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KNKX marks the end of an era at ‘4th & Vine’ in Seattle's Belltown

A one-way street with cars on either side in front of a multi-story glass building with the Space Needle reflecting in some of the windows.
KNKX Archives
The Space Needle's reflection is visible in the windows of the 4th & Vine Building on Jan. 12, 2001.

After more than two decades, KNKX is moving out of its longtime office and studios in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. For much of its history — as KPLU for 50 years and as KNKX since 2016 — the station has maintained studios in both Seattle and Tacoma, and a connection with both communities.

Earlier this month, KNKX staff hosted the final Belltown broadcasts of NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. But listeners may have hardly noticed this milestone as the shows resumed broadcasting the next Monday from KNKX's Tacoma studios, a testimony to the dedicated KNKX News team on air and behind the scenes.

As the station prepares its new home near Pike Place Market, staff celebrated the long run at 4th & Vine, sifted through archives and reminisced about the day the station was saved.

A hub for news and studio sessions

Since moving to 4th & Vine in 2001, KNKX has reported countless world-changing stories, welcomed in hundreds of listeners and musicians, and generally ensured that jazz, blues, and news always had a home in downtown Seattle.

It is one thing to write about a move after "more than two decades" and another to hear the memories that time encompasses: colleagues' children growing up, furry friends visiting, watching the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl parade pass by, covering breaking news, the evolution of the media industry and more.

Soon after arriving at 4th & Vine, NPR hosted its first-ever remote broadcast of All Things Considered from the Seattle studios. Staff recall how thrilling it was to see Robert Siegel, Linda Wertheimer and Noah Adams set up shop in their newsroom.

The studio has also been home to hundreds of KNKX Studio Sessions over the years. Those sessions have featured artists of all kinds from local student musicians and their mentors participating in the School of Jazz, to jazz and blues greats like Gregory Porter, Marcia Ball and Madeleine Peyroux.

In the newsroom, daily reporting kept listeners informed every morning and afternoon. During the early days of the pandemic, KNKX hosts face the unprecedented, continuing their on air duties alone in the studios.

Bigger projects came to fruition in these hallways too, from hundreds of episodes of Sound Effect to podcasts such as Forgotten Prison and most recently, The Walk Home.

It's simply impossible to capture all the memories, staff and music that has filled 4th & Vine over the years. However, one particular moment does stand out.


In 2016, KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn sat behind the microphone in the air studio at 4th & Vine to announce that our community had successfully raised the $7 million needed to save the station.

Everyone agrees, that moment was an unforgettable experience. The announcement laid the groundwork for the KNKX of today and tomorrow.

After the successful "Save KPLU" campaign, the station revealed the new call letters KNKX, which stands for "Connects." It took the on air staff some time get use to the new name and astute listeners may remember a few instances of "KPL...KNKX" along the way.

Seven years later, the thrill of that moment hasn't receded. It shines bright not only as a 4th & Vine memory but as a charge for KNKX's continued service to our listeners and community.

A fun farewell

Moving a radio station — including recording equipment, servers, artwork and a piano — is a lot of work! So on Friday, Feb. 10, the KNKX staff took a break and celebrated before things really got messy. Literally, there's demolition involved.

KNKX Director of Community Outreach and Events Brenda Goldstein-Young ensured a proper 4th & Vine send off with food, drinks, a photo booth and, of course, some live jazz. As the first in-person staff party in years, it also became an occasion to recognize staff for milestone work anniversaries, ranging from five and up to 40 years of service to the station and its listeners.

Despite empty shelves, constant packing and party prep, KNKX News hosts and producers carried on, delivering their final Belltown broadcasts.

Farewell 4th & Vine
Kirsten Kendrick and Adam Gehrke reminisce about their years of broadcasting from 4th & Vine.

Kirsten Kendrick hosted Morning Edition from 4th & Vine for 17 years, regularly arriving before 4 a.m. Over the years in these studios, she's interviewed dozens of people from around the region, diligently provided sports updates, let her son tag along and even been snowed in.

Right before the party started, All Things Considered host Emil Moffatt delivered the exciting news on air:

"This week, we are saying good-bye to our studios here in Belltown, where we’ve been bringing you the news each morning and afternoon and have hosted a wide variety of terrific musicians. We've been here for more than 21 years. We'll be moving to a new location in Seattle in a couple of months. Details on that to come."

Moffatt and All Things Considered producer Freddy Monares, joinedKNKX last year. The duo has dived in, undaunted by the major transition.

Weekend Edition Sunday host Vivian McCall took Studio B for a spin one last time a couple days later. For the interim, all of the shows will be hosted from the station in Tacoma.


V Three Studios
Renderings of the new KNKX Seattle studios.

In March 2022, KNKX announced the plan to relocate its Seattle studios into the Madore Building at 1501 Western Ave, Seattle. The plan builds on KNKX's successful move to Tacoma's Theater District in 2019. To support this new effort, KNKX launched a $5.8 million fundraising campaign called KNKX Next.

Leaving 4th & Vine is a major milestone as KNKX prepares to move to the Pike Place Market neighborhood.

"We will always be thankful for the memories made at 4th & Vine. And now we get to look forward to our new Seattle studio, situated across the street from Pike Place Market," Cohn wrote in a recent message to KNKX members.

"The new space is designed for more public events, more interaction with the community and a 21st-century technological base that will power our broadcast into the future."

At the time of publication, a significant amount of construction work has been completed. The next phase will be the technical build out including technology for broadcasting, studios and a modern workspace. It should be completed in a few months.

Fundraising continues for the KNKX Next campaign, learn more at

Cara Kuhlman is KNKX's online managing editor. Prior to KNKX, she worked at Seattle-based technology and business news site GeekWire for six years. A University of Oregon graduate, she's also studied narrative nonfiction writing and journalism entrepreneurship.