KPWK (93.3 FM, "Power 93.3") is a CHR/Top 40 radio station licensed to Seattle. Its transmitter is located on Cougar Mountain, and operates from its studios in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood northwest of downtown. KPWK is one of two Top 40 stations in the Seattle market, the other being KQMV.

History

KBLE/The Nashville Sound

The station signed on the air in 1964 as KBLE-FM and aired a country music format known as The Nashville Sound.

The New 93/KUBE 93FM

On March 17, 1981, the station flipped to an automated Top 40/CHR format as "The New 93 FM." The station's first song was "Use ta Be My Girl" by The O'Jays, followed by "Beast of Burden" by The Rolling Stones. On July 8, 1981, at 5:04 PM, the station officially launched with a live and local airstaff.[2] On April 2, 1982, KBLE changed their call letters to KUBE, and became known as "KUBE 93". During their time as a Mainstream Top 40, KUBE competed against Top 40 powerhouse KPLZ. Ratings for the station were about middle of the pack, typically behind KPLZ.

KUBE 93

By January 1992, KUBE shifted to a Rhythmic contemporary hits direction. The station instantly gained Top 10 status in the Arbitron ratings.

In March 1994, Cook Inlet sold KUBE to a partnership between New Century Management and the Ackerley Group called New Century Media (KJR and KLTX would join the group in July).[3] Also that month, likely due to the public outcry of a "gangland-style" drive by shooting of a Ballard High School student (which some blamed hip hop music as a motivator behind it), as well as their audience's changing music tastes, KUBE shifted to a hybrid Rhythmic/Modern Rock format.[4] The station had the slogans "Seattle's New Music Revolution" and "Channel X", much in the style of the average modern rock station at the time. The station's playlist consisted of grunge rock tracks from local and regional acts (which was called "the Seattle sound"), then-current national Alternative chart-toppers, and aforementioned rhythmic tracks, as well as songs from artists that modern rock station KNDD wouldn't play, such as Sonic Youth, The Meat Puppets, Stereolab, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. However, the station's ratings were not impressive, with the station dropping out of the Top 10. By November of that year, the station flipped back to a full-blown Rhythmic format.[5] The station's second time with the format capitalized on dance music, and largely ignored songs with violent and misogynistic lyrics. The station quickly jumped back in the Top 10, usually peaking at #1 in several books for the next several years.

In February 1998, the Ackerley Group would buy the station outright from New Century.[6]

For many years, KUBE marketed themselves as "Seattle's #1 Hit Music Station, KUBE 93". Clear Channel purchased KUBE, along with sister stations KJR-AM-FM, KFNK and outdoor advertiser AK Media, from Ackerley Communications in 2001.

Clear Channel's acquisition of former rival station KBKS (a top 40 station) from CBS Radio on April 1, 2009 caused KUBE to compete only against Rhythmic CHR station KQMV (Movin' 92.5), owned by Sandusky. The station also changed slogans to "More Non-Stop Music", and then to "Hits & Hip-Hop".

KUBE was the flagship station of "The T-Man Show" morning show, which aired from 1995 to 2009, when "The T-Man" retired to become a professional poker player (he is now on Fox Sports Radio as their night show host). The show featured Robert "The T-Man" Tepper, who was known for never showing his face to audiences, as well as co-hosts Pasty Dave (who was the show's producer), Hot Shot Scott, Vinnie The Pooh and Tari. The show was also briefly syndicated through Premiere Radio Networks, and was heard on KKRZ, KYLD, KHHK, KFAT, and KYWL (now KBBD).

Shellie Hart, longtime midday DJ and music director for the station, was let go in November 2011 due to budget cuts issued by Clear Channel. Hart had been with the station since 1991, except for a brief 3-year period between 1996 and 1999, when Hart programmed modern rock station KEDJ/Phoenix.[7] Hart is currently at KRWM.

Despite many years of high ratings, around 2011, however, KUBE's ratings began declining, largely due to poor programming and marketing decisions. KUBE was also no exception to company-wide budget cuts, which largely resulted in the release of many long-time personalities and replacement with voicetracked talent from outside of the market. New competition from KQMV and KHTP took away many of their listeners. KUBE also rotated through a few morning shows after "The T-Man Show" ended, such as Eddie Francis & Karen Wild, The JV Show (syndicated from sister KYLD), The Breakfast Club, and DJ SupaSam. None of these programming changes resulted in any ratings improvement for the station. In the December 2015 Nielsen ratings period for the Seattle market, KUBE was ranked #13 with a 2.3 share.[8]

Power 93.3

As part of a major format shuffling involving four of iHeart Seattle radio stations, on January 19, 2016, at Noon, after playing "Whatever You Like" by T.I., KUBE's long-time Rhythmic CHR format and branding moved to lower-power sister frequency KKBW, displacing their Active Rock format (which would tweak to Alternative and move to KYNW). At the same time, 93.3 adopted KBKS's Mainstream CHR format, added in some newer rhythmic titles to the playlist, and rebranded as "Power 93.3." [9][10] The first song on "Power" was "Sorry" by Justin Bieber.[2] This returned the 93.3 frequency in Seattle to a Top 40/Mainstream format for the first time in nearly 24 years.

New KPWK call letters took effect on January 26, 2016; the KUBE call letters moved to KKBW the same day.

HD Radio

KPWK-HD1 carries the same programming as the analog signal, while KPWK-HD2 carries a broad-based Rhythmic format known as "WiLD". The "WiLD" format is patterned after most Clear Channel owned Rhythmic Top 40 stations by playing Mainstream Rhythmic Pop/Dance tracks and very few Hip Hop/R&B tracks.[2]