News articles from KPLU

Tim Durkan Photography

(Seattle-Tacoma) Friends of 88-5 FM, a local non-profit formed to ensure the future of public radio station KPLU (88.5 FM), announced today that it has submitted a Letter of Intent to Pacific Lutheran University setting forth principal terms for its purchase of KPLU.

KPLU’s Saturday morning news and culture magazine, Sound Effect presents an evening of storytelling organized around the theme, “A Friend in Need”—May 18, 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall Seattle.  The event will feature onstage interviews, a photo presentation and live music. It’s a benefit for the Save KPLU campaign as the station races to raise enough money to stay alive and independent.

Credit Ken Wilcox via Flickr

This week Sound Effect brings us stories of rivalries.

Rivalries In Sports

Tim Durkan

Dear Friends,

We hit a major milestone this week: the $4 million mark! Thanks to everyone who has given to the campaign. We’ve received nearly 12,000 donations -- a testament to the community’s commitment to preserving KPLU’s programming and launching it into the future, stronger than ever.


KPLU reporters have garnered four 2016 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA), demonstrating the excellence that Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession.  KPLU is in the Large Market Category, Region 1 which includes Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

May 3 Is GiveBIG Day!

Apr 18, 2016
Seattle Foundation

May 3 is GiveBIG day! Between now and then, the Seattle Foundation will stretch the dollars you give to the Save KPLU campaign through their website. In addition, a group of donors has created a challenge pool to stretch your dollars even further!

The June 30 deadline to reach $7 million is less than two months away, and your generous gift can help us get closer to the goal. We’re in the final countdown, and now is the perfect time to make your gift.

Alex Adkins / Flickr

This week Sound Effect is revisiting stories about leaving home.

Leaving The Church

Tim Durkan

Dear Friends,

We are very close to reaching the $4 million mark. So far, nearly 11,000 people have donated to the campaign. Thank you for the incredible support!

Last night’s community meeting in Olympia was fantastic. Thanks to all who came out, we appreciated hearing your comments and suggestions. If you missed any of the community meetings, there will be many more opportunities over the next few months to meet with the Save KPLU team.


Velocity — South Sound Sound

Apr 13, 2016

In the Puget Sound area, many may see Seattle as the hub of the regional jazz community, but Tacoma, just about 30 miles down I-5 has an extremely happening scene, as well. 

Take the band, Velocity—these guys get up on their back legs and howl. Their music is jazz rooted in funk and fusion and they can definitely throw down some killer grooves.  And they’re always challenging themselves.

Shannon Dininny / AP Photo

Editor's note: This segment originally aired April 28, 2010.

Spring has finally arrived here in the Pacific Northwest and the signs are everywhere — flowers are blooming, birds are singing and lawnmowers are buzzing.

But for Dick Stein, it’s the arrival of Yakima asparagus at the local grocery store that proves to be the surest sign that winter is behind us.

Dear Friends,

We started last week with a $500K listener challenge and, with your help, met it in only 8 days. That pushed us over the halfway mark. Thank you!

Now we’re in the homestretch. We only have a little over 12 weeks left to raise the money to buy our license and become an independent radio station. Your help is more important than ever -- now is the time to give at

Seattle pianist Ann Reynolds has been in a passionate relationship with Cuban music since her first visit to that country in 2000.  She fell in love with the music and people of that island and has returned there many times to study, compose and perform. 

Here at home she leads a band called Clave Gringa as a vehicle for her Cuban-flavored compositions.  When Clave Gringa came in for their first (of many, we hope) studio sessions, they performed three of Ann’s songs from their latest release, "Para Cuba Con Amor."  And, yes, you definitely feel the love.

Tim Durkan

Dear Friends,

A group of generous listeners has pooled together a $500K challenge! Your contribution to the Save KPLU campaign will be matched dollar for dollar -- but only through April 15th! The response to this challenge has been extraordinary. In just the first four days half the challenge money has already been matched.

Since the early 1990s, Seattle jazz lovers have had (and continue to have) the highly rewarding opportunity to see and hear the development of a great talent — pianist and composer Nelda Swiggett.  When she recorded with her first band, Room To Move, her lyrical improvisatory and composition skills were already on display. 

Dear Friends,

We have until April 15th to get halfway there! Thanks to everyone who has donated so far; we’re getting closer every day. And if you work for an employer that matches donations, then this is perfect time to give. Donate now at!

used with permission of Jason Padgett /

This week on "Sound Effect," we listen back to stories of survivors.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

When trumpeter Terell Stafford was nearing the completion of his classical trumpet studies in college, he was also developing an interest in jazz.  Since jazz was frowned upon by his classical mentors, Terell had to meet covertly with the school’s jazz studies professor, pianist Kenny Barron.  Barron agreed to help Stafford, but only if they could keep it a secret from the classical professor.  So Terell began going to jam sessions.  

One night — well, no, we’ll stop here.  Terell tells the story much better in this performance/interview with KPLU’s Abe Beeson.  

Dear Friends,
Thanks to your generous support we have raised close to $2.5 million. We are happy to report that we’re on track to purchase the KPLU license and become an independent public radio station. But the June 30th deadline to raise $7 million is  approaching fast. To stay on track, we need to hit the halfway point -- $3.5 million -- by April 15.   

The a cappella group, Take 6, really needs no introduction.  They’re loved by fans all over the planet and are the most award-winning vocal group in history — awards that just happen to include 10 Grammys. 

And, as if having these guys in the KPLU performance studio wasn’t enough of a treat, Take 6 did a song they’d never done live.  It was their first live performance of what would become their most recent single, "When Angels Cry," and will also be released on their next album, coming out sometime this year.


Carol Guzy / Washington Post

This week on "Sound Effect," we bring you stories of crossing the divide.

First, a look at the divide between secular and Christian artists in Seattle's alternative music scene. Music writer Kathleen Tarrant explains how mega-church Mars Hill blurred that divide by opening a popular all-ages venue in Seattle. But she says the crossover culture didn't last for long.

Dear Friends,

Thanks to all who attended our community meeting at Bake’s Place in Bellevue on Monday night. It was a packed house and, once again, many of you took the opportunity to raise a hand to volunteer or donate. If you think you can offer a service, a space, or just a little time, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Donna Poppe:




Cecil Stoughton White House Photographs / National Archives, via Wikimedia Commons

We get all tangled up in family dynamics on this edition “Sound Effect,” with stories of “Family Business.”

We begin in Marsh’s Free Museum in Long Beach, Washington, where Dave Marsh is the third generation to run this roadside attraction. His grandfather founded the store, which now contains taxidermy, vintage carny memorabilia, a (purportedly) real human tapeworm in a jar and, of course, Jake the Alligator Man.

At the end of January, 2016, the University of Washington presented its 1st Annual Jazz Festival for High School Jazz Ensembles and Combos.  To help draw attention to this first festival a jazz quartet called The Intension came to KPLU for a live studio session.  The members of the band are all U-W seniors in the Jazz Studies Program and they did more than draw attention to the event.  They set the bar for excellence—for that festival and all the U-W festivals that will follow.  Prepare to be amazed.

Ian Mengadoht - alto

Dear Friends,

Last week two loyal listeners challenged you to match their $200k donation. You did it in only SIX days, and pushed us past the $2 million mark! Thank you!!

There is still a long way to go. We have $4.9 million left to raise, and it’s going to take all of us to make it happen. If you haven’t yet donated, please consider a generous one-time donation, plus sustaining support. You can do that at KPLU.ORG.

501(c)(3) STATUS

This quartet is made up of female high-school jazz students from all over the region.  They met through their work with Seattle Jazz Ed, a non-profit provider of year-round jazz classes and activities for young jazz musicians, no matter where the go to school or what their financial circumstances are. 

The 10:00 Quartet is just one example of the great benefit Seattle Jazz Ed provides when it comes to helping young players expand their social/musical networks creatively cross-pollinate with like-minded collaborators. 

Weather Forecasting: From Superstition to Supercomputers - A Benefit for Save KPLU


(Seattle-Tacoma, WA) KPLU's weather expert and University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Cliff Mass is one of the Save KPLU campaign's most fervent advocates.  Mass will present a program on the evolution of weather forecasting at UW Kane Hall (Room 130) on March 16 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. with proceeds benefiting Save KPLU.

ShenandoahNPS via Creative Commons / Flickr

"Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. For this episode, the "Sound Effect" staff brings us stories of helping hands.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

All the members of this U.S. Navy Sextet agree that serving their country by playing jazz is a pretty sweet gig. 

Heck, yes!  Unlike most young jazz musicians, they have steady work, decent pay, job security and great benefits.  And do they ever have fun.

Other military jazz bands that we’ve hosted seem to gravitate to music from the golden age of jazz—the ‘modern jazz’ of the late 50s through mid-60s—guided by the greats: artists like Miles, Coltrane and Bill Evans. 

We have raised close to 1.7 million! Thank you!


It was wonderful seeing and talking with so many of you at our first community meeting in Tacoma last Thursday. There were lots of great questions about the campaign, and many people had ideas for fundraisers and volunteer opportunities.

One of those ideas is now a reality: A group of volunteer organizers has come together to stage a fundraising event in Port Orchard!  

Parker Miles Blohm


KPLU "School of Jazz" hit the road for our second studio session featuring a regional high school jazz band program (our first being the Point Grey Secondary School studio session in June at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival).