The 70s: The Underground Birth of KISW

The 70s. The Underground Birth of KISW.

The 70s gave birth to Microsoft, Starbucks, and the rock n' roll hero you now know as KISW.

Things were different in the 70s. Rock radio was beginning to emerge. Disco was rock's arch nemesis, but more on that later.

It's hard to imagine the significance of the 70s for KISW. It was our birth decade. Those 10 years saw many of our great rock artists bloom into larger than life characters. Disco didn't stand a chance compared to The Who, The Stones, Queen, Black Sabbath and of course, the mighty LED ZEPPELIN. The same Led Zeppelin that played on a barge in Greenlake in May of ‘69... a friggin’ barge! In the 1970s, KISW helped launch the careers of many that you hear on the air today.

The KISW air staff of the 70s is now the stuff of folklore. Langan and West, Crow and Hovanes! Steve Slaton was rocking the airwaves at night, and was the first guy in America to play AC/DC on the radio! The KISW Duck deserves its due too.

Many of you, when not glued to KISW, were playing your music on 12 inch vinyl records, and then 8 track players. You were opening your Rainer or Olympia beers with a can opener. You were rolling with the windows down and the music up. Chances are, you were rockin' bell bottom jeans and long hair. KISW t-shirt... check! Were you yelling with all your heart, "Disco sucks!"? You bet your ass.

Locally, the Seattle SuperSonics won the NBA Championship in 1979. Hell, Seattle SuperSonic Spencer Haywood had his own jazz show on KISW. The Seattle Seahawks came to us in ‘76, followed by the Seattle Mariners in ‘77. 

All In The Family, Sanford And Son, MASH and Saturday Night Live were where it's at on the TV front. Star Wars, The Godfather and The Exorcist were some of the biggest and most important movies of the decade. 

Where it all began for the unlikely, underdog, rock radio station, KISW… the 70s.


Some images by Darrell M. Westmoreland