Lightning Storm Knocks Out Forks Washington Radio Stations

Jim Dalke

KBIS-AM and KBDB-FM, Forks, Washington, are off the air after being badly damaged by a rare lightning storm that hit the Northwest Wednesday afternoon, December 9. Both stations broadcast from a common 200 foot tower adjacent to the stations studio building in downtown Forks. The stations are the only commercial radio stations covering the remote Northwest region of Washington State.

It is not known how soon the station operations can be restored. The lightning not only destroyed the stations tower lighting, FM isolation equipment and ATU, but all of the stations program automation, telephone equipment and computer networking. Condition of the stations transmitters are unknown, but may be damaged as well.

KBIS-AM operates on 1490 kHz with 1 kW, and KBDB-FM operates on 96.7 mHz with 7 kW ERP. Both stations are owned by First Broadcasting Investment Partners of Dallas, Texas. KBDB changed frequencies two years ago as part of the relocation of KCMQ-FM 104.5, from The Dalles, Oregon to Covington, Washington to serve the greater Seattle market from Cougar Mountain.

The lightning storm also caused a fire that destroyed a nearby home and caused an electrical outage that affected more than 3,000 customers in the Forks area.

More information will be available on as it becomes available.