Friends Of 88.5 FM Finalize Details In Sale Of KPLU

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016

The deal has been sealed to Save KPLU.

Pacific Lutheran University and Friends of 88.5 FM announced Tuesday they have reached an agreement that will allow the nonprofit group to assume ownership of the station pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

The purchase price for the station and its assets is $8 million, including $7 million in cash plus $1 million of in-kind underwriting announcements to be provided to PLU over 10 years.

As part of the agreement, Friends of 88.5 FM will continue to use broadcast and office space in the Martin J. Neeb Center on the PLU campus and KPLU’s broadcast equipment in Seattle and Tacoma, at no cost, through June, 2019, according to a release posted on the Friends of 88.5 FM website.

The group will also take ownership of all KPLU translators and transmitters and will retain all KPLU employees including the 14-member independent local news team.

Last November, the University of Washington announced PLU’s intent to sell its broadcasting rights and facilities associated with KPLU to the Seattle school. Following public protest, the two schools agreed in early January to allow the Friends of 88.5 FM six months to raise a matching offer and enter into a definitive agreement on substantially the same terms as the UW agreement, according to the website release.

A “Save KPLU” fundraising effort among the station’s supporters resulted in more than 24,000 donations from over 18,000 donors contributing to the $7 million goal, which was reached on May 26. Additional contributions since that date have helped build a reserve fund to cover operations when the license assignment is completed.

“We are impressed by the fundraising effort undertaken by the Friends of 88.5 FM,” said PLU President Thomas W. Krise in the release.

“We thank the University of Washington for gracefully agreeing to step aside and let KPLU continue to serve its listeners with the news and jazz programming they have come to rely upon. We wish the community group well as they continue to serve and celebrate the greater Puget Sound area,” Krise stated.

“We are humbled and deeply gratified by the outpouring of support from the community,” stated KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn. “Our listeners saved something they felt a personal and emotional connection to, and told us KPLU felt like their friends or family.”

The KPLU group will apply to the FCC for an assignment of the license, and Friends of 88.5 FM expects to assume ownership in the fall. As part of the assignment, the station will be required to change its call letters, and the station plans to solicit community input before deciding on the new moniker.


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