King Radio is a noncommercial FM station based in Seattle. A complex of nonprofit entities owns it. Its revenue supports three musical organizations, including the Seattle Symphony and Opera.
The company also manufactures Bendix King avionics, including the popular KX 155 VHF navigation and communications radio. The unit, mounted in the cab of a vehicle, provides a longer range and more capabilities than handheld units.
Ed King Jr.
After the sit-ins and demonstrations, the Fellowship of Reconciliation encouraged King to take up church ministry. Reluctant to engage in risky civil disobedience, King assisted covertly. His roles included arranging secret meetings at Tougaloo College for ministers of different races and urging white churches to end racial segregation.
In March 1960, King, along with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., visited Montgomery, Alabama, and planned a campaign to visit white churches. However, police arrested them when they learned of their meetings.
Upon returning to Mississippi, King became the first white chaplain at Tougaloo College, staying for years, gaining popularity among students, and co-authoring the 2014 book “Mississippi: Behind the Scenes of Freedom Summer” with Trent Watts, providing valuable insights into the civil rights movement while helping organize the 1964 Freedom Vote.
Radio in the years after World War II was changing rapidly, as the popularity of television was gaining ground. The major radio networks that had once dominated the airwaves were giving up the medium to the new technology. Local stations were becoming more important than ever.
This led to a significant surge in local station viewership, with many favoring blues broadcasts. This marked the inception of the trend that birthed King Radio. After starting and selling a successful communications accessories company, Ed King founded King Radio in 1959. That same year, he designed and hand-built the KY 90, a game-changing, crystal-controlled VHF transceiver for light aircraft that quickly caught on with general aviation pilots. The KY 90 and other King Radio avionics instruments are still flying on thousands of general aviation aircraft.
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In the late 1970s, after graduating from the University of Washington with degrees in history and speech, Seattle native Peter Newman hosted a college radio show that ignited his passion for broadcasting. This led him to pursue a career in radio at Classical KING, where he held multiple roles, including The Morning Show host, Operations Director, Program Director, and General Manager.
Born in Brooklyn, BB King hitchhiked to Florida after high school, working as a disc jockey and writing for Miami newspapers. During this period, he met and married his first wife, Martha. Eventually, the young couple moved to South Carolina. He found a job as the host of a blues show on KFSR in Columbia and developed his conversational interview style by doing on-location interviews with citizens. Then came a chance to move on to the national scene.
Hired by WDIA in Memphis, he promoted Peptikon, an alcohol-infused tonic, gaining local acclaim as a guitarist. He rose on the Chitlin’ Circuit, signed with Universal Attractions, and played in major city theaters, launching his music career. In 1956, his band performed 342 one-night stands as his popularity soared.
By then, he was well on his way to becoming King of the Blues. But tragedy struck in the form of a fiery wreck of “Big Red,” his touring bus. The truck driver and passenger died in the crash, and King was liable because he had just paid off his insurance premium.
During the crash, he also lost his saxophone and his beloved harmonica, which would never be replaced. But he was determined to carry on. He vowed that he would play the blues for as long as he had breath in his body.
Throughout his 50-year career, Larry King has interviewed more people than any other TV or radio talk show host. He has been praised for his off-the-cuff interview style, which earned him the title of “master of the mic.” King’s TV work caught the eye of CNN founder Ted Turner, who hired him in 1985 for Larry King Live, the network’s first live phone-in talk show. His success on the show solidified his status as a media icon, making him America’s most famous TV interviewer.
Apart from his televised interviews, King authored several books and wrote columns for USA Today. He was renowned for his philanthropic efforts and advocacy for humanitarian causes. In 2010, he organized a two-hour television special that united celebrities, journalists, and earthquake victims from Haiti, raising millions of dollars for relief efforts.
King’s early radio career was a struggle, but his determination helped him build a following. He moved to Miami in the late 1950s, working as a disc jockey on local radio stations and developing his conversational interview style. In 1960, he started a local talk show and later became a national radio personality on the Mutual Broadcasting System.
He earned five Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductions, two George Foster Peabody Awards, 10 CableACE awards, and the title of Interviewer of the Year. He also holds multiple honorary degrees and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1959, he founded Radio, creating the affordable and clear KY 90 VHF communications radio. Radio continued to innovate with products like the KDF 800 automatic direction finder and the KX 155 navigation/communication radio, still used in general aviation. Some of the world’s top airplanes feature their personally crafted avionics, including the NAV 850 autopilot.
King Radio was founded in 1959 by Ed King, Jr., who started designing and hand-building radio components before branching out into aviation equipment production. His first hit was the KY 90, a groundbreaking, affordable, crystal-clear VHF radio for light aircraft. He followed this success with innovations like the KDF 800 Automatic Direction Finder and the KX 155 com nav radio, which are still in use on general aviation aircraft.
During his long career, King interviewed many famous political and cultural figures, from musicians to presidents and athletes. He also hosted several popular talk shows, most notably the Larry King Show and the nationally broadcast television program Larry King Live. King’s off-the-cuff interview style and unflappable demeanor made him an effective communicator with a wide audience. His program frequently served as a platform for political candidates, with Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential candidacy being the most notable example.
Larry King’s spontaneous interview style was complemented by extensive research and preparation. He also worked as a news anchor at various radio and TV stations, such as WWNZ in Orlando, WFAN in NYC, WNDB in Daytona Beach, WKLX in Rochester, and WRHP-FM in Syracuse. After Dorothy Bullitt’s death in 1977, her daughters formed King Broadcasting Company, acquiring radio stations like KWOD in Wood River, WCSH-FM in Albany, and WLAC-FM in Seattle, with FCC approval on October 20, 1977.
In 1985, KING-FM was the first radio station in the United States to play The Beatles’ entire catalog, alphabetically from A to Z. In the same year, Steve Lawson drove the KING Radio Money Van, giving away cash to listeners who sported the official KING winner stickers on their cars.