KING-FM Latitude and Longitude:

47°30′14″N 121°58′34″W / 47.504°N 121.976°W / 47.504; -121.976
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Broadcast area
Frequency98.1 MHz ( HD Radio)
BrandingClassical KING
Format Classical music
  • HD2: Classical Calm
  • HD3: Classical Christmas
  • Beethoven, a Nonprofit Corporation
  • (Classic Radio)
First air date
December 1947
Call sign meaning
King County
Technical information [1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID11755
HAAT707 meters (2,320 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
47°30′14″N 121°58′34″W / 47.504°N 121.976°W / 47.504; -121.976
Public license information
Webcast Listen Live

KING-FM (98.1 MHz; "Classical KING") is a non-commercial classical music radio station in Seattle, Washington. It is owned by Classic Radio, a nonprofit organization. [2] The studios and offices are on Mercer St in Seattle. [3] KING-FM holds periodic on-air fundraisers to help support the station through listener contributions.

KING-FM's transmitter is located in Issaquah on Tiger Mountain. [4] Its effective radiated power (ERP) is 66,000 watts (68,000 with beam tilt). KING-FM broadcasts in the HD Radio format, using two subchannels for alternate classical programming. [5]


Early years

The station that today is KING-FM first signed on the air in December 1947, originally at 94.9 MHz. [6] It was owned by King Broadcasting, whose co-owner and president was Dorothy Bullitt. The year before, Bullitt had purchased KEVR (1090 AM) and changed it to KING (now KPTR). [7] [8] (Seattle is located in King County, for which its call letters were chosen.)

In 1949, King Broadcasting bought 98.1 KRSC-FM, which had gone on the air in February 1947 under different ownership. [7] KING-FM moved from 94.9 to 98.1 MHz, replacing KRSC-FM. The 94.9 transmitter was donated to Edison Vocational School, which used it to broadcast educational programming on that frequency. In 1958, the 94.9 frequency was taken over by KUOW-FM, owned by the University of Washington, and now a public news-talk station affiliated with NPR.

Concurrent with the purchase of KRSC-FM, King Broadcasting also acquired KRSC-TV (channel 5), which had signed on the previous year. The call letters were changed to KING-TV. [9] The three stations, KING-AM-FM-TV, had their studios and offices at 320 Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.

Switch to classical music

At first, KING-FM simulcast its AM counterpart. Over time, it began airing classical programs separate from the AM station, and by the late 1960s, it was exclusively a classical outlet, a format that has continued to be broadcast on the station since.

During the late 1970s, KING-FM carried syndicated concert broadcasts by the Philadelphia Orchestra, usually under direction of Eugene Ormandy, the New York Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony. Many of the syndicated concert programs featured well-known instrumentalists and conductors performing works which they never recorded commercially - e.g. Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic in a highly memorable 1976 reading of Bruckner's Sixth Symphony in A major.

In the mid-1970s, KING-FM's schedule also included specialized programs showcasing Quadraphonic LP recordings and historical recordings. In 1983, KING-FM was the first station in the Seattle area to utilize compact disc (CD) technology for its recordings.[ citation needed]

Sale to non-profit group

In 1992, King Broadcasting was acquired by the parent company of The Providence Journal, a Rhode Island publishing and broadcasting company. While the new ownership wanted the TV station, the radio stations were sold to Classic Radio for $9.75 million. [10] The AM station was, in turn, sold to EZ Communications. KING-FM was run by a non-profit partnership, consisting of the Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, and the Arts Fund. Although KING-FM was owned by a non-profit entity, the station continued to operate for a time on a commercial basis, selling advertising as before. Even after the sale, the radio station was co-located with KING-TV for several more years.

Many radio transmitters in the Seattle-Tacoma radio market were moved to surrounding mountains for better reception in Seattle's hilly topography. [11] In 1993, KING-FM relocated its transmitter from Seattle's Queen Anne Hill to Tiger Mountain in Issaquah. A backup transmitter was on nearby Cougar Mountain. [12] This higher-elevation transmitter location provided a significant improvement in KING-FM's reception quality in its listener area. KING-FM also began broadcasting its programming online, becoming one of the first internet radio stations, streamed by RealNetworks c. 1995. [13]

Switch to public radio

The center recording studio for KING-FM at the Seattle Opera building in Seattle

On March 23, 2010, KING-FM announced that it would transition to a non-commercial, listener-supported public radio station in July 2011, citing reduced advertising revenue. [14] Several other commercial classical radio stations have made similar transitions to public radio status, including WQXR-FM in New York City, WCRB in Boston and KDFC in San Francisco. Successful fundraising efforts led KING-FM to announce on April 7, 2011, that the transition would instead take place on May 2, two months ahead of schedule. [15]

In 2011, KING-FM made the successful transition from a commercial to a non-commercial public radio station. As a listener-supported station, KING-FM has added new programming and added two additional channels of classical music using HD Radio technology. KING-FM is one a handful of non-commercial FM radio stations to broadcast outside the standard band for FM stations of its type (88-92 MHz; it is also one of two such stations in the Seattle market alongside KUOW-FM).

The station relocated its recording studio and offices to the Seattle Opera's Seattle Center building in 2020. [16] In 2022, KING-FM renamed itself Classical KING and changed its logo as a means of reducing perceived elitism. [17] The following year, Classical KING redesigned its website to improve accessibility. [18]


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KING-FM". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "Data". Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  3. ^ "Classical KING contact-us". Classical KING. Retrieved April 2, 2024.
  4. ^ "Radio-Locator KING-FM". Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  5. ^ "HD Radio station guide for Seattle–Tacoma, WA". Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved May 31, 2015. HD Radio Guide for Seattle-Tacoma
  6. ^ "Broadcasting Yearbook 1949" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1949. p. 315. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  7. ^ Duncan, Don (August 22, 1990). "Pioneers In Broadcasting". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  8. ^ "Broadcasting Yearbook 1950" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1950. p. 314. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  9. ^ "Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1994 page B-399" (PDF). Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  10. ^ Bill Virgin (December 26, 2007). "On Radio: Keep experimenting to get better reception". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  11. ^ Irwin, Doug (November 2013), "Build better backups", Radio, vol. 19, no. 11, pp. 14, 16–21, 24
  12. ^ Melinda Bargreen (November 30, 2003). "Behind the Scenes ; KING-FM streaming audio guru / Bryan Lowe". The Seattle Times. p. K1. Retrieved September 27, 2023. KING-FM ... one of the first radio stations to broadcast live over the Internet...almost eight years ago when the station was chosen by Seattle-based RealNetworks
  13. ^ "Classic-music KING FM to rely on listeners". Puget Sound Business Journal. American City Business Journals. March 23, 2010. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  14. ^ Rolph, Amy (April 7, 2011). "KING FM will become listener-supported sooner than thought". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
  15. ^ Connelly, Joel (June 18, 2019). "Cohabitation in the arts: KING-FM will move in with Seattle Opera". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  16. ^ "Classical-KING Rebranding". Classical KING. Archived from the original on December 23, 2022. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  17. ^ "An Amazing Team brought you this Website". August 4, 2023. Archived from the original on August 8, 2023. Retrieved October 27, 2023.

External links