Classical Music Radio in Seattle

Looking for the best classical music radio in Seattle? Look no further than KEXP 90.3 FM! From Bach to Beethoven, we’ve got all your classical favorites covered.


Classical KING-FM (98.1 MHz) is a non-commercial, public radio station in Seattle, Washington, which broadcasts classical music programming 24 hours a day. The station is owned and operated by Classic Radio, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is one of the most popular classical music stations in the United States, with an average of more than 400,000 listeners each week.

The station’s studios and offices are located in Downtown Seattle on the campus of Cornish College of the Arts, and its transmitter is on Capitol Hill. KING-FM broadcasts in HD Radio and is available online via streaming audio.

In November 1947, Seattle businessman John Graziano applied for a construction permit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build and operate a new radio station on 98.1 MHz in Seattle. The FCC granted the permit on January 21, 1948, and Graziano took ownership of the station on March 15.

History of Classical Music Radio in Seattle

Classical music radio in Seattle can be traced back to the early days of radio. The first classical music radio station in Seattle was KPLA, which began broadcasting in 1927. KPLA was originally a commercial station, but later became a non-profit station. In the 1940s, KPLU began broadcasting classical music on the weekends.


KPLU, now KNKX, is a Pierce County, Washington-based public radio station broadcasting at 88.5 MHz FM. It is owned by Pacific Lutheran University and airs a mix of news and public affairs programming during weekdays with a focus on local issues, and an eclectic blend of music during nights and weekends. The station’s main transmitter is located on Tacoma’s West Slope with its backup transmitter on Vashon Island; it also operates repeaters in Olympia (88.3 FM) and Grayland (90.1 FM).

KPLU first went on the air on February 1, 1963. It was originally licensed to the city of Tacoma and was owned by Pacific Lutheran College (now University). The station’s call letters were chosen to reflect the “PL” in its owner’s name, as well as the “U” in “university.” In its early years, KPLU primarily aired classical music programming; however, it gradually added more jazz and folk music shows to its schedule over time. The station also began airing news and public affairs programs in the 1970s. In 1978, KPLU became an affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR), carrying programs such as All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

In recent years, KPLU has won several awards for its journalistic work, including the Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Journalism from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) in 2013. In 2015, KPLU was named one of the best radio stations in America by NPR listeners in a nationwide survey conducted by Arbitron Inc./Edison Research.


KING-FM (98.1 MHz) is a non-commercial, classical music radio station in Seattle, Washington, USA. It is owned by Classic Radio, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The station’s transmitter is on Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, and its studios and offices are in Seattle’s University District.

KING-FM broadcasts in stunning HD Radio sound. KING-FM was the first radio station in the world to broadcast in HD Radio.

KING-FM first went on the air on December 5, 1949 as KJR-FM, simulcasting the middlebrow entertainment programming of its AM sister station KJR 950 kHz. On August 1, 1958, the simulcast ended and KJR-FM became a beautiful music station branded as “Stereo 98”,Seattle’s first FM stereo station. The call letters were changed to KING-FM on February 4, 1971.

The Future of Classical Music Radio in Seattle

As the internet continues to grow, the future of radio is changing. More and more people are streaming their music online, and traditional radio stations are feeling the pressure. Classical music radio is no exception – in Seattle, one of the most popular classical music radio stations is making the switch to online streaming.


KUOW is a public radio station in Seattle, Washington, that specializes in National Public Radio news and information programming. KUOW is one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the Seattle metropolitan area with an estimated weekly listenership of 198,000. The station is also carried on three FM translator stations: 94.9 MHz in Redmond, 94.1 MHz in Sammamish, and 106.5 MHz in Vashon Island. KUOW’s main transmitter is located on Capitol Hill in Seattle, with its studios and offices located nearby in the University District.

KUOW began broadcasting on January 10, 1952, as KNDD (1150 AM), a 10-watt daytime-only student radio station at the University of Washington. It was the second educational station to sign on in Seattle; KRAB (now KNKX) went on the air three years earlier from Bellevue Community College (now Bellevue College). The station’s first broadcast was a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

In 1957, the Federal Communications Commission granted KNDD’s application to increase its power to 5,000 watts and add nighttime service; it began broadcasting around the clock on March 1, 1958. The station also changed its call letters to KQAZ ( queries ) that year; Century Broadcasting Company (” Century 21 “), a local group headed by Robert Sinclair, purchased the station for $100,000 later that year .


At a time when classical music stations are struggling to stay on the air, Seattle’s KNKX is thriving. The station, which is part of National Public Radio, has seen a surge in listenership and support in recent years, thanks in part to its innovative programming and commitment to classical music.

KNKX’s success is a bright spot for classical music lovers in Seattle, and it provides a model for other stations around the country. But the future of classical music radio is still uncertain, as listeners continue to migrate to digital platforms and streaming services.

For now, though, KNKX is keeping the classics alive on the airwaves.


We hope you have enjoyed our guide to classical music radio in Seattle. While there are many great options available, we believe that the best classical music radio station in Seattle is KING FM. KING FM offers a wide variety of programming, from news and weather to interviews and performances, all of which is expertly curated and sure to please even the most discerning listener. Thank you for tuning in!

Similar Posts