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2017 Annual Report

Thank You


It’s impossible to begin talking about KNKX this year without first acknowledging the adventures and ultimate triumph of the Save KPLU campaign.

All of the accomplishments detailed in this Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report were made possible by the resounding voices, tireless actions, and generous donations our community poured into making the very existence of KNKX possible. During a historic grassroots campaign, 21,000 individuals cobbled together $8 million in just six months to purchase our broadcasting license and provide the station with critical start-up funding. KPLU officially became KNKX, your independent community station, on August 31, 2016.

The story of KNKX demonstrates the power of community; the power of individuals coming together with one goal and reaching seemingly impossible heights. It’s a story that embodies the essence of our community at its best.

In the years to come, we will constantly work to honor the generosity and enthusiasm that the Save KPLU campaign ignited.

Thank you to all who made the dream of KNKX a reality!

To see a downloadable version of this report, click here.

"KNKX delivers excellence in jazz,
blues and news with stories that inspire,
inform and connect our community."

This year, newly independent KNKX took the opportunity to consider who we are as a community station, reconciling a 50-year legacy and a reinvigorated vision for the future. With a refreshed mission statement and clearly defined core values, KNKX seeks to foster an empathetic and educated community in which compassion, lifelong learning and finding joy and necessity in the arts are paramount.


With a wealth of original production, KNKX differentiates itself as a leader in bringing context along with its content.


We are a community licensed station. We seek to inspire, educate and entertain our audience by reflecting our local community.


We’re committed to continuing to innovate so people from our region and beyond can access jazz, blues and news through KNKX.


Deep, relevant music and news depends on the voices of our community. We’re connected to our community through our events and our people. That connection is at the forefront of our minds.


A Message from KNKX
President & General Manager

This past year was, indeed, a year to remember. The campaign to Save KPLU was a rollercoaster ride. It was high anxiety, and ultimately it was gratitude, joy and relief. We went from near extinction, to emerging as a new and invigorated force, with the strength of a passionate community behind us.

What we heard from listeners — over and over again — was that they felt a deep, emotional connection to the people and the programs on 88.5 FM. Listeners said the station felt like a friend or family. One of our favorite quotes during the campaign was, “KPLU doesn’t bring us the world; they are the world to us.”

Our listeners couldn’t imagine a community without 88.5 FM. Because of that, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands of donors who kept us alive, and we feel a renewed responsibility to be an even more meaningful public media service for our region.

We’re excited about our new status as KNKX - an independent, community station. As we plan for the future we’ll share more stories that are unique to the Northwest, we’ll convene conversations on civics, politics and social issues, we’ll increase our educational outreach in music and news, and we’ll go live on location with jazz, blues and news events.

I would like to thank our staff for their commitment and enthusiasm through this very tumultuous year. I would also like to thank our board who volunteered countless hours to help to save the station, negotiate an agreement, and set us on a successful path for the future. In particular, I want to recognize our Chair - Stephen Tan, who led with a steady and determined conviction that instilled confidence in all of us.

Finally, thank you for saving us! Thank you for your generosity and your amazing support. We are here for you, because you have always been there for us.

Joey Cohn

A Message from
Board Chair Stephen Tan

Your board of directors is pleased to present KNKX’s inaugural annual report. Having averted an existential threat, and with a full year of operations as an independent station now under its belt, KNKX finds itself on sound financial and organizational footing.

We are ever aware that KNKX exists only because listeners saved it. When the imminent sale of the station to KUOW was announced in November 2015, the community rose in protest. Weeks later, when public ownership became a possibility, words turned into action. Individuals, families, neighborhood groups, local businesses, and towns and cities throughout the Puget Sound region organized and hosted nearly 100 fundraising events. By June 2016, more than 21,000 supporters made donations totaling more than eight million dollars. While members of your board and station management were the ostensible leaders of the Save KPLU campaign, we were as much bystanders to it, witness to what a community acting with shared passion and purpose can achieve.

Reborn after 50 years of operation, KNKX is now a true community-owned entity, untethered to any institution and obligated only to its listeners and supporters. This freedom has opened doors to potential partnerships, created new programming opportunities, and spurred a renewed focus on connection to the community. KNKX will continue to deliver the finest jazz, blues, news, and public affairs programming it can. But we draw inspiration from Miles Davis, who pushed himself and those around him to “play what you know, and then play above that.” We strive not just to inform and entertain the community we serve, but also to reflect, enlighten, and elevate it. With your continued support, KNKX will remain the station we love, only better

Stephen Tan

Board of Directors

  • Stephen Tan
  • Claire Grace
  • David Veterane
  • Joey Cohn
  • Marilyn Strickland
  • Keith Seinfeld
  • Gayle McIntosh
  • Scott Ahlsmith
  • John Teutsch
  • David Deacon-Joyner

Community Advisory Council

  • M.E. Peg Achterman
  • Michael Armstrong
  • Donald G. Arsenault, CCIM
  • Jim Burbidge
  • Rudy Castillo
  • John W. Comerford
  • Greg Dallaire
  • David Deacon-Joyner
  • Dave Ellgen
  • Linda Farmer
  • Alex Fryer
  • Bob Hirsch
  • Stacey Isaacs
  • Henry Izumizaki
  • Jeanne Juneau
  • Jim Long
  • Robert Lovely
  • Carol MacKinnon
  • Lloyd Mildon
  • Brian Pearson
  • Lyn Quitslund
  • Cary Retlin
  • Shawn Richardson
  • Fred Seidel
  • David Sturtevant
  • Paul Taylor
  • Joan Tornow
  • John Woltjer

FY2017 In Numbers


Average monthly visitors to KNKX online


Average weekly KNKX listeners


Jazz24 listeners


Live Studio Sessions


NPR One users who call KNKX their station


Jazz24 listeners


Students impacted by School Of Jazz


Episodes of Sound Effect


Hours of Jazz & Blues music


Views on YouTube


Locally produced news stories

News Coverage

Fiscal Year 2017 is one that highlighted why news on KNKX is so essential. With thoughtful and balanced coverage from our own team of journalists, the Northwest News Network, and NPR, the news you hear and support on KNKX helps you make sense of the unpredictable and unrelenting state of current events that affect our world, country and local communities.

Governor Jay Inslee

Elections and Beyond

Regional coverage extended to what has been the major topic of the year: politics. KNKX produced multiple series leading up to and following the November elections to clarify complex issues and paint a nuanced picture of individuals from both sides of the aisle.

Tukwilla Light Rail

Sound Transit III

This series examined the Sound Transit 3 proposition, including its timeline, light rail, regular rail and buses. We presented multiple angles on the measure.

United States Flag

From The Floor

During the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, All Things Considered host, Ed Ronco, had an ongoing dialogue with one delegate from each party.

Photo of the United States Capitol

Unpacking Government

Sometimes, politics can feel like an insiders' game, but we shed light on some of the processes that affect our lives in this 14-part series.

Voices From Here Image

Voices From Here

In this multi-part series, we heard from a farmer, a teacher, a construction worker, a community organizer and a computer programmer who talked to us about the presidential election and their hopes for the future.

Marina At Sunset

South Sound

We increased our coverage of South Sound issues, thanks to reporter Will James who made coverage of the region a priority for his beat. Stories with a South Sound focus included: “How The South Sound Can Carve A Future Apart From Seattle” and “Rethinking The Future of Tacoma’s Industrial Tide Flats.”

Sound Effect

Sound Effect is celebrating more than two years and over 100 episodes of touring ideas, inspired by the Puget Sound region. The Sound Effect team takes a deeper look at the unique stories of our Northwest home, finding extraordinary insights in everyday life.

Episodes Of Note

Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we teamed up with the women behind the “Hella Black Hella Seattle” podcast to tell stories of black history in the Northwest.

Suicide Behind Bars

In collaboration with Olympia correspondent, Austin Jenkins, we brought you an investigative look into the spike in prison suicides here in Washington State.

100th Episode

We took inspiration from the number 100 to celebrate the 100th episode of Sound Effect. In this milestone episode we explored the stories behind Northwest businesses with the address Suite 100, including a brewery, a methadone clinic, and a volcano observatory.

Jazz & Blues

KNKX remains one of the few stations that continues to share a wealth of expertly curated jazz and blues with a mass audience, both here in the Northwest and around the world on Jazz24. Recordings from classic giants like Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, modern superstars like Gregory Porter and John Scofield, leading innovators like Snarky Puppy and Northwest favorite, Industrial Revelation - and everything in between - expose listeners to a whole world of eclectic music.

Hugh Masekela in the KNKX studios.

Studio Sessions

Last year, we hosted 62 Studio Sessions. These live performances punctuated by engaging conversation with one of our resident music hosts, are a signature part of our service to the jazz and blues community. Notable visiting artists included ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, the legendary Hugh Masekela, and award-winning vocalist, Catherine Russell.

Juan de Marcos Live At The Moore Theatre

Jazz Caliente

We launched a new music show on Saturdays where jazz meets Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Puerto Rican, and Pan-American rhythms. A lively tour of the diverse world of Latin Jazz hosted by Robin Lloyd.

Donny McCaslin perfroming at TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

The New Cool

The future of jazz has arrived, with 21st century jazz inspired and informed by the sounds of today: hip-hop, funk, EDM, and punk rock. Hosted by KNKX veteran, Abe Beeson.

School Of Jazz

The cultural experiences we have when we’re young often become the most memorable and formative in our lives. To create such experiences, KNKX looks to connect young jazz musicians with opportunities for music discovery through an award-winning education program, School of Jazz. Now in its 13th year, School of Jazz helps local jazz students cultivate their skills and their love of music through collaborations with music professionals in our region. In the years ahead, KNKX strives to expand School of Jazz to provide one-of-a-kind learning and performance experiences to even more students, both in our studios and live “on location” in the schools.


Dimitrio Neri

Mountlake Terrance High School

“Jazz is unlike any other form of music because it is almost like a universal language, where anybody can play with a group of people and completely understand each other through the music that they create together. That’s why I love jazz.”

Shelby Archer

Newport High School

“Jazz is inclusive and endless...”

Anton Bingham

Shorecrest High School

“Jazz is a means of connecting to others through self-expression in music.”

Mairead Rising

Glacier Peak High School

“I have a connection with jazz because of the emotion it evokes. The fact that it is felt and not scripted makes the music so much more powerful.”

School Of Jazz Guest DJ

Student DJs

School of Jazz also invites one young jazz fan per month to take over the mic as a guest DJ and curate a playlist for Evening Jazz. The enthusiasm these students feel for jazz is contagious, as they discuss their favorite songs and why they love this style of music with inspiring, and often wise, insights.

School Of Jazz Studio Perfromance

School of Jazz

Arranging mentorships for middle school, high school, and college jazz students is the foundation on which School of Jazz rests. These experiences culminate with a live on-air performance during one of our signature Studio Sessions. In Fiscal Year 2017, KNKX welcomed 70 young musicians into our Seattle studios for this unique experience to share their musical talents with KNKX listeners, on the radio and online.

Community Connections

Fiscal Year 2017 was all about celebrations and connecting with our community in meaningful ways. Whether it’s at a Sound Effect trivia night or a booth at the Northwest Folklife Festival, we love getting to know our listeners in person. KNKX depends on one-to-one interactions with the public to truly reflect our community’s values and mission. Our generous listeners also inspired us to look for opportunities to give back to our community in meaningful ways through partnerships with other local organizations.

Notable Events

Holiday Jam

Listeners showed up donning festive holiday sweaters and good cheer at KNKX’s annual Holiday Jam and live broadcast from the Rialto Theater in Tacoma.

Community Meetings

We connected with listeners in Bellingham, Tacoma, and Seattle at KNKX Community Meetings, inviting feedback, questions, and general thoughts about the station

December Drive

The community gave so much to preserve the station and jump start it into independence, we felt a great responsibility to pay it forward. Through a partnership with Northwest Harvest and with the help of listeners, we filled 1,700 backpacks with food for Northwest Harvest’s Three Squares Backpack Program. We were honored to support and give exposure to such a critically important program.


The financials detailed here reflect income and expenses incurred
from KNKX’s independence day, August 31, 2016 through May 2017.

graphics graphics
Want the nitty gritty?

Our first fiscal year as an independent station resulted in a $1.7 million reserve. That money was crucial as we were essentially a "start up" and needed immediate cash flow as an independent station. The reserve also gave us a start on rebuilding the cash and endowment we lost in the sale of the station.




Gifts from individual listeners are KNKX’s single largest source of support.



Business support, or underwriting, makes up the second largest portion of the budget.



This revenue comes from the annual Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant.



Jazz24 syndication revenue is our primary source of earned income.



Grants revenue represents a relatively small portion of the KNKX budget and has potential for growth in the coming years.




Programming costs make up the largest portion of KNKX‘s budget. These include fees paid for NPR content, internal production costs for local stories, licensing fees for jazz and blues, and investment in the infrastructure required to deliver jazz, blues and news on the air and digitally.


Membership &

Membership & Development expenses represent costs related to KNKX fundraising, marketing and business support operations. These departments generate the majority of income needed to keep the station operational.



Administrative expenses are those costs needed to maintain daily operations, such as human resources, facility rental and office supplies. They represent the smallest portion of the KNKX budget.

Thank You!

Sharing listener comments during pledge drives is a public radio tradition. In that spirit, here are comments from some of our most enthusiastic members. Support from listeners like these, keeps your connection to jazz, blues, and NPR news going strong. Thank you to the 22,800 individual KNKX donors for making all of this possible in Fiscal Year 2017!

Joy in Olympia

“I am so proud of being part of a community that has come through to support this station! I am so grateful to you for your labor of love that keeps independent journalism alive.”

Steve in Seattle

“I love the ‘School of Jazz’ program. My daughter and her girls Quartet played on your program one week. You play such a huge role in sustaining the next generation of jazz musicians! Thank you from our whole family.”

Paul in Enumclaw

“I really like the balance of heart and mind in KNKX programming. As a saxophonist the jazz is a staple of my feelings for that style of music. And the news is one of just a few sources I trust to give me straight factual data.”

Carolyn in Puyallup

“I grew up listening to NPR with my parents and continue every morning and afternoon on my commute. Thank you for your commitment to honest reporting and wonderful storytelling.”

Andrew in University Place

“Thank you for creating the KNKX community and inviting me and my family in.”



A special thanks to our Fiscal Year 2017 business supporters who contributed to KNKX’s mission through corporate sponsorship.

  • 5th Ave Theatre
  • AARP
  • AEG Live
  • AirBNB
  • Alana Antique & Estate Jewelry
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alhambra
  • Annie Wright Schools
  • Antioch
  • Argosy Cruises
  • Arlington Arts Council
  • Art in the Pearl
  • Art Market Productions
  • Arts West
  • Association of WA Business
  • Athena University
  • AtWork!
  • BECU
  • Bainbridge Island Studio Tour
  • Barn
  • Bartell Drugs
  • Beacon Plumbing
  • Bedrooms & More
  • Bellevue Downtown Association
  • Bellingham Whatcom Co Tourism
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Bloodworks Northwest
  • BNSF Railway
  • Bob Byers Volvo
  • Book It Repertory Theatre
  • Box Lunch
  • Broadway Center
  • Burke Museum
  • Butch Blum
  • Byron Schenkman & Friends
  • Cactus Restaurants
  • Calendar Mention
  • Camano Arts Association
  • Camano Island Chamber of Commerce
  • Candlewick Press
  • Capers
  • Careforce
  • Centrum Foundation
  • Charles Wright Academy
  • Chateau Ste Michelle Winery
  • Chi Franciscan Healthcare
  • Children’s Museum of Skagit County
  • Christine Palmer & Associates
  • City of Everett
  • City of Kent Cultural Programs
  • City of Tacoma Arts Commission
  • City of Tacoma Environmental Services
  • Coastal Jazz & Blues
  • Compass Rose
  • Condor Airlines
  • Crown Hill Pet Supply
  • Crystal Mountain Hotel
  • D & R Theatre
  • Dev Bootcamp Seattle
  • Dorsey & Whitney
  • Downtown Issaquah Association
  • Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival
  • Earshot Jazz
  • East West Bank
  • Edmonds Center for the Arts
  • Elston Real Estate
  • Emerald City Music
  • Emporium Presents
  • Evergreen State College
  • Eyes on Fremont
  • Faira
  • First Church Christ Scientist
  • Flatbike
  • Flying House Productions
  • Four Winds
  • Fran’s Chocolates
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Friday Harbor Film Festival
  • Friends of Waterfront Seattle
  • Fusion Beads
  • G Donnalson Restaurant
  • Gage Academy of Art
  • Gentle Dental
  • Giordano Productions
  • Goodwill
  • Gould Capital
  • Grand Cinema
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Half Price Books
  • Hammer and Hand
  • Hands On Children’s Museum
  • Harper Perennial
  • Harvard University Press
  • Harvest Snaps
  • Holland America/Carnival Cruise
  • Houghton Mif in
  • If You Care
  • Integrative Family Law
  • Jazz Alley
  • Jazz in the Valley
  • Jazz Night School
  • The Jazz Project
  • Jefferson Farmers Market
  • Kirkland Performance Center
  • Kitsap Peninsula VCB
  • La Conner Chamber of Commerce
  • Langley Main Street Association
  • Law Office of J Michael Gallagher
  • Legacy Recordings
  • Lionsgate
  • Live Nation
  • Long Beach Visitors Bureau
  • Lynnwood Honda
  • Major Blinds
  • Mark Jacobs Real Estate
  • Market Fresh Fruit
  • Meany Center
  • Metropolitan Markets
  • Mioposto Pizzeria
  • Mira Books
  • Moisture Festival
  • Monqui Presents
  • Mount Baker Theatre
  • Mt Rainier Visitor Association
  • Mud Bay
  • MultiCare Health System
  • Murdock Charitable Trust
  • Museum of Flight
  • Nectar Lounge
  • Nell Thorn
  • Nonesuch Records
  • North City Jazz Walk
  • Northeastern U Seattle
  • Northwest Associated Arts
  • Northwest Choirs
  • Northwest Folklife
  • Northwest Harvest
  • Northwest Marine Trade Association
  • Northwest Railway Museum
  • Northwest University
  • Northwest Art Alliance
  • NW Security & Sound
  • O Bee Credit Union
  • O’Loughlin Trade Shows
  • Olympia Dixieland Jazz Society
  • Olympic Peninsula Wineries
  • Oregon Coast Council for Arts
  • Pacific Bonsai Museum
  • Pacific Lutheran University
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet
  • Paratex
  • PCC Natural Markets
  • Pecado Bueno
  • Peoples Bank
  • Pharmaceutical Research
  • Phinney Neighborhood Association
  • Physicians Anesthesia Service
  • Pierce College Puyallup
  • Pierce County Public Works & Utilities
  • Pike Place Market
  • Port of Seattle Public Affairs
  • Portage Bay Cafe
  • Portland Jazz Festival
  • PowellsWood Garden Storytelling Festival
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Providence Health
  • Quacquarelli Symonds
  • Rad Power Bikes
  • Regence
  • Ritzmark Holdings LLC
  • Roadside Attractions
  • Ryan Swanson & Cleveland PLLC
  • Saint Martin’s University Alum
  • SCCA Proton Therapy
  • Seattle Academy, Arts/Science
  • Seattle Annual Music & Jazz Cruise
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Seattle Chamber Music
  • Seattle City Light
  • Seattle Divorce Services
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Seattle Men’s Chorus
  • Seattle Opera
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Seattle Parks & Recreation
  • Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra
  • Seattle Repertory Theatre
  • Seattle Symphony
  • Seattle Theatre Group
  • Seattle University, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra
  • Second Use
  • Serafina
  • Shuttle Express
  • SIFF Cinema
  • Simon and Schuster
  • Six Shooter Records
  • Sleeping Lady
  • Snohomish County Tourism
  • Snohomish Public Utilities
  • Snowflake Computing
  • Sound Credit Union
  • Sound Options
  • South Puget Sound Community College
  • St. Martin’s Press
  • Starbucks Hot Java Cool Jazz
  • Stroum Jewish Community Center
  • Sutter Home & Hearth
  • Swinomish Casino
  • Tacoma Community College
  • Tacoma Dome
  • Tacoma Goodwill
  • Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
  • Tacoma Power
  • Tacoma Symphony Orchestra
  • Taproot Theatre
  • Tasveer’s South Asian FilmFest
  • Teatro Zinzanni
  • The Landing at Tyee Yacht Club
  • The Schack Art Center
  • The Vance Corporation
  • Thrive Market
  • Thurston County Fair
  • Top Ten Toys
  • Town Hall Seattle
  • Triple Door
  • Try Star Productions
  • Umpqua Bank
  • UnCruise Adventures
  • United Way of King County
  • University of Washington
  • University of Puget Sound
  • UW Evans School
  • UW Marketing
  • UW Medicine
  • UW School of Music
  • Victoria Jazz Society
  • Vist Walla Walla
  • Washington Center for the Performing Arts
  • Washington State Arts Commission
  • Waldo Medical Foundation
  • Washington Education Association
  • Washington State Lottery
  • Water Music Festival
  • Wesley Homes
  • Whatcom Community College
  • Whatcom Museum
  • Whidbey Island Center for Arts
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Wholesome Yogurt
  • Wings Over Water Northwest
  • Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival
  • Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival
  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Western Washington University Extended Education