KXSU is Seattle's First Low-Power Radio Station

Saturday, Feb 27, 2016

After a long battle for getting a place on the dial, low-power FM stations are beginning to start broadcasting.

Seven stations in Seattle hold low-power licenses. But so far, only one is on the air: KXSU on the campus of Seattle University.

Low-power stations, or LPFMs, have a broadcast range of about three to four miles.

So why broadcast on low power? For one thing, Station Manager Randy Scott said LPFM licenses are easier to obtain.

“And then also, the whole focus of LPFM, the word that gets thrown around a lot is hyper-local radio. And it really fits in with what we’re trying to do here at SU and that’s to serve our local community as much as possible,” he said.

Like many stations that hold LPFM licenses, KXSU started out as an internet-only service and featured mostly indie and local music.

Scott said now that it’s broadcasting from Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the station plans to feature more talk shows and sports coverage.

Nearby, in the Central District, Hollow Earth Radio is an Internet-only station with a low-power license.

Hollow Earth’s co-founder, Garrett Kelly, said they need to buy the low-power transmitter, antenna and pay for permits before they go on the air.

“We already have a studio,” said Kelly. “We have volunteer DJs already. That part’s already done. But we’re really close.”

Out of 15 low-power licensed stations in Washington, only two are broadcasting: Seattle University’s KXSU and the Voice of Vashon.


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