Northwest Public Radio

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Northwest Public Radio
TypePublic Radio Network
United States
Broadcast area
Idaho Panhandle
OwnerWashington State University
AffiliationNational Public Radio
WebcastNPR News
NPR & Classical
Official website

Northwest Public Radio is the public radio service of Washington State University. It is an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. It operates 19 radio stations and 13 translators across Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho, and provides coverage to parts of British Columbia. The network broadcasts public radio news, talk, entertainment, classical music, jazz, and folk music. Station programming is separated into two main program streams, "NPR News" and "NPR & Classical Music", with simulcast periods during Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Since November 2013, Northwest Public Radio also operates a 24-hour jazz station, KJEM 89.9, broadcasting in the Pullman and Moscow area.


WSU has a long history in broadcasting, dating to 1908 when it was known as Washington State College. NWPR's flagship station, KWSU 1250 in Pullman signed on December 10, 1922 as KFAE and became KWSC (for Washington State College) in 1925. For many years, it served a large portion of the Pacific Northwest. It became KWSU on March 1, 1969, ten years after Washington State attained university status. Edward R. Murrow began his career at the station, as did Keith Jackson and Barry Serafin. KWSU was a charter member of NPR, and was one of the 90 stations that carried the inaugural broadcast of All Things Considered in 1971.

KWSU became a network in 1982, when KFAE-FM 89.1 Richland signed on, bringing public radio to the Tri-Cities for the first time. Two years later, WSU assumed operation of the University of Idaho's KUID-FM 91.7 FM due to budget cuts in Idaho. The station was renamed KRFA. From 1992 to 2012, 16 more stations joined the network. Combined with thirteen translators, NWPR serves large parts of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia. Most of the stations are located east of the Cascades, though five stations are located west of the Cascades.

NWPR headquarters are in the Murrow Communications Center on the WSU campus, with satellite studios at WSU Tri-Cities' campus in Richland, the UI campus in Moscow, Idaho and studio offices in Tacoma and Wenatchee.


For the most part, NWPR behaves like two large networks. Seven stations, based on KWSU, broadcast NPR news and talk. Eleven other stations, based on KRFA, broadcast a mix of NPR programming and classical music. One station, KJEM 89.9, broadcasts 24-hour jazz music without any NPR news or talk programming.

NPR News

Location Frequency Call sign Power
m (ft)
FCC info Other cities served
Pullman, WA 1250 AM KWSU 5,000 day
2,500 night
FCC Moscow, ID
Walla Walla, WA 89.7 FM KWWS 16,000 408 m (1,339 ft) FCC Tri-Cities
Moses Lake, WA 91.5 FM KLWS 7,200 209 m (686 ft) FCC Ephrata and Ellensburg, WA
Omak, WA 90.1 FM KQWS 3,000 749 m (2,457 ft) FCC Kelowna, BC
Mount Vernon, WA 89.7 FM KMWS 1,500 36 m (118 ft) FCC Burlington, WA
Chehalis, WA 88.9 FM KSWS 1,000 306 m (1,004 ft) FCC Centralia and Olympia, WA
Yakima, WA 88.5 FM KYVT 135 258 m (846 ft) FCC Selah and Union Gap, WA

Translators at Pullman (which broadcasts 24 hours a day while KWSU must sign off from 12 am-6 am) and Clarkston, Ellensburg, Leavenworth, Bellingham and Forks.

NPR and Classical Music

Location Frequency Call sign ERP
m (ft)
FCC info Other cities served
Moscow, ID 91.7 FM KRFA-FM 28,000 282 m (925 ft) FCC Pullman, WA
Richland, WA 89.1 FM KFAE-FM 100,000 258 m (846 ft) FCC Pasco and Kennewick, WA
Ellensburg, WA 90.7 FM KNWR 5,000 777 m (2,549 ft) FCC Wenatchee/Moses Lake, WA
Yakima, WA 90.3 FM KNWY 1,900 257 m (843 ft) FCC Selah and Union Gap, WA
Cottonwood, ID 90.1 FM KNWO 250 612 m (2,008 ft) FCC Grangeville, ID
Clarkston, WA 90.5 FM KNWV 350 340 m (1,120 ft) FCC Lewiston, ID
Forks, WA 91.5 FM KNWU 170 −2 m (−6.6 ft) FCC
Manson, WA 88.3 FM KHNW 340 166 m (545 ft) FCC Chelan, WA
Bellingham, WA 91.7 FM KZAZ 120 102 m (335 ft) FCC
Port Angeles, WA 90.1 FM KNWP 1,600 60 m (200 ft) FCC Victoria, BC
Tacoma, WA 90.9 FM KVTI 51,000 111 m (364 ft) FCC Seattle and Olympia, WA

Translators at Goldendale, Cashmere, Chelan, Ephrata, Wallowa Valley, Clarkston, Orofino and Kamiah in Idaho.

KFAE also broadcast the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library's Evergreen Radio Reading Service to blind and handicapped listeners on its 67kHz subcarrier, until the service's closure on August 15, 2014.[1] KFAE was one of three major FM stations in Washington to do so; KPBX-FM in Spokane and KUOW-FM in Seattle were the others. However, this required a special FM radio capable of receiving such broadcasts; it could not be received on a standard FM radio.


KJEM 89.9 is the first 24-hour jazz station in the network, and broadcasts at 89.9 from the WSU campus, serving the Pullman and Moscow area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Evergreen Radio Reading Service Ending". Retrieved 19 April 2018.

External links[edit]