KOMO-TV, is a television station in Seattle, Washington. It is affiliated with the ABC network. It broadcasts on analog channel 4 and digital channel 38. It is the flagship station of Fisher Communications, and its studios are located in Fisher Plaza along with sister stations KOMO AM, KPLZ-FM and KVI, directly across the street from the Space Needle. The station's transmitter is located on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.
KOMO-TV has set many broadcast "firsts" in the industry. In 1954, a KOMO news photographer discovered a way to develop color film in a new process that took just a couple hours instead of days. His discovery allowed KOMO-TV to become the first TV station in the nation to broadcast in true color.
Such well-known ABC shows as The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family originally aired on KOMO during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1985, KOMO became the first TV station to broadcast daily programming in full stereo sound.
In 1994, KOMO applied for the first test license for broadcasting new high-definition signals. KOMO began broadcasting HDTV in 1997, and on May 18th, 1999, KOMO became the first TV station in America to broadcast its daily newscasts in HDTV. This statement, however, comes into conflict with a claim made by WFAA-TV (sister station of KING-TV) that it is the first station in the nation to broadcast its daily news programs in HDTV, on February 28, 1997.
KOMO nearly lost one of its own in the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. Dave Crockett, who had been with KOMO since 1975, had been covering the mountain every day for three weeks until being rotated out a few days prior. On the morning of May 18, he woke up at 3AM in Seattle on a hunch that he would get some impressive video that day, and loaded up his news car and headed towards Mount St. Helens without anyone at KOMO knowing about it. He arrived at the mountain just as it was erupting. His news video, which shows an advancing ash cloud and mud flows down the South Fork Toutle River, was made famous by its eleven-minute long "journey into the dark", six of those minutes of which were recorded in "total darkness" as Crockett narrated to what he thought would be his "last day on Earth."
His video made worldwide news and was used in a movie remake of the disaster starring Art Carney. The car he drove, with the remains of KOMO lettering still visible, is now a part of a Mount St. Helens Volcano Museum just outside Toutle.
KOMO also has an almost forgotten distinction as being the first station in Seattle to broadcast a television signal. Whereas crosstown rival KING 5 was the first to air "wide audience" television (of a Thanksgiving day high school football game), KOMO broadcast a television signal nearly 20 years prior. On June 3, 1929, KOMO radio engineer Francis J. Brott televised images of a heart, a diamond, a question mark, letters, and numbers over electrical lines to small sets with one-inch screens. A handful of viewers were captivated by the broadcast. KOMO would likely have held the distinction of being the first television station in Seattle, and perhaps the nation, were it not for a depression and World War II.
Former NBC Nightly News weekend anchor John Seigenthaler Jr. was once a reporter and anchor at KOMO-TV. He married Kerry Brock, another KOMO News anchor and reporter in 1992, left the station and moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
Bill Brubaker was a long time newscaster with KOMO-TV for 25 years from 1962 to 1987.
Keith Jackson, now retired after a long career with ABC Sports, had his start at KOMO in the 1950s.
Bruce King was a long time sportscaster with KOMO-TV for 31 years, starting in 1968 and retiring in 1999. He also worked at WABC in New York for one year (1981), and can be seen in a video promo of the station at the "80's TV Themes SuperSite."
Reporter Steve Osunsami of ABC News was a reporter with KOMO-TV in the mid 90s. His reports included stories on a severe snowstorm that struck Washington State in 1996.
Former KOMO reporter and anchor Emily Langlie, who worked at KOMO during much of the 1980s and 1990s, is the granddaughter of former Washington State governor Arthur B. Langlie.
KOMO anchors Dan Lewis, Kathi Goertzen, and weather forecaster Steve Pool have the third longest-running tenure out of any anchor team in America, having anchored KOMO News together since 1987. The station's evening newscast has long been co-anchored by Lewis and Goertzen, and was praised by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as being the "Best First-String anchor unit in town." The show now airs at 6pm, but originally aired from 5-6pm and 6:30-7PM until August 14, 2006 when it made the 5PM newscast a half-hour and moved ABC World News Tonight to 5:30PM in order to compete with KIRO-TV's airing of the CBS Evening News and to challenge KIRO's Eyewitness News at 6PM.
Dan Lewis came to KOMO in 1987 after working at WJLA in Washington DC, replacing retiring news anchor Jim Harriott. Previous to his work with WJLA, he also worked for WISN-TV, also in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and at WLKY-TV in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1993, he became the first reporter to interview then-president Bill Clinton following the inauguration ceremony The interview was conducted at the White House. On October 1, 2007, KOMO celebrated Dan Lewis' 20 year tenure with KOMO. His first newscast with KOMO which aired on September 21, 1987, among scores of other highlights were part of a five-minute long tribute KOMO aired to celebrate his career. His 20 year tenure is the 4th longest tenure in Seattle.
Kathi Goertzen joined KOMO-TV just after the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980, fresh from the Washington State University. Prior to her work with KOMO, she was an intern for Spokane's KREM-TV and also was an anchor for WSU's campus newscast. In 1981, Goertzen became a general assignment reporter, and took weekend news anchoring duties from Kerry Brock in 1982. In 1984, she became the female co-anchor for the weeknight editions of "KOMO 4 News" alongside Jim Harriott. In 1989, she was the first American local TV news reporter to broadcast live from Germany as the Berlin Wall came down. Her broadcasts originated at the Brandenburg Gate from what was then known as "West Berlin." After a three-year absence from the late-night newscasts to spend time with her two daughters , she returned to KOMO on January 3 2007
On Sept. 16th, 2005, Goertzen announced she was taking a leave of absence to treat a benign brain tumor She had a similar one removed seven years before. Upon her return to work then, coanchor Dan Lewis welled up with tears, saying "Kathi, don't ever leave me like that again." Kathi announced on April 2, 2008, that she would have a third surgery to remove the brain tumor that had once again grown to the point that removal was necessary.
Weatherman Steve Pool has been at KOMO since 1977, starting out as KOMO's lead science reporter. In 1984, Pool was promoted into the role of chief weather forecaster upon the retirement of former longtime weather forecaster Ray Ramsey, and has held the position at KOMO ever since. In 2006, he co-wrote a book called "Somewhere I Was Right: Why Northwest Weather is So Predictably Unpredictable" with KOMO-TV producer Scott Sistek. Steve Pool also has a column titled "Ask Steve" in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Additionally, Steve Pool has been called in on a number of occasions to substitute for the Good Morning America weather anchor (his last substitute fill-in was when Spencer Christian was at Good Morning America), having done so from both the KOMO Weather Center and the Good Morning America studios in New York City.
KOMO reporter Bryan Johnson has been with KOMO for more than four decades. In 2002, he celebrated 40 years with KOMO. Having started at KOMO Radio, and actually serving as KOMO Radio's news director, he moved to KOMO TV in 1976 and has been a reporter and anchor at KOMO TV ever since. His reporting has won him several Emmy awards and a National Unity in Broadcasting award.
Reporter Keith Eldridge is also a longtime reporter at KOMO. Having been with the station since 1983, he often reports on political issues and news issues in the south Puget Sound area of Washington State. In, 1996 and 1999, he was the only reporter to cover the extensive flooding of the Skokomish River valley during a period of unusually heavy rain. In the 1996 flooding event, he actually became stranded for three days, as well as two other KOMO news vehicles and one other reporter, as the raging Skokomish River ripped up stretches of Highway 101. His route north was also blocked by large landslides that also blocked stretches of 101. His reporting has won him several Emmy awards and has been twice the recipient of the Associated Press' "Reporter of the Year" for the State of Washington.
KOMO sports director Eric Johnson came to KOMO in 1994, replacing KOMO weekend sports anchor and former KOMO Radio broadcaster Bob Rondeau. In 1998, he was named weeknight sports anchor and sports director upon the retirement of longtime KOMO sports director Bruce King. The 1997 movie Prefontaine, a movie dedicated to distance runner Steve Prefontaine, lists a very young Eric Johnson in the credits as the "Olympic Trials Reporter. " In 2006, it was announced in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article that Johnson will succeed Dan Lewis as KOMO's primary anchor upon Lewis' retirement.
KOMO TV and its news division is a consistent award winning operation, and averages more wins per year than any Seattle television station. In 2002, "KOMO 4 News" was awarded the Edward R. Murrow award for best large market newscast.. They were awarded the same award in 2008. . In June of 2008, KOMO was awarded 15 regional Emmy awards, taking top honors in Station Excellence, Morning News, Evening News, Breaking News, and Team Coverage. KOMO anchor/reporter Molly Shen won the prestigious Individual Achievement award for the second time in three years, and longtime anchor Kathi Goertzen took home a Silver Circle award, recognizing her 25-plus years with the station. .
In the movie Life or Something Like It (2002), Angelina Jolie's character works for a fictional Seattle TV station, KQMO 4, which is based on the real-life KOMO-TV. Parts of the movie were shot on location at KOMO's studio, and KOMO's equipment was also shown in some scenes (with KOMO's logo on the equipment and in the studio modified to say "KQMO" instead). Some of KOMO's anchors (such as Steve Pool, Margo Myers, Dan Lewis, and Theron Zahn) also made appearances in the movie. (Margo Myers has since moved to rival KIRO-TV.)
In Harry and the Hendersons (1986) starring John Lithgow, then-hosts Dana Middleton and Dick Foley of KOMO-TV's Northwest Afternoon made an appearance as news anchors on KOMO 4 News, reporting the mysterious appearance of a Sasquatch in downtown Seattle. Several of KOMO-TV's news vehicles, bearing KOMO's old logo and paint scheme, also made an appearance.
In the movie Black Sheep starring Chris Farley and David Spade, a KOMO News vehicle and a fictionalized version of the KOMO News 4 anchor team are seen in a sequence close to the ending of the movie. The only other real-life Washington State TV station to be featured (even though it was only a news vehicle) in the movie is KCPQ Channel 13 (even though at the time KCPQ had no news program).
A person holding a KOMO camera makes a brief appearance in the beginning of the 1974 Warren Beatty thriller Parallex View
KOMO-TV and its sister station in Portland, KATU-TV (the only ABC affiliates owned by Fisher Communications), were the only two stations in the lower 48 states that delayed Monday Night Football for one hour from 1970 - 95, to accommodate local newscasts. The only time that it would be shown live if the Seattle Seahawks were playing. However in 1996 after protests by fans both stations aired the games live, regardless of who was playing.
KOMO-TV's home, Fisher Plaza, is featured in bumper scenes of ABC's Grey's Anatomy as well as the helipad. In addition to the bumper scenes on Grey's Anatomy, stock footage of several KOMO personalities, including Dan Lewis, Kathi Goertzen, is used on several other ABC shows.
A KOMO-TV story of a bear being shot with a tranquilizer dart, then falling upon a home trampoline, catapulting it high into the air before plummeting back to earth head-first became a favorite clip on the ESPN show Pardon the Interruption.
A popular video of an Auburn Senior High School cheerleader being run over by her school's football team, which made national, and later global news (and even featured in Jay Leno and other late night talk show monologues), originally aired on KOMO TV's "KOMO 4 News" as the sports segment's "Play of the Night."
KOMO TV has used many names for their television newscasts, below is a list of them, and when they were used.