Northwest Public Radio
NWPB logo 2019.png
TypePublic radio network
United States
AffiliationsNational Public Radio
OwnerWashington State University
WebcastNPR News
NPR & Classical

Northwest Public Radio is the public radio service of Washington State University. It is an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio Exchange and American Public Media. It operates 19 radio stations and 13 translators across Washington state, Oregon, and Idaho, and provides coverage to parts of British Columbia. The network broadcasts public radio news, talk, entertainment, classical music, jazz, and folk music. Station programming is separated into two main program streams, "NPR News" and "NPR & Classical Music", with simulcast periods during Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Since November 2013, Northwest Public Radio also operates a 24-hour jazz station, KJEM 89.9, broadcasting in the Pullman and Moscow area.

NWPR headquarters are in the Murrow Communications Center on the WSU campus, with satellite studios at WSU Tri-Cities' campus in Richland, the UI campus in Moscow, Idaho and studio offices in Tacoma and Wenatchee.


WSU has a long history in broadcasting, dating to 1908 when it was known as Washington State College. NWPR's flagship station, KWSU 1250 in Pullman signed on December 10, 1922 as KFAE and became KWSC (for Washington State College) in 1925. For many years, it served a large portion of the Pacific Northwest. It became KWSU on March 1, 1969, ten years after Washington State attained university status. Edward R. Murrow began his career at the station, as did Keith Jackson and Barry Serafin. KWSU was a charter member of NPR, and was one of the 90 stations that carried the inaugural broadcast of All Things Considered in 1971.


In 1982, KFAE-FM 89.1 at Richland signed on, bringing public radio to the Tri-Cities for the first time. The next year, WSU activated a series of low-powered translators at Ellensburg, Goldendale/The Dalles, Yakima, Lewiston/Clarkston, Ephrata/Soap Lake, Wenatchee, Cashmere/Dryden, and Chelan/Waterville. In 1984, after budget cuts in Idaho, WSU assumed operation of KUID-FM 91.7 at the University of Idaho and renamed it KRFA-FM; this gave it its first FM service in the Pullman area and resulted in the new outlet assuming many of the classical programs on KWSU.

The launch of KNWR, a full-power transmitter at Ellensburg, in 1992 heralded the beginning of two decades of expansion. KNWY in the Yakima Valley went on air in 1993. In 1994, KNWO in Cottonwood, Idaho, was added; additionally, three new translators were commissioned and KRFA increased its power tenfold. KNWV went on air in Lewiston and Clarkston in 1995. 1997 brought KWWS in Walla Walla, and after a $500,000 donation from the estate of Ephrata rancher Paul Lauzier, KLWS at Moses Lake. Port Angeles—and Victoria, British Columbia—were added with the signing on of KNWP in 1998. KQWS at Omak began broadcasting in January 1999; the next year, a translator of KWSU was added in Pullman, giving the station its first FM presence. A translator at Forks was added in 2006. KSWS at Chehalis was built in 2010.[1]

In several cases, the university acquired or began broadcasting over preexisting public radio stations. On January 6, 1997, Northern Sound Public Radio's KZAZ-FM in Bellingham, was merged into the network as its first station west of the Cascades. The license for KMWS at Mount Vernon was acquired from Skagit Valley College, which moved its KSVR to a new license; the university chose the call letters to honor Murrow, a Skagit County native. In 2010, KVTI in Tacoma, owned by Clover Park Technical College, began broadcasting Northwest Public Radio full-time after budget cuts prompted the closure of its radio broadcasting program.[2] In 2012, the Yakima School District's KYVT began broadcasting NWPR's NPR News programming under an agreement in which the network provided the district's skills center and an HD2 subchannel for its student programming in exchange for studio space and a primary frequency for the news service, which had not been previously available in Yakima.[3]

On April 19, 2022, the Sleepy Lady Foundation's KOHO-FM began broadcasting NWPR's Jazz programming based at KJEM under a programming and services agreement, bringing NWPR's Jazz network to Central Washington for the first time. [4]


With one exception, NWPR's transmitters are structured into two services: an NPR news/talk service based on KWSU, and a combined NPR and classical music service based on KRFA.

NPR News

Location Frequency Call sign Power
m (ft)
FCC info Other cities served
Pullman, WA 1250 AM KWSU 5,000 day
2,500 night
FCC Moscow, ID
Walla Walla, WA 89.7 FM KWWS 16,000 408 m (1,339 ft) FCC Tri-Cities
Moses Lake, WA 91.5 FM KLWS 7,200 209 m (686 ft) FCC Ephrata and Ellensburg, WA
Omak, WA 90.1 FM KQWS 3,000 749 m (2,457 ft) FCC Kelowna, BC
Mount Vernon, WA 89.7 FM KMWS 1,500 36 m (118 ft) FCC Burlington, WA
Chehalis, WA 88.9 FM (HD) KSWS 1,000 306 m (1,004 ft) FCC Centralia and Olympia, WA
Yakima, WA 88.5 FM KYVT 135 258 m (846 ft) FCC Selah and Union Gap, WA
Broadcast translators of NPR News
Call sign Frequency
City of license Facility
FCC info
K227BW 93.3 Pullman, Washington 71040 FCC LMS
K216GE 91.1 Forks, Washington 138015 FCC LMS
K248CN 97.5 Ariel, Washington 142354 FCC LMS
K217AJ 91.3 Leavenworth, Washington 71017 FCC LMS
K210DK 89.9 Ellensburg, Washington 71035 FCC LMS
K212FK 90.3 Wenatchee, Washington 71037 FCC LMS
K217GA 91.3 Clarkston, Washington 71026 FCC LMS
K259CY 99.7 Bellingham, Washington 138079 FCC LMS
K284BL 104.7 Bellingham, Washington 138227 FCC LMS

NPR and Classical Music

Location Frequency Call sign ERP
m (ft)
FCC info Other cities served
Moscow, ID 91.7 FM (HD) KRFA-FM 28,000 282 m (925 ft) FCC Pullman, WA
Richland, WA 89.1 FM KFAE-FM 100,000 258 m (846 ft) FCC Pasco and Kennewick, WA
Ellensburg, WA 90.7 FM KNWR 5,000 777 m (2,549 ft) FCC Wenatchee/Moses Lake, WA
Yakima, WA 90.3 FM KNWY 1,900 257 m (843 ft) FCC Selah and Union Gap, WA
Cottonwood, ID 90.1 FM KNWO 250 612 m (2,008 ft) FCC Grangeville, ID
Clarkston, WA 90.5 FM KNWV 350 340 m (1,120 ft) FCC Lewiston, ID
Forks, WA 91.5 FM KNWU 170 −2 m (−6.6 ft) FCC
Manson, WA 88.3 FM KHNW 340 166 m (545 ft) FCC Chelan, WA
Bellingham, WA 91.7 FM (HD) KZAZ 120 102 m (335 ft) FCC
Port Angeles, WA 90.1 FM KNWP 1,600 60 m (200 ft) FCC Victoria, BC
Tacoma, WA 90.9 FM KVTI 51,000 111 m (364 ft) FCC Seattle and Olympia, WA
Broadcast translators of NPR and Classical Music
Call sign Frequency
City of license Facility
FCC info
K213DU 90.5 Goldendale, Washington/The Dalles, Oregon 71021 FCC LMS
K226AK 93.1 Ephrata, Washington 71027 FCC LMS
K272DO 102.3 Orofino, Idaho 71029 FCC LMS
K274BK 102.7 Kamiah, Idaho 71034 FCC LMS
K265DX 100.9 Enterprise, Oregon 138497 FCC LMS

KFAE-FM 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.[5] KFAE-FM was one of three major FM stations in Washington to do so; KPBX-FM in Spokane and KUOW-FM in Seattle 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.


On November 1, 2013, WSU launched a third station in Pullman: KJEM (89.9 FM), broadcasting jazz music 24 hours a day to the Pullman and Moscow area and named for J. Elroy McCaw. Unlike the rest of the network, KJEM is largely student-run.[6]

Location Frequency Call sign ERP
m (ft)
FCC info Other cities served
Pullman, WA 89.9 FM KJEM 2,300 164 m (538 ft) FCC Moscow, ID
Leavenworth, WA 101.1 FM KOHO-FM 930 623 m (2,044 ft) FCC Wenatchee, WA

See also


  1. ^ "NWPR Announces Second Expansion in a Month". Washington State University. July 13, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "NWPR to manage college radio station in Lakewood". Washington State University. April 6, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  3. ^ "Yakima School District and NWPR partner to offer NPR News". Washington State University. July 30, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  4. ^ "KOHO-FM To Join NWPB's Jazz Network". RadioInsight. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  5. ^ "Evergreen Radio Reading Service Ending". Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  6. ^ "WSU's Murrow College Launches New Jazz Station 89.9 KJEM". November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.