PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s Northwest Public Radio plans to open a new public radio station in Skagit County that will emphasize its in-depth, award-winning news coverage and special programs.

Skagit County is the former home of Edward R. Murrow, a broadcast journalism legend. Murrow, who is well-known for making broadcast journalism courageous, respectable and sincere, graduated from Washington State University in 1930. WSU operates Northwest Public Radio (NWPR).

The plan for the new radio station is comprised of two phases. First, National Public Radio (NPR) will begin broadcasting at 90.1 FM in late 2002 or early 2003, after Skagit Valley College station KSVR moves to a new frequency, 91.7 FM.

The second phase includes an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to upgrade the station. If the application is approved, the station will move from 90.1 to 89.7 FM, its power will be increased, and its signal will be broadcast from a much higher transmitter site on Butler Hill.

The second phase is dependent on how quickly the FCC acts on NWPR’s proposal. Assuming the availability of funding, NWPR projects this phase will be completed in late 2003 or 2004.

The total estimated cost for the project is $60,000. About $40,000 of the cost should be covered if NWPR receives a federal grant. The remaining $20,000 will need to be raised through donations.

Residents in Skagit County will have an opportunity to recognize their ties to broadcast journalism and Murrow by making donations, during a mid-July fund drive.