|Broadcast area||Pacific Northwest|
|Branding||All Classical Portland|
|Frequency||89.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Repeater(s)||KQHR 88.1 FM/HD The Dalles/Hood River
KQMI 88.9 FM/HD Manzanita
KQOC 88.1 FM/HD Gleneden Beach
KSLC-HD2 90.3-2 McMinnville
K242AX 96.3 FM Columbia River Gorge
K239BP 95.7 FM Corvallis/Flynn
|First air date||August 1, 1983 (as KBPS-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Classical music
HD2: KZME Local music
HD3: Community radio (KXRY simulcast)
|HAAT||440 meters (1,440 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K Quality All Classical|
|Former callsigns||KBPS-FM (1983-2009)|
|Affiliations||American Public Media|
|Owner||All Classical Public Media, Inc.|
KQAC (89.9 FM, "All Classical Portland") is an American classical radio station licensed to serve the community of Portland, Oregon. Led by broadcast veteran Jack Allen, President & CEO, KQAC is owned by All Classical Public Media, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
KQAC, KQHR, and KQOC rely on support from their community. 93% of All Classical’s financial support comes directly from its community, which consists of listeners, nonprofit arts organizations, businesses and foundations in Portland, Vancouver, the central Oregon coast, and the Columbia Gorge. Additionally, a small portion of the station's 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.
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's KRRC 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. 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 KBPS 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 (then KBPS Public Radio Foundation) purchased the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) FM Broadcast License, ensuring that classical music would stay on the airwaves in Portland. The license cost $5.5 million, and a final payment of $337,500 was made on December 14, 2012, certifying this organization as debt-free.
August 2013 marked All Classical Portland's 30th anniversary.
Improvements and recent history
KQAC increased its power from 3,700 watts to 5,200 watts in January 2011, and to 5,900 watts in May 2011. The increase extended coverage in the Portland area by ten miles in all directions and improved reception.
In the Spring of 2011, the All Classical Board, Staff and volunteer team began a process to refine and focus All Classical’s mission, combining mission, vision and values into one statement: "All-Classical Public Media’s Mission is to advance knowledge of and appreciation for classical music; to build and sustain a global community around this art form; to reflect the spirit of the Pacific Northwest; and to foster integrity, quality, and innovation in all that we do."
All Classical’s identity and brand has suffered due to the station’s past relationship with Portland Public Schools and the common misconception that this music service is part of Oregon’s statewide public broadcasting organization. In 2009, CEO Jack Allen proposed returning the call letters KBPS back to Portland Public Schools (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 = All Classical) 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. In 2012, Allen took additional steps to assure independence and brand clarity by engaging the renowned Jelly Helm, formerly of Wieden + Kennedy, to design a new identity and positioning statement. The final result, “All Classical Portland – we love this music" leverages the unique setting in which the music is made and embodies the passion and shared values of the listening community.
In late 2012, the station began the search for a new facility, a home for the next 10 to 20 years. All Classical Portland had long outgrown the facility designed in 1983, which lacked adequate working, meeting, creative and performance space.
In 2014, All Classical Portland moved to its new home in the Hampton Opera Center on the east bank of the Willamette River, just south of OMSI and adjacent to Portland's new Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People. The new facility matches the needs of the organization and includes a new performance space, the Roger O. Doyle Performance studio, which also is home to Thursdays @ Three, the station's newest weekly feature.
On April 8, 2006, KQAC launched The Score with Edmund Stone which explores the classical music used in movies. In addition to airing locally, the program is also syndicated in several cities in 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, film themes, comic operettas, and American band music.
- Northwest Previews: Andrea Murray 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 Brandi Parisi celebrates the classical music scene in Oregon with a one-hour program each Sunday.
- On Deck with Young Musicians: Every Saturday, host Christa Wessel showcases the young musicians who live and perform in the Pacific Northwest.
- Thursdays @ Three: Hosted by Robert McBride, Thursdays @ Three broadcasts live performances of local and visiting artists.
In May 2008, the station launched its second repeater station, KQOC 88.1 FM, rebroadcasting its signal in Lincoln City and Newport on the Oregon coast. The KQOC signal reaches Tillamook and Cannon Beach to the north and Yachats to the south. KQOC Gleneden Beach moved to a new 150-foot tower and commenced broadcasting with a stronger signal January 17, 2013.
In the Fall of 2011, KQAC added an HD-only repeater station in McMinnville, Oregon. Also in 2011. KQHR moved from 90.1 FM to a stronger signal at 88.1 FM.
|Transmitter||Location||Power (measured in watts)|
|KQOC 88.1||Gleneden Beach||8,800|
|KQHR 88.1||Hood River/The Dalles and K242AX 96.3 Columbia River East Gorge||3,600|
|KSLC HD2 90.3||McMinnville||750|
- Nelson, Bob. "Call Letter Origins: Key and Listing". Radio History on the Web. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
- Stabler, David (April 24, 2009). "KBPS changes call letters". The Oregonian.
- "More Power to the People" (PDF) (Press release). allclassical.org. January 20, 2011.
- "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.
- "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
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- Radio-Locator information on KQAC
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