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  State population (2000 census)
  Population receiving a FM public radio signal
  (from both in and out-of-state stations)
  Population in uncovered areas
  Stations in State FM stations
    FM translators
    AM stations
  1989 PTFP Study: Population receiving a
    FM public radio signal

Broadcast Coverage Maps

FM Stations - Detail         FM Stations - Printable

AM Stations - Detail         AM Stations - Printable

Public Radio Stations in State

Main stations in bold followed by associated repeaters and translators
Translators are shown at the end of the narrative
Facilities in italics operated by out‑of‑state broadcasters
Location in ( ) - actual location of transmitting facilities
N - New facility since 1989 study     # - Station now meets study criteria
[ ] - AM main station

FM Stations
Bellevue [KWSU(AM) Pullman]
Everett    KLWS N
Moses Lake
Olympia    KMWS #
Mount Vernon
Moscow, ID    KQWS N
   KZAZ  N
Bellingham    KWWS N
Walla Walla
   KNWV  N
Clarkston KEXP #
Ellensburg KUOW
Port Angeles KPBX
Richland KSFC #
   KNWY  N
Yakima KPLU
AM Stations

General Comments

Public radio in Washington is provided by educational and community licensees.  Washington State University operates two radio program services as well as public television stations.  Two of its radio stations, KRFA and KWSU(AM), are rebroadcast throughout eastern Washington and the Puget Sound by repeater stations and translators.  KPBX Spokane also distributes programming throughout eastern Washington and also operates a second program service on KSFC Spokane.  KPLU Tacoma is heard throughout western Washington through a series of translators. 

Nearly 75% of the state's population lives in the coastal areas surrounding Puget Sound. Through an extensive construction and consolidation program conducted by individual licensees, all significant population centers receive at least one quality public radio signal and in most cases more than one.  There is one AM station in the state.

FM Service

Washington State public broadcasters have greatly expanded the number of facilities that provide public radio to the state. The 1989 PTFP study reported seven FM stations.  Nine new stations have been built during the past 15 years. KSER Everett is a new station that began broadcasting in 1991. Washington State University built or acquired eight new stations to repeat its two program services -- KZAZ Bellingham, KNWV Clarkston, KNWR Ellensburg, KLWS Moses Lake, KQWS Omak, KNWP Port Angeles, KWWS Walla Walla and KNWY Yakima.   KPBX Spokane received the license for KSFC in 1997 from Spokane Falls Community College.  Three additional stations that did not meet criteria for inclusion in the 1989 study are now included -- KBCS Bellevue, KEXP (formerly KCMU) Seattle and KMWS Mount Vernon. The license for KMWS was assigned by Skagit Valley College to Northwest Public Radio in January 2003.  A total of 23 translators also extend public radio service to smaller remote rural communities.

In March 2004, Bates Technical College of Tacoma sold radio station KBTC to Public Radio Capital (PRC), which assists in the purchase of radio properties in order to increase the number of public radio stations and extend such services. PRC subsequently entered into an agreement with KEXP Seattle to program the newly purchased station under the call letters KXOT. KXOT provides an additional service to Olympia, Tacoma and the surrounding communities in King, Pierce and Thurston counties. Due to the late occurrence of this transaction, KXOT’s coverage and the population served are not included in this study.  

Washington's population has increased 42% between 1980 and 2000 from 4.1 million to 5.9 million residents.  The percentage of the Washington State population receiving public radio has increased from 91% in 1989 to 95.1%.  The number of unserved people has decreased from 388,000 in 1989 to 288,182.

AM Service

KWSU(AM) 1250 kHz is licensed to operate at 5kW with different daytime and nighttime non-directional antenna patterns. In practice, KWSU broadcasts at 5kW daytime with its daytime coverage pattern and broadcasts at 2.5 kW between 6 p.m. and midnight with its nighttime coverage pattern. The station is off the air between midnight and 6 a.m.  KWSU(AM) covers the southeast corner of the state from Pullman and feeds many FM stations and translators as noted. 

Service from Adjacent States

KRFA, Washington State University's main FM station, is licensed to and transmits from Moscow, Idaho.  The translator in Cathlemet, at the mouth of the Columbia River, is operated by KMUN Astoria, Oregon.  Public radio service also reaches Washington residents from public radio stations located in Idaho and Oregon. 

Unserved Areas

Washington is crossed by several mountain ranges which compromise FM signal coverage. The Olympic Mountains and Coast Range run from the Olympic Peninsula south to Oregon. The Cascade Mountains east of Puget Sound run the width of the state between Canada and Oregon. Ranges of the Rocky Mountains are found in the northeast corner of the state. Washington's mountainous areas are principally national forest, park and other federal holdings.  Though the uncovered populations in nine counties is greater than 10,000 and in five of these greater than 15,000, low population density in these areas may complicate options for extending service.    

Region A  

Inland from the Puget Sound area, from the Canadian border south, the state is bisected by the Cascade Mountains.  There are over 67,000 unserved people in Chelan, Okanogan, Skagit and Whatcom counties.  The majority of the lands in these counties consist of the North Cascades National Park, national forests, and Glacier Peak Wilderness.  Much of Okanogan County is covered by the Colville Indian Reservation.  

Region B

The northeast corner of the state, including Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille Counties, has an unserved population of over 40,000.  About half of Ferry County is included within the Colville Indian Reservation  The Colville National Forest covers much of the remaining territory in the three counties. 

Region C

Immediately south of Olympia, the area included in Lewis and Cowlitz counties has an unserved population of over 26,000.

Region D

This area is known as the Olympic Peninsula.  Most of the land is a part of Olympic National Park.  The Quinault Indian Reservation is also on the peninsula.  There are about 45,000 unserved people on the peninsula, with the majority of the unserved population, 33,000 people, in Grays Harbor County.  KWSU currently has translator application on file for new facilities at Forks near the base of the peninsula.

Translators listed by operating station
Facilities in italics operated by out‑of‑state broadcasters

KRFA Moscow ID 1 K205AH N 88.9 Omak
K217AJ 91.3 Cashmere K220CR N 91.9 Oroville
K219BM N 91.7 Chelan K214AR 90.7 South Spokane
K213DU  90.5 Goldendale K220CS N 91.9 Twisp
K226AK  93.1 Moses Lake KPLU Tacoma, WA
KMUN Astoria, OR K265DP 100.9 Aberdeen
K216DH N 91.1 Cathlamet K204BI N 88.7 Bellingham
[KWSU(AM) Pullman, WA] K211AP 90.1 Centralia
K210DK 89.9 Ellensburg K283AI N 104.5 Longview
K210AE 89.9 Pullman K216EN 91.1 Mount Vernon
KUOW Seattle, WA K215DP 90.9 Port Angeles
K215DZ 90.9 Bellingham K212AG 90.3 Raymond
KPBX Spokane, WA K201AB N 88.1 West Seattle
K220CQ N 91.9 Brewster KDNA Yakima, WA
K220DV N 91.9 Grand Coulee K261CG2 100.1 Pasco

1 KRFA’s city of license is Moscow, ID. It is operated by Northwest Public Radio of Pullman, WA.
2 Licensed to Northwest Chicano Radio Network, Granger, WA. Operated by KDNA, Yakima, WA.

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