NWPR station history
Except for the 1922 station that is now KWSU and the University of Idaho station (KUID) that became KRFA in 1984, these new coverage projects (including the 1994 KRFA power upgrade) have been funded through a combination of community donations and federal assistance from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program. Community leadership from individuals, foundations and commercial businesses has been crucial to extending public radio services throughout the Northwest Public Radio coverage area.
KWSU-AM 1250: The original station in our network and among the first radio stations in the country, KWSU signed on as KFAE December 10, 1922, and later spent many decades as KWSC. For the first half of its long life, most radio listening was at night and there was little interference, so KFAE/KWSC served most of the Northwest. Famed broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow first used a microphone at the station in the late 1920s as did sportscaster Keith Jackson in the 1950s and ABC journalist Barry Serafin in the 1960s. Today, KWSU serves the Palouse and Clearwater Valley area of southeastern Washington and northern Idaho . Studios are in Pullman in the Murrow Communication Center of Washington State University.
KFAE-FM 89.1: KFAE has served the Tri-Cities, central Washington and northeastern Oregon since June, 1982. Northwest Public Radio has staff and studios in Richland on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.
Multiple Translators: Eight translators were added in Ellensburg, Goldendale/The Dalles, Yakima , Lewiston/Clarkston, Ephrata/Soap Lake, Wenatchee , Cashmere/Dryden, and Chelan/Waterville.
KRFA-FM 91.7: In June, 1984, KRFA joined Northwest Public Radio in a cooperative arrangement between the University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University . Northwest Public Radio increased KRFA’s power tenfold in 1994.
KNWR-FM 90.7: KNWR signed on in June, 1992, serving Ellensburg, Wenatchee , Moses Lake and surrounding areas.
New Tri-Cities Studios: A challenge grant from the Battelle Memorial Institute generated support from other Tri-Cities businesses and individuals to build a studio in Richland . The companies that supported the studio construction through the Fund for Excellence were: Battelle Memorial Institute, IT Analytical, Kadlec Medical Center , Robert Young and Associates, Siemens Power Corporation, United Engineers and Constructors, Hanford Environmental Health Foundation.
KNWY-FM 90.3: Building on the support of translator listeners in the Yakima Valley , Northwest Public put KNWY on the air on February 20, 1993.
KNWO-FM 90.1: KNWO went on the air in January, 1994, serving the Camas Prairie, Cottonwood and Grangeville.
Kamiah/Kooskia Translator-FM 102.7: Northwest Public Radio built a translator to serve the Idaho towns of Kooskia and Kamiah. This translator went on the air in July, 1994.
Orofino Translator-FM 102.3: Northwest Public Radio put a translator on the air in Orofino, Idaho, in July, 1994.
KRFA Transmitter Replacement and Power Increase: Northwest Public Radio increased the power of KRFA Moscow from 1,450 watts to 14,500 watts. This project, completed in the fall of 1994, improved the coverage area and the quality of the signal.
KNWV-FM 90.5: Northwest Public Radio put KNWV on the air in 1995 to serve the Lewiston/Clarkston Valley. This station replaced the low-power translator that served the L/C Valley for about 12 years.
Pullman Studio Upgrade: Washington State University provided funds to upgrade our main studios. These funds enabled Northwest Public Radio to rewire its studios, replace 25 year old carpeting, curtains and consoles, and upgrade analog studio and production equipment to digital.
KZAZ-FM 91.7: On January 6, 1997, Bellingham ’s independent public radio station, KZAZ, merged with Northwest Public Radio to become Northwest Public Radio’s first station west of the Cascade Mountains. KZAZ went on the air in 1992 through the efforts of people in Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan Counties .
KWWS-FM 89.7: KWWS signed on March 6, 1997, providing a second NWPR service to the Walla Walla and Tri-Cities area.
KLWS-FM 91.5: Serving Moses Lake, Ephrata and Grant County , KLWS signed on April 10, 1997. The “L” in KWLS stands for Paul Lauzier, an Ephrata rancher who died in 1995. The Paul Lauzier Charitable Foundation made a $50,000 contribution to Northwest Public Radio to put KLWS on the air.
KNWP-FM 90.1: This station went on the air in April of 1998 and serves
Port Angeles , Sequim and other communities along the Highway 112 corridor. In addition, KNWP reaches Victoria, British Columbia, and much of lower Vancouver Island.
KQWS-FM 90.1: KQWS in Omak went on the air in January, 1999, and serves the Okanogan region of Washington and British Columbia .
New Pullman/Moscow Translator-FM 89.9: This translator serves the Pullman/Moscow area at 89.9 FM. It’s the same service heard on KWSU-AM (1250). However, while KWSU is required to sign off from midnight to 6:00 AM, the translator broadcasts 24 hours a day.
KMWS-FM 90.1: Northwest Public Radio acquired KMWS from Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon in November of 2002. The “M” in KMWS honors Edward R. Murrow, who grew up in Skagit County and is an alumnus of Washington State University .
Digital Studio Upgrade: We completed a major digital upgrade to our Pullman studios, including the replacement of 20-year-old analog audio consoles.
Wenatchee Translator-FM 90.3: Another new translator (90.3) provided Wenatchee with our NPR News service.
HD Radio in Yakima: Late in 2006, Northwest Public Radio converted KNWY, Yakima, to HD, the first Washington radio station east of the Cascades to complete this digital conversion.
KMWS-FM 89.7 Upgraded: KMWS, Mount Vernon/Burlington, was upgraded to better cover Skagit County. The transmitter site was move to a new and higher location on Butler Hill near Sedro Woolley. The transmitter power was boosted from 100 watts to 1,500 watts, and the frequency changed from 90.1 to 89.7. This upgrade also gave KMWS HD capabilities.
More HD Conversions: KLWS-FM (91.5), Moses Lake/Ephrata, and KFAE-FM (89.1), Tri-Cities, were both converted to HD.
KVTI-FM 90.9 was added to the Northwest Public Radio network in June through a partnership with Clover Park Technical College , bringing the NPR and Classical Music service to the Tacoma, Olympia and Seattle area.
KSWS-FM 88.9 in Chehalis and Centralia began broadcasting in July with Northwest Public Radio’s NPR News service
PULLMAN – Northwest Public Radio coverage is spreading rapidly this summer as it announces its second major expansion in less than a month. But the growth has been long in the planning.
“We are expanding our western Washington service area very quickly,” said NWPR Station Manager Kerry Swanson. “We now have almost continuous coverage from Bellingham through Chehalis, as well as our service on the Olympic Peninsula.”