KNKX 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 Seattle metropolitan area
Frequency88.5 MHz ( HD Radio)
Branding88.5 KNKX
SubchannelsHD2: Jazz24
Affiliations NPR
OwnerPacific Public Media
First air date
November 16, 1966 (as KPLU-FM)
Former call signs
KPLU-FM (1966–2016)
Call sign meaning
Technical information [1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID51199
ERP68,000 watts
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
Translator(s)See § Translators
Public license information
Webcast KNKX Web Player KNKX AAC+
Jazz24 Web Player Jazz24 AAC+(HD2)

KNKX (88.5 MHz) is a public radio station licensed to Tacoma, Washington, United States. A member of National Public Radio (NPR), it airs a jazz and news format for the Seattle metropolitan area. The station is owned by Pacific Public Media, a community-based non-profit organization. It operates from studios in downtown Seattle and downtown Tacoma. KNKX broadcasts from West Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah Alps with a power of 68,000 watts.

The station originally debuted in 1966 as KPLU-FM, owned by Parkland-based Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). It became a community licensee in 2016 after a proposed sale to the University of Washington, owner of fellow NPR station KUOW-FM in Seattle, resulted in opposition from station listeners.

KNKX runs jazz programs middays, evenings and overnight, and carries a variety of NPR programs in other dayparts, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and Fresh Air. The locally produced BirdNote airs every morning.


KNKX was the brainchild of Chris Knudzen, a regent of PLU from Burlington who, in 1951, donated the then-under construction Eastvold Chapel (now the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts [2]) with a radio studio to the university under the desire of having it host a radio station. While the studio was used extensively, it took 15 years for the station to debut; the station formally signed on the air as KPLU-FM on November 16, 1966, with the inaugural broadcast featuring a short speech from President Robert Mortvedt and interviews with local community leaders. [3] It was primarily run by university students and played jazz, blues and other music not usually heard on commercial radio stations. Originally, it broadcast from a tower on campus that was only 140 feet tall, effectively limiting its coverage area to Tacoma and adjacent suburbs. [4] Over time, the station added news programs from NPR to its schedule. It improved its coverage area, both by increasing its power and relocating to a tower that is 2,320 feet (710 meters) Height Above Average Terrain, allowing it to challenge established NPR member KUOW. For listeners outside the Tacoma-Seattle area, it set up eleven translators and simulcast stations.

Logo prior to August 31, 2016

On November 12, 2015, Pacific Lutheran University announced its intention to sell the station to the University of Washington, owner of KUOW. [5] The planned sale to UW triggered public outcry from KPLU's listener base, who feared KPLU's unique programming would be sacrificed if it became a sister station to KUOW. On November 23, the KPLU advisory board voted unanimously to oppose the sale. [6] The board sought to negotiate with a community-based non-profit group, Friends of 88.5, to raise $7,000,000 to buy the radio station and its network of translators and rebroadcasters from the university, keeping it independent. [7] By May 26, 2016, some 20,000 supporters met the goal. Friends of 88.5 began negotiating with PLU to purchase the station. [7]

On August 12, 2016, it was announced that the station would adopt the new call letters KNKX, pronounced like "Connects", which was chosen among several other choices by the station's listening audience. The new call sign went into effect when the station officially changed hands from PLU to Friends of 88.5 on August 30, 2016; the change was made as the station could not keep the KPLU callsign (as it was university property) during the sale negotiations. [8] [9] [10] In October 2018, it was announced that KNKX would move their Tacoma studio to downtown Tacoma, at 930 Broadway. [11] On August 29, 2019, the first live broadcast from their new home was aired by Dick Stein. The station hosted a grand opening celebration on September 7, 2019. [12]

KNKX announced plans to relocate its Seattle studio to the Madore Building, part of Pike Place Market, in March 2022. [13] A grand opening and public open house is scheduled for August 26, 2023. The larger space, on the fifth floor of the Madore Building, was obtained with a 10-year lease and include five studios. [14]


KNKX is also carried on the following satellite and broadcast translator stations to improve reception of the station:

Call sign Frequency City of license Facility ID Class ERP
( W)
( m ( ft))
Transmitter coordinates
KPLI 90.1 FM Olympia, Washington 91212 A 100 −17 m (−56 ft) 47°2′23.3″N 122°54′7.5″W / 47.039806°N 122.902083°W / 47.039806; -122.902083 (KPLI)
KVIX 89.3 FM Port Angeles, Washington 91468 A 600 149 m (489 ft) 48°9′2.3″N 123°40′13.7″W / 48.150639°N 123.670472°W / 48.150639; -123.670472 (KVIX)
KPLK 88.9 FM Sedro-Woolley, Washington 173038 A 730 47 m (154 ft) 48°32′29.4″N 122°17′47.6″W / 48.541500°N 122.296556°W / 48.541500; -122.296556 (KPLK)
Broadcast translators for KNKX
Call sign Frequency City of license FID FCC info
K265DP 100.9 FM Aberdeen, Washington 51200 LMS
K204BI 88.7 FM Bellingham, Washington 51195 LMS
K211AP 90.1 FM Centralia, Washington 51201 LMS
K284BM 104.7 FM Longview, Washington 38908 LMS
K288GG 105.5 FM Mount Vernon, Washington 51198 LMS
K214FI 90.7 FM Raymond, Washington 51196 LMS
K221FR 92.1 FM West Seattle, Washington 51202 LMS
K244EV 96.7 FM Woodland, Washington 142359 LMS

The West Seattle translator serves portions of Seattle that are shielded by hilly terrain from the main KNKX signal.[ citation needed] It was at 88.1 FM until 2012. [15]

See also


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KNKX". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ Ponnekanti, Rosemary (January 24, 2014). "Britten opera at PLU". Go. The News Tribune. p. 12 – via
  3. ^ "PLU to Go On the Air On KPLU-FM". The News Tribune. November 13, 1996. p. A-5 – via
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-227
  5. ^ "PLU Says It Intends To Sell KPLU 88.5 FM To KUOW Public Radio". KUOW. November 12, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Kiley, Brendan (November 23, 2015). "'A kick in the teeth': KPLU advisory board opposes sale to KUOW". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Sailor, Craig (May 26, 2016). "Supporters of Tacoma-based KPLU reach $7 million mark in bid to buy station". The Olympian. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Kiley, Brendan (August 12, 2016). "KPLU renamed KNKX (pronounced 'connects')". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  9. ^ Connelly, Joel (August 12, 2016). "Listener-rescued KPLU public radio dons new call letters—KNKX". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  10. ^ Kiley, Brendan (August 31, 2016). "KPLU officially begins broadcasting as KNKX". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  11. ^ Sailor, Craig (October 6, 2018). "Public radio station KNKX announces move to downtown Tacoma". The News Tribune. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  12. ^ Lida, Kate (September 3, 2019). "Public radio station KNKX goes from the brink of doom to new downtown Tacoma digs". The News Tribune. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  13. ^ "KNKX unveils plan to relocate its Seattle studios" (Press release). KNKX. March 15, 2022. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  14. ^ de Barros, Paul (August 15, 2023). "Peek inside KNKX's new Seattle home by Pike Place Market". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  15. ^ "KPLU's West Seattle frequency moving to 92.1 FM". KPLU. March 6, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2023.

External links