We’re not just voices on the radio.
We are a group of people who are as curious as our listeners. We tell the stories that put people at the center of jazz, blues, and local news. We entertain people on their way home from work, bring a local perspective to national issues, and convene all our listeners in concert and conversation.
From Vancouver B.C., to Vancouver, WA and everywhere in between—we're deeply engaged in the communities we serve.
And in 2016, when thousands of you protested our sale with your voices and saved us with your pledges, we heard you loud and clear. KNKX is the radio station that listens back.
KNKX is the radio station that listens back
A reliable voice for communities to tell their stories.
A platform for the best jazz and blues artists to share their craft.
Quality educational opportunities for students throughout our region.
What we heard is that Western Washington couldn't lose a trusted friend on the radio.
But you didn't just save our station—you gave us the chance to do something great. And with our newfound independence, we are free to connect more creatively and more directly with our listeners than we ever have.
Even our new call letters, KNKX ‘Connects’, remind us that we're not just here to make good radio, we're here to make meaningful connections:
Between small towns and big cities.
Between distant news and lived experience.
Between people and the music they love.
These connections make us more than a radio station with listeners—they make us a community.
And now, as we complete the work we began with the Save Campaign and move off of PLU's campus, it's time to invest in that community once again—this time, for our future.
Through the KNKX Next campaign, we will set the foundation for KNKX's future—one that is more innovative and more accessible than ever before. With a $6 million investment from the community, we will build a new home in the heart of Tacoma, expand our presence in Seattle, and make new connections possible throughout our region.
The terms of our sale require that we move off of PLU’s campus by June of 2019. That makes our most exciting and urgent initiative, leasing and remodeling a new space on Broadway Street in Downtown Tacoma.
You saved this station, now with KNKX we’ll write the next chapter in our story of independence together!
To learn more about the KNKX Next campaign please contact our Director of Development Mary Dunaway.
Press & Endorsements
Press releases and endorsements:
See articles and stories about our campaign:
The campaign to save the station was an incredible community wide campaign; it bought our license and enabled us to continue our service in the community. Thank you for making history with us! The KNKX Next campaign is the next chapter in that story. The terms of the sale of the station state that we will lose our South Sound home and equipment (half of our operations) in June of 2019. Additionally, we are at functional capacity in our Seattle location. In order to make the Save KPLU campaign count, we have to fund the space and innovation necessary for us to continue our services long into the future. The KNKX Next campaign will enable us to increase our services and commitment to the community that worked so hard to save us.
The terms of the sale of the station state we are able to stay in our South Sound location on the Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) campus, rent free, until June of 2019. In addition most of our equipment not directly tied to the broadcast chain (i.e. the equipment in our control and production rooms, our laptops and microphones) is owned by PLU and in June of 2019 we can either bid to buy the equipment from PLU or buy new. In 2019 the equipment will be 10+ years old, and so the best investment is to purchase new equipment that will enable our continued service and innovation.
The cost to renovate the space for our new home in Downtown Tacoma home will cost roughly $2 million. The cost of upgrading and replacing old technology, including the equipment owned by PLU, will cost an estimated $1.4 million. The cost to expand our Seattle space will be an estimated $2 million. The remaining costs are those associated with project management and campaign fundraising.
When we first began mapping out our future home needs, we asked ourselves this very same question. After much analysis, we settled on maintaining two homes. We have maintained two locations, in Tacoma and Seattle, for over 30 years. Beyond the practical reasons, like our staff being split between two counties, our region-wide approach to covering local music and news is a big part of our identity and service. We started as a small college station serving the Parkland community over 50 years ago. Since that time, our network of 12 translators and transmitters has grown to reach nearly all of Western, WA. Having two, centrally-located homes means we can better serve the entire region.
We take your investment and donation seriously and are acting with great intention. We’ve gone through a visioning process and have mapped out our plans for growth. Our future homes will be designed with those plans in mind. In addition, we are working on long term leases in both locations, including a 30 year lease in Tacoma.
Our Tacoma plans include a partnership with Tacoma Arts Live Our new South Sound home will be located on Broadway Street next door to Tacoma Arts Live’s historic theaters: the Pantages Theater, the Rialto Theater, and Theater on the Square. We will partner with Tacoma Arts Live for use of their performance spaces for our live studio sessions, community conversations and other events that require a larger event space. This partnership allows us to utilize a full performance space in Tacoma and enables us to work with Tacoma Arts Live on convening community around music, news and storytelling. We will also partner with area schools to fill our student internships in Engineering, Digital, News and Music, and to expand our School of Jazz activities into the South Sound. Lastly, we plan to partner with other media producers and community organizations to tell more stories, from more people, in the Tacoma community.
None of these future partnerships are mergers. KNKX remains an independent community licensed station. We remain legally and structurally independent. We are very excited about our South Sound partnerships as they will increase our reach, impact and service through collaboration and outreach.
Since becoming independent KNKX has experienced record breaking listening and giving to the station. Our total audience has grown to over 600,000 listeners a month on-air and online. We have over 17 million YouTube views of our live studio sessions. In KNKX’s second year of independence, individual giving from listeners reached over $5 million for operational support, the most operational support raised in the station’s history. Due to the ongoing enthusiasm and generosity of our listeners, we have also rebuilt our reserves that were lost in the sale of the station. Our financials are stronger than ever before allowing us to project further into the future.
In Tacoma, the new expenses we will incur include the ongoing lease, utilities and insurance. We will also incur the expense of adding one new full time position, the Education and Community Manager. Combined they will represent about a 3% increase to our total operational budget.
Due to the urgent deadline to move our Tacoma operations, our first priority has been our Tacoma facility plans. We will begin to explore options for our Seattle home and share those plans and costs, as they are determined.
KNKX is doing well financially. So well in fact that we’ve rebuilt the reserves we lost to PLU in the sale of the station, in just two years of being independent. In addition, we continue to have record fundraising for our operational support. Due to this, our prospects for funding our future home are also strong. We could loan ourselves some of the upfront cost to build while we continue fundraising. We are also in a good position to secure a bridge loan to help cover the early building and equipment costs.
Thank you! Your excitement is just what we need. KNKX is in the first, Lead Gift Phase of fundraising for the KNKX Next Campaign. This phase is focused on fundraising behind the scenes from major gift supporters. If you’d like to be an early supporter of the KNKX Next Campaign, please contact Executive Director of Development, Mary Dunaway, at firstname.lastname@example.org.