (Formerly KKGN-AM Progressive Talk and KQKE Progressive Talk) they are at the bottom. I like to know where is commercial Left wing talk ratings getting the big ratings and the big revenue in which DMA’s.

      • Profile photo of Lance Venta

        Outside of Madison, commercial Liberal Talk has not seen successes. It’s not so cut & dry as to why as usually the format has been on lower powered AM’s, competing with heritage NPR or All-News stations, lack of ownership support, or some combination of the following or other conditions.

        Using your San Francisco example, KQED and KCBS combine for over 10% of the audience. One is a 110kW FM, the other a simulcast of a 50kW AM and an 80kW FM. KKGN was on a 5kW AM signal and also had to deal with a more balanced presentation at KGO in addition to the other two. Was never a fair fight.

        • Profile photo of ding101

          OK its probably that there is a liberal market but in different venues like Blogs, apps, and other sources.

  4. This continues the trend of CBS dropping talk radio formats overall. Outside of WPHT/Philly, KNXT/Las Vegas, KDKA/Pittsburgh and WAOK/Atlanta – the latter of which has featured a long-running urban/liberal talk format – I really can’t think of any other general talk stations in their portfolio.

    (And no, I don’t count KFWB/LA, even though it is de facto managed by CBS. Nor do I count WXYT-AM/Detroit, which is axing the format in January for 24/7 CBS SR.)

  5. Um, Lance, we know that. We’re leaving comments here for decision makers to see if they want to, so the condescending “um” isn’t necessary.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta

      When you comment “your change” on my site, I’m sorry, but I’m going to take that as being addressed to me.

  6. In a city like Seattle, I wouldn’t think the format would be dumped. But, even with KLAY picking up some shows, I hope the format makes a return somewhere, as well as in Portland.

  7. Profile photo of MattParker

    Related bad news: Dial Global – the main distributor of progressive talk shows (among other programming) has de-listed its stock from the NASDAQ. That in the wake of a news release complaining about declining revenues (which they attributed to Rush).
    Also CBS Sports Radio is being distributed by Cumulus – not Dial Global, which had previously acquired CBS’ Westwood One and had distributed CBS NFL radio coverage.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta

      The Dial Global deal is completely unrelated to the move at KPTK except in why many companies are looking to take programming in-house.

      • Dial’s scapegoating of Rush was pretty petty on their part. If anything, Dial is hurting because they don’t own stations to clear their product like Cumulus and CC do, and Cumulus has been VERY aggressive in clearing their own product on their own stations.

        When Cumulus trotted out Huckabee as a counter-program to Rush in March, Dial had nothing. Dennis Miller isn’t live for that entire daypart, and Doug Urbanski ditched Dial early this year (to become a Rush fill-in).

        • Profile photo of Lance Venta

          This discussion is shifting away from its original topic. Perhaps move it to the boards?

          • Profile photo of MattParker

            FYI: Dial Global has Smerconish opposite Rush – for the time being….
            This flip may also reflect a shifting of alliances.
            CBS spun off Westwood One to Dial Global. Now CBS and Cumulus seem to be forming an alliance.
            Cumulus has the former ABC properties – except ESPN and Radio Disney.
            Now Cumulus is distributor for CBS Sports Radio and (rough count) as many Cumulus stations taking it as CBS stations (and far more than all others).
            Almost all KPTK programming came from Dial Global.
            KPTK didn’t have great terrestrial ratings (although they beat KVI) but it was one of the most listened to audio streams online.
            Is this move, and the one in Portland, about progressive talk or about Dial Global.

          • Profile photo of Lance Venta

            Is this move, and the one in Portland, about progressive talk or about Dial Global

            The Seattle move is all about CBS wanting a local affiliate for the Sports Network. Nothing else.

            Portland was a combination of low ratings and revenue, but also Clear Channel looking for a format that better meshed all the Oregon State and Trail Blazers programming that was being placed on 620 as it was.

          • For the record, Smerconish was always more of a CBS product that just so happened to be distributed by Dial. Same applies to the soon-to-retire Neil Boortz and Clark Howard (the latter is also distributed live opposite Rush) – those shows are programmed and managed by Cox Radio, but Dial distributes them.

            In a way, Cumulus is also in the same position with CBS SR, but they have much more in-house product ready to distribute to their own stations that Dial flat-out doesn’t.

            Again, this is simply a clearance issue. CBS is trying to take whatever advantage they can in clearing CBS SR in every major market possible. Station groups have done this all the time since CBS and NBC bought stations in the early 30s, and later on with ABC and Group W in the 50s and 60s. There is nothing else to the story.

  8. Profile photo of henryowings

    The sports talk format makes good money, period.

    This is a great radio business move; it has absolutely nothing to do with the election or some widespread anit-liberal talk radio conspiracy. Media giants like Viacomm aren’t in the revenge business, they want to make money. Jim Rome’s show alone will bring in way more listeners than the current KPTK lineup combined. The new sports station will also take a significant chunk out of the competition.

    Will I listen? Probably not. I have plenty of places to still listen to the progressive talk format.

    But if you put your politics aside (I am Green Party) and take your personal preferences out of the equation, you can see this is a smart business move, nothing else.

  9. A few thoughts:
    One problem KPTK had was that it always lagged well behind KUOW, the NPR station, in the ratings. KUOW has always had strong local programming and KPTK has never had local talk.There was a market there for KPTK as well, when the P-I folded and the Seattle Weekly basically became articles syndicated from other Village Voice-owned newspapers.
    Also it’s been mentioned that the Pacific Northwest doesn’t define `progressive” as Obama and the Democratic Party. Most progressives I know in Seattle roll their eyes at the Sam Seder `Democrats are the good guys’ rants, sort of Rush Limbaugh in reverse.
    Even Norman Goldman, one of the guys who’s been dumped in Seattle and Portland, says that the future of progressive radio appears to be satellite radio and the Internet. Leave it to conservatives to be back in the 19th century with AM radio.

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