KVI is a commercial radio station located in Seattle, Washington (U.S.), broadcasting to the Seattle area on 570 AM. KVI currently airs a conservative talk format called "News Talk 570 KVI". Before 1949, KVI was located in Tacoma, Washington at 1280 AM, then 1060 AM, then 760 AM and finally 570 AM by late 1932. Its transmitter is on Vashon Island and its studios are located with KOMO-TV at KOMO Plaza (formerly Fisher Plaza) in Seattle.
KVI's legacy can be traced back to its debut on November 24, 1926, where it was licensed to Tacoma, Washington at 1280 AM. By the spring of 1928 its signal would be shifted to 1060 AM, followed by a larger shift to 760 AM, in the fall. By September 1932, it had moved to its permanent 570 AM frequency. In 1949, KVI relocated its studios and city of license to Seattle. KVI broadcasts from a single tower on Vashon Island.
In 1959, Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters added KVI to its portfolio. KVI switched to a very successful personality adult contemporary format in 1964. By 1973, KVI had evolved into a middle-of-the-road (MOR) direction. It was during this period that it became established as a dominant player in the market. KVI was the original flagship station for the ill-fated Seattle Pilots in 1969 and for the Seattle Mariners, from their inaugural season of 1977 until 1984. KVI was also the original home of the Seattle Sounders (NASL) from their inaugural season in 1974 until 1976 and was the westside flagship station of the Washington State University Cougars from 1972 until 1979 and again from 1983 until 1987.
By 1982, KVI had begun to gradually add more talk programming. In July 1984, KVI switched to oldies. That direction would last less than a decade. By 1992, KVI had a talk-format again. At first, the station used the slogan "the balanced alternative" with a lineup alternating liberal and conservative talk hosts, but in 1993, KVI dropped all its liberal hosts except Mike Siegel. Siegel, formerly a liberal, swung right in his views during this period and remained on the station. The other slots were filled by a lineup of both local and nationally syndicated conservatives. By May 1994, the year KVI was sold (along with KPLZ-FM) to Fisher Communications, KVI had an almost entirely conservative-talk format.
Due to the failure of the format, which only garnered an average of a 0.5 share of the market, and losing the ratings battle against KJR-FM and KMCQ, KVI began stunting with Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day, 2011. On January 3, 2012, the station flipped back to talk, this time as "Smart Talk", with an emphasis on entertainment news, lifestyle and health reports, and local news. Programs included "Sunrise Seattle", a Good Morning America-type program hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe, Clark Howard, Phil Hendrie, "The Buzz" with Scott Carty, the "Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal" with Michael Castner, ConsumerMan with Herb Weisbaum, and Don Imus, as well as paid programming on weekends. After only nine months, the "Smart Talk" format was dropped on September 4, 2012 in favor of a return to conservative talk.
On April 11, 2013, Fisher announced that it would sell its properties, including KVI, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Although Sinclair primarily owns television stations, the company intends to retain KVI, KPLZ-FM, and KOMO. The deal was completed on August 8, 2013.