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KPLU Gives Way To KNKX

88.5 KNKX Connects KPLU Tacoma SeattleFriends Of 88.5 has closed on its acquisition of Public News/Jazz 88.5 KPLU Tacoma/Seattle from Pacific Lutheran University.

With the change in ownership comes a change in call letters to KNKX. The station will be branded as “88.5 Connects“. The Friends of 88.5 group acquired the station after matching University of Washington’s originally agreed-upon $8 million purchase announced last November. The University intended to merge KPLU’s operations into that of its 94.9 KUOW-FM Seattle while flipping the station to all Jazz.

Friends of 88.5 FM, a nonprofit community organization formed to preserve local National Public Radio affiliate KPLU, announced the official and final closing of the sale of KPLU. The new, community-owned station is 88.5 knkx.

An unprecedented “Save KPLU” fundraising effort among the station’s listeners resulted in more than 24,000 donations from over 18,000 donors contributing to the $7 million goal, which was reached on May 26, 2016. Additional contributions since that date have helped build a reserve fund to cover operations now that the station is independently owned.

“We’re excited about the future of 88.5 Connects, knkx,” says Joey Cohn, General Manager of knkx. “We’re proud that we will continue to bring our listeners the wonderful jazz, blues and news programs they love. We also look forward to creating new and exciting shows that will connect with our audience in meaningful ways.”

Friends of 88.5 FM, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is the entity responsible for the Save KPLU campaign and, as of August 31, will oversee all station governance issues, including fiscal oversight, FCC compliance and policy decisions. A list of members of the Friends of 88.5 FM’s Board of Directors can be found at As mandated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the station will also maintain a Community Advisory Council. Together, these two groups are the primary means by which the community has influence on the operations and direction of the station. About one-third of all public radio stations in the U.S. operate as community licensees, most notably WBEZ in Chicago, WNYC in New York, KQED in San Francisco, as well as local stations KEXP and KING-FM.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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