KUBE (104.9 FM, "KUBE 104.9") is a Rhythmic Top 40 radio station licensed to Eatonville, Washington and serving the southern Puget Sound region centered on Tacoma. The transmitter site is near Eatonville, and the station operates from its studios in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood northwest of downtown.
The 104.9 frequency first signed on in the late 1980s as translator K285AE that rebroadcast "K-Lite 95.7" (KLTX, now KJR-FM). The signal went dormant in the early 1990s, as that station increased their power.
The frequency came back to air in 1995 as KJUN-FM, broadcasting a country format. The call letters were changed to KKBY-FM sometime in 1996, and shifted to classic country. In 1998, KKBY shifted formats to urban contemporary as "Y 104.9". This format only lasted for a very short time.
On August 16, 1999, the station flipped again to what is known as the frequency's well known format: a grunge rock/metal rock-emphasizing active rock station known as "The Funky Monkey 104-9" (or "The Monkey 104-9"). The call letters were changed to KFNK that October 21. The station gained a noticeable presence in the South Puget Sound area as an alternative to commercially owned stations KISW and KNDD, which are both owned by Entercom. Even after Ackerley Communications bought the station from Rock on Radio, Inc. in 2001 (and later, Clear Channel in 2002), the station still emphasized on listener participation and playing music that may not be heard elsewhere, as well as giving air time to local acts. The station also had a nationwide and worldwide presence, as the station streamed online throughout its history. The station briefly aired syndicated programming in 2001, such as the "Lex and Terry" morning show, which is based out of Dallas, Texas. However, this led to low ratings, so the station dropped the show by 2002. However, the station aired syndicated programming again in 2010, when the station began carrying Nikki Sixx's "Sixxth Sense" show. The station was somewhat anomalous in that it rarely had disc jockeys hosting segments of airtime, and relied heavily on broadcast automation, which the station capitalized on (as some of their liners included "without the dumb-ass DJs and useless bullsh*t"). There was one full-time disk jockey, and 3 part-time air personalities did one show a week each. Most songs ended with a voiceover identifying the song title and artist, also called a "backsell."
On November 10, 2010, at Noon, the station dropped its 11-year-old active rock format and flipped to a '90s-leaning adult hits format as "GenX 104-9". The final three songs on The Monkey were "Brass Monkey" by the Beastie Boys, "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M., and "Closing Time" by Semisonic, while GenX's first three songs were "Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana, and "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-lot. The call letters were changed to KSGX on November 28. Throughout its life as "GenX", ratings for the station were negative, usually peaking at a 0.3 share, as compared to The Monkey's, which usually hung around the 1 share.
On October 28, 2011, at 5 PM, the station dropped the "GenX" format and began stunting with Halloween music as "Freddy 104-9". The last three songs on "GenX" were "My Favorite Mistake" by Sheryl Crow, "Anniversary" by Tony! Toni! Tone! and "Hella Good" by No Doubt, while the first song on "Freddy" was "Shout at the Devil" by Motley Crue.
At 12:01 AM on November 1, 2011, the station reverted to active rock as "The Brew 104-9". The last song on "Freddy" was "More Human than Human" by Rob Zombie, while the first song on "The Brew" was "Epic" by Faith No More. On December 6, 2011, KSGX changed call letters to KKBW to match "The Brew" moniker. The station's second go-around with the format does not have the grunge/metal-lean like their predecessor. The station's playlist consisted of current and well-known hard rock tracks, and some classic hard rock from artists like AC/DC, and Guns N' Roses, which The Monkey rarely played. Some of the station's airstaff was voice-tracked from other Clear Channel stations across the country (similar to iHeartRadio's Rock Nation on 104.9 HD2), unlike The Monkey.
As part of a major format shuffling involving four of iheart's Seattle stations, on January 19, 2016, at Noon, after playing "Lump" by Seattle band The Presidents of the United States of America, KKBW's format would be moved to sister KYNW and was modified to alternative as "ALT 102.9." At the same time, KUBE's long-time Rhythmic CHR format and branding moved to KKBW as "KUBE 104.9", with the format targeting the Tacoma and South Sound areas, as their former 93.3 FM frequency adopted KBKS's Mainstream Top 40 format and relaunched as "Power 93.3" (KBKS, in turn, would adopt KYNW's Adult Top 40 format). KUBE's first song on 104.9 was "Can I Get A..." by Jay-Z. With the change, afternoon host/program director Eric Powers (who had been with KUBE since 1992, becoming program director in 1998) was let go, with Tiffany Warner moving from middays to afternoons. The KUBE call letters were moved to 104.9 on January 26.
KUBE is owned and operated by iHeartMedia, Inc., which also owns and operates six other radio stations in the Puget Sound region: KBKS-FM (Adult Top 40), KFOO (Alternative), KHHO (Sports), KJR-FM (Classic Hits), KJR (AM) (Sports), and KPWK (Mainstream Top 40).