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It's Official -- KPLU Has New Call Letters: KNKX

Parker Miles Blohm

(Tacoma-Seattle, WA) -- Friends of 88.5 FM, a nonprofit community organization formed to preserve local National Public Radio affiliate KPLU, announced new call letters today. The new community-owned station will be called KNKX, which stands for "Connects." The community feels connected to us and we to them.

"88.5 KNKX connects you to jazz, blues and NPR news.”

“We are humbled and deeply gratified by the outpouring of support from the community,” said 88.5’s General Manager Joey Cohn. “Our listeners saved something they felt a personal and emotional connection to, and told us 88.5 felt like their friends or family. We want to grow that connection and ingrain ourselves even more into the community. We want to be a resource that tells illuminating stories and plays wonderful music, so 88.5 can continue to be, as listeners have said, ‘a soundtrack to our daily lives’.”

Listeners were asked to submit their ideas to help decide which call letters best embody the success of the campaign, the future programs of the station and the spirit of the new community-owned station. Over 2,000 people submitted their ideas. The management team at 88.5 then broke it down to the top 5 choices, met with the Friends of 88.5 FM’s board, 88.5 listeners and staff, as well as a local marketing firm, and made a final decision. The winning submission came from an 88.5 listener who wishes to remain anonymous.

The new call letters go into effect once Friends of 88.5 assumes ownership of the station, which is tentatively scheduled for August 30.

An unprecedented “Save KPLU” fundraising effort among the station’s listeners resulted in more than 24,000 donations from over 18,000 donors contributing to the $7 million goal, which was reached on May 26, 2016. Additional contributions since that date have helped build a reserve fund to cover operations now that the station is independently owned.

Friends of 88.5 FM, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is the entity responsible for the Save KPLU campaign and, as of August 30th, will oversee all station governance issues, including fiscal oversight, FCC compliance and policy decisions. A list of members of the Friends of 88.5 FM’s Board of Directors can be found at As mandated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the station will also maintain a Community Advisory Council. Together, these two groups are the primary means by which the community has influence on the operations and direction of the station. About one-third of all public radio stations in the U.S. operate as community licensees, most notably WBEZ in Chicago, WNYC in New York, KQED in San Francisco, as well as local stations KEXP and KING-FM.

Additional information is available at