A Century of Service and Innovation
Fisher Flouring Mills incorporates on April 4, 1910 and begins milling operations in 1911 with the largest flour mill in the western United States.
KOMO AM begins broadcasting from Seattle’s Cobb Building and in its first year logs more hours than any other station in the country. In 1927, KOMO AM affiliates with NBC, providing Seattle with its first national network programming.
In 1941, Fisher purchases KJR after leasing the station from NBC for 8 years. Following the new FCC duopoly rule in 1944, Fisher swaps frequencies with KOMO and sells KJR. In 1945, Fisher Flouring Mills is awarded the War Food Administration Achievement “A” Award. In 1948, KOMO AM’s new studios at 4th & Denny are completed and the building’s antenna is the highest structure in the Seattle area. With an output of 50k watts, KOMO Country is heard from Alaska to California during night-time hours.
KOMO TV broadcasts its first full 14-hour day of commercial telecasting on December 10, 1953 and in 1956 presents the first live color television to the Northwest during the locally produced show “Deadline!” with Herb Robinson. Also in 1956, KOMO TV Chief Cameraman Merle Severen revolutionizes the broadcast news business by discovering a way to process color film in 90-minutes, permitting same day use. KOMO AM (1958) and KOMO TV (1959) become ABC affiliates.
In 1962, KATU Television in Portland, Oregon begins broadcasting. In 1963, Fisher Flouring Mills is presented with the President’s “E” flag for outstanding contribution to the Export Expansion Program of the United States.
In 1983, KOMO AM is the first AM station in Seattle to broadcast in stereo. In 1985 KOMO TV is the first commercial station in the U.S. to broadcast continuously in stereo. In 1988, KOMO TV becomes the first TV station in Washington to offer closed captioned local newscasts and KOMO AM wins the prestigious Golden Mike Award – recognized as the one radio station in the nation that consistently epitomizes the high standards of the broadcast industry.
In 1990, KOMO AM wins the International Radio Festival of New York Award. In 1994, Fisher Broadcasting Inc. purchases KPLZ FM and KVI AM from Golden West Broadcasters, and in 1995, purchases 12 radio stations from Sunbrook Communications Inc. In 1996, KOMO TV wins the Peabody Award for Local Programming Excellence and Fisher Broadcasting purchases KWJJ AM and FM in the Portland, Oregon market. In 1997, KOMO TV becomes the first TV station on the West Coast to transmit High Definition Television (HDTV) and on June 18 Fisher Companies Inc. “goes public.” In 1998, KOMO TV airs the first nationwide high definition broadcast – John Glenn’s return to space, and in 1999, KOMO TV becomes the first TV station in the world to broadcast daily local news in HDTV. Also in 1999, Fisher Broadcasting purchases 11 TV stations from Retlaw Broadcasting.
On June 11, 2000 KOMO TV broadcasts from Fisher Plaza, a newly constructed world-class communications facility, and in 2001, Fisher Communications, Inc. begins trading shares on the NASDAQ stock market. In 2002, KOMO TV wins the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast. In 2003, construction of Fisher Plaza is completed and the facility wins two prestigious design awards. In 2006 Fisher Communications creates Fisher Interactive Network, bringing all of its online assets together as an integrated platform. In 2006-2007, Fisher Communications enters Spanish-language TV with the purchases of stations in Seattle (KUNS), Portland (KUNP), and Yakima/Tri-Cities (KUNW+). In 2008, Fisher purchases KBAK-TV and KBFX-CA in Bakersfield, California and KOMO TV wins the Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. In 2009 Fisher stations complete the FCC mandated transition from analog to digital, and Fisher takes advantage of the digital transition, launching multicast stations in most of its markets. Also in 2009, KOMO TV is one of the first stations in the country to broadcast ATSC MobileTV.
In 2010, Fisher Interactive Network launches over 100 hyperlocal neighborhood Web sites in several markets with over 1,000 advertisers; Fisher wins the Innovator of the Year award at the Borrell Local Online Advertising Conference; and Fisher celebrates its Centennial year.