|Broadcast area||Seattle metropolitan area|
|Frequency||94.9 MHz FM (HD Radio)|
|Owner||University of Washington|
|Operator||KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio|
First air date
|1952 (at 90.5)|
|90.5 MHz (1952-1958)|
Call sign meaning
|University Of Washington|
|HAAT||224 meters (735 ft)|
|Translator(s)||90.7 K214EW Bellingham (KUOW2)|
107.3 K297BK Olympia (KUOW 1340)
|Repeater(s)||KQOW 90.3 FM Bellingham|
KUOW 1340 AM Tumwater
KUOW-FM (94.9 MHz) is a National Public Radio member station in Seattle, Washington. It is the larger of the three full-fledged NPR member stations in the Seattle/Tacoma media market, with two Tacoma-based stations, KNKX and KVTI being the others. It is a service of the University of Washington, but is operated by KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, a nonprofit community organization. Studios are located on University Way in Seattle's University District, while the transmitter is on Capitol Hill.
KUOW is also carried on the following satellite and broadcast translator stations to improve reception of the station:
KUOW's site states its mission as, "to create and serve an informed public, one challenged and invigorated by an understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures."
KUOW went on the air in 1952 on 90.5 FM. Its transmitter was on the University of Washington campus atop the Administration Building, now Gerberding Hall. In 1958, Dorothy Stimson Bullitt moved KING-FM to 98.1 and gifted KING's 94.9 FM transmitter and antenna to the Edison Vocational School. That same year, KUOW started using the 94.9 FM transmitter operated by Edison. KUOW is one of the few public radio (or any non-commercial educational) stations in the United States on a frequency outside of the reserved band (88–92 mhz; Seattle is also home to KING-FM on 98.1, which became a non-commercial station in 2010). For years, it served as a training ground for UW students to learn about broadcasting. Programming consisted of classical music, classroom lectures, local news, and Washington Huskies sports. From 1954 until 1987, KUOW was a sister station to educational television outlet (and now PBS member station) KCTS-TV (channel 9); the university spun off KCTS in 1987 and became a community licensee.
In the 1960s, however, KUOW began branching out, adding more news programming. It was a charter member of NPR in 1970. In 1992, it changed format from music to news and information, and in 1999 it moved off campus to its current location on University Way. Also in 1999, UW outsourced the station's operation to Puget Sound Public Radio.
In late March 2020, KUOW made "made an editorial decision to stop airing White House briefings on the coronavirus pandemic live on a daily basis." A statement from the station asserted that the decision was not politically based, and their "greater concern was the potential impact of false information on the health and safety of our community."
KUOW-FM broadcasts in HD. On March 7, 2018, KUOW made the decision to discontinue the HD2, HD3, and HD4 subchannels. "KUOW2" continues to be transmitted on translator K214EW 90.7/KQOW-HD2 in Bellingham, while KUOW Jazz was discontinued. The main analog signal continues to be simulcast on HD1.
KUOW reported that the station served an average of 413,600 listeners each week in 2019, down from 447,100 in 2018. The station also reported that their on-demand audio and podcasts received 2.9 million downloads total.
For KUOW's fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the station reported total revenue of $18,732,286 and total expenses of $18,339,864, for a net gain of $392,422. Its sources of revenue were:
KUOW produces several programs, most of which are concerned with local news and events:
KUOW also broadcast the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library's Evergreen Radio Reading Service to blind and handicapped listeners on its 67kHz subcarrier, until the service's closure on August 15, 2014. KUOW was one of three major FM stations in Washington to do so; KPBX-FM in Spokane and KFAE-FM in Yakima were the others. However, this required a special FM radio capable of receiving such broadcasts; it could not be received on a standard FM radio.