|City of license||Portland, Oregon|
|Broadcast area||Pacific Northwest|
|Branding||All Classical FM|
|Frequency||89.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Repeaters||KQHR 88.1 FM/HD The Dalles/Hood River
KQOC 88.1 FM/HD Gleneden Beach
KSLC-HD2 90.3-2 McMinnville
K242AX 96.3 FM Columbia River Gorge
107.1 K296FT (West Haven, relays HD2)
|First air date||August 1, 1983 (as KBPS-FM)|
HD2: Local music (KZME)
|HAAT||440 meters (1,440 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K Quality All Classical|
|Former callsigns||KBPS-FM (1983-2009)|
|Affiliations||American Public Media, Public Radio International|
|Owner||All Classical Public Media, Inc.|
KQAC (89.9 FM, "All Classical 89.9") is an American radio station licensed to serve the community of Portland, Oregon. Established in 1983 as KBPS-FM, it broadcasts classical music and fine arts information to listeners in northwest Oregon, southwest Washington, and around the world via the Internet. According to Arbitron ratings, as of December 2010, KQAC was the has the second most listened to classical music station in the United States. KQAC is owned by All Classical Public Media, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, of which Jack Allen serves as CEO and President. KQAC's HD2 signal also feeds KZME FM 107.1, a new Portland-area (currently low-power, 28 watt) stereo station that plays almost exclusively local Portland-area pop-rock and alternative music.
In 1983, Portland Public Schools applied for a license to create an FM station that would reach a larger audience than its KBPS 1450 AM station. Reed College agreed to slightly shift its FM station, freeing up the 89.9 frequency space on the dial. All Classical KQAC, originally KBPS-FM, began broadcasting on August 1, 1983. In the early years, the programming of the new KBPS-FM station consisted of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, syndicated programming such as Pipedreams, and Minnesota Orchestra and educational programming. In the early years, all programming was pre-recorded.
By the mid-1980s, station production assistant Tania Thompson began live announcing during the morning hours. In 1986, John Pitman, a recent Benson Polytechnic High School graduate, began live announcing during the early evening hours. A third announcer was hired to work throughout the night beginning in 1988, eventually transforming All Classical 89.9 FM into a 24-hour classical music station.
Over the decades, the continued growth of the two KPBS stations (AM and FM) caused a space crisis. At the time, station manager Patricia Swenson and a team of community leaders initiated a campaign to build a new broadcast center with private funds. The new broadcast center was completed in 1992.
Before the new broadcast center was completed, Oregon voters passed a ballot measure authorizing limits on property tax rates in the state. As a result, the Portland Public Schools district faced severe budget cuts, which in turn decreased funding to the two stations of KBPS. Operating cuts caused NPR membership to be discontinued in 1993, and volunteers took a more active role in the station's operations. Pledge drives became the most viable option for the survival of the two public radio stations.
In 2003, Portland Public Schools announced that it was selling its KBPS FM broadcast license. All Classical 89.9 purchased the FM license. As part of the agreement, Benson Polytechnic High School proposed acquiring the call letters from All Classical (the BPS in KBPS stood for Benson Polytechnic School). As a result and in order to avoid confusion, All Classical 89.9 changed its call letters to KQAC (AC stands for All Classical) and transferred the KBPS call letters back to Portland Public Schools in 2009. In addition, KQAC FM changed its official name from KBPS Public Radio Foundation to All Classical Public Media, Inc. to reflect the change of ownership and the call letters.
Improvements and recent history
In late 2010, All Classical FM became the second most listened to classical music station in the country, according to Arbitron ratings. Arbitron ratings also placed KQAC FM as the eighth most listened to station in Portland. In 2010, the top ten stations in Portland included one other public radio station and eight commercial stations. All Classical FM’s audience has grown to a recent peak in May 2010 of 249,000 listeners, and the station has a 3.6 market share. The station had a 58% increase in audience from 2008 to 2010. 46,000 listeners worldwide are reached each month through online streaming. The station broadcasts classical music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
KQAC increased its power from 3,700 watts to 5,200 watts in January 2011, and to 5,900 in May 2011. The increase extended coverage in the Portland area by ten miles in all directions and improved reception.
The station began rebroadcasting its signal in Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast in 2008. The KQOC signal reaches Tillamook and Cannon Beach to the north and Yachats to the south. The station began rebroadcasting in the Hood River area in 2001 and in The Dalles in 2008. KQHR is the first radio station in the Columbia River Gorge with HD digital transmission. In the Fall of 2011, KQAC added an HD-only repeater station in McMinnville, Oregon.
|Transmitter||Location||Power (measured in watts)|
|KQOC 88.1||Gleneden Beach||8,800|
|KQHR 88.1||Hood River/The Dalles and 96.3 Columbia River East Gorge||3,600|
|KSLC HD2 90.3||McMinnville||750|
In March 2010, a new program schedule was launched for the station, featuring fewer on-air staff and more locally produced programs.
Launched on April 8, 2006, one weekly program originating from KQAC is The Score with Edmund Stone. Music and the movies combine as host Edmund Stone explores the classical music that enhances what audiences see on the silver screen. In addition to airing locally, the program is also syndicated in multiple cities across the United States and internationally. In 2010, Bob's Red Mill signed on as the first national sponsor of the program.
Other programs produced by KQAC include:
- Saturday Matinee: Saturday host Ed Goldberg plays a mix of opera, show tunes, great film themes, comic operettas, and American band music.
- Northwest Previews: John Burk hosts this one-hour program every Thursday featuring interviews highlighting classical events in the Portland area for the coming week.
- Club Mod: Host Robert McBride explores modernism, past and present, on this two-hour Saturday night show.
- Backstage At The Opera: Host Christopher Mattaliano airs this show the first Saturday of every month, 30 minutes prior to the Metropolitan Opera Radio broadcast.
- Played in Oregon: Host Christa Wessel celebrates the classical music scene in Oregon with a one-hour program each Sunday.
Syndicated programs aired on KQAC include Chicago Symphony, Classical Guitar Alive!, From the Top, Composers Datebook, Harmonia Early Music, Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, Pipedreams, and Weekend Performance Today.
KQAC, KQHR, and KQOC rely on listener donations, which provide over two-thirds of their budget. They also receive financial support from local businesses and arts organizations that underwrite their programming through on-air sponsorships. Additionally, a small portion of the stations' annual budget comes from various foundation grants and from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. All Classical also has extensive volunteer support and an internship program.
- Nelson, Bob. "Call Letter Origins: Key and Listing". Radio History on the Web. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
- Bash, James (December 21, 2010). "All Classical FM on a roll - almost tops national charts for classical stations". Oregon Music News.
- "About Us - Station History". allclassical.org.
- Stabler, David (April 24, 2009). "KBPS changes call letters". The Oregonian.
- "New Foundation Name and Call Letters for All Classical FM" (PDF) (Press release). allclassical.org. April 2009.
- Bash, James (July 12, 2010). "All Classical FM - 89.9 scores a big sponsor and hits high ratings". Oregon Music News.
- "Classical Station Celebrates Best Ratings Ever" (PDF) (Press release). allclassical.org. July 9, 2010.
- "2010 Annual Report" (PDF). allclassical.org.
- "More Power to the People" (PDF) (Press release). allclassical.org. January 20, 2011.
- "All Classical 89.9 KBPS Extends Reach to Central Coast Via 88.1 KQAC" (PDF) (Press release). allclassical.org. March 27, 2008.
- KQAC official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KQAC
- Radio-Locator information on KQAC
- Query Arbitron's FM station database for KQAC
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KQOC
- Radio-Locator information on KQOC
- Query Arbitron's FM station database for KQOC
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KQHR
- Radio-Locator information on KQHR
- Query Arbitron's FM station database for KQHR
- Query the FCC's FM station database for K242AX
- Query the FCC's FM station database for K296FT