Pacific Lutheran University Signals Intent to Sell KPLU 88.5 FM to UW’s KUOW

Posted by: Date: November 13, 2015
University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University logos

Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington announced today PLU’s intent to sell its broadcasting rights and facilities associated with KPLU to KUOW. Although not finalized, the agreement calls for two stations: one for NPR and Northwest news at 94.9 FM, and one for jazz music at 88.5 FM. The sale will bring together two stations that have collaborated for many years through the Northwest News Network, and through other fundraising and community events.

“We believe that in KUOW’s capable hands, this important asset will continue to serve and celebrate the greater Puget Sound community, as well as national and international audiences,” said PLU President Thomas W. Krise. “This is a natural union between two university-sponsored public radio stations that, for many years, have shared a common mission to inform, educate and entertain our region. We expect that the combined entity will have greater focus and resources to continue this shared mission through stories and music that move, inspire and expand horizons.”

“The Seattle-Tacoma market is one of the world’s leading and most dynamic jazz regions, with a rich tradition in jazz music education, festivals and clubs, and it deserves its own dedicated jazz music station,” said Caryn G. Mathes, President and General Manager, KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio. “For generations, KPLU has provided expertly curated jazz music available free to millions and has infused the jazz experience into the daily lives of local, national and international audiences. KUOW is fully prepared to assume guardianship of the high quality and comprehensive jazz programming for which KPLU has become known.”

The purchase price for the station and its assets is $8 million, comprising $7 million in cash and $1 million of underwriting announcements over 10 years.

KUOW is licensed to the University of Washington, which is assisted in its operation and management by Puget Sound Public Radio, a non-profit corporation governed by an independent board. The UW and PLU expect to close the transaction early in 2016, subject to the approval of the Federal Communications Commission. The PLU Board of Regents, the Puget Sound Public Radio board, and the UW Board of Regents have approved the acquisition.