KUOW Launches Jazz Service, which MAY Be Heard (Later) on 88.5


By KUOW Staff, April 11 2016

SEATTLE — KUOW will launch a preview of a new music service dedicated to jazz and blues on Monday, April 18, at noon. Currently called Planet Jazz, the service will showcase leading jazz and blues artists from yesterday, today and tomorrow, and it will be available for streaming 24 hours a day, seven days a week at kuow.org and on KUOW HD Channel 2.

The architect of the new service is veteran jazz radio host and programmer Steven Williams who has 40 years of experience in broadcast and jazz programming, most recently as program director of WBGO public radio in Newark, New Jersey.

“Planet Jazz will be a comprehensive expression of the art form, covering all of the bases from the instantly recognizable trumpet of Louis Armstrong to the groundbreaking fusion of Esperanza Spalding, and everything in between,” Williams said.

The launch of Planet Jazz, which coincides with Jazz Appreciation Month, is part of KUOW’s preparation to provide a full-time jazz and blues station for the Puget Sound community if and when KUOW and the University of Washington acquire the license and frequencies of 88.5, currently the home of KPLU, from Pacific Lutheran University. The purchase agreement allows the option for PLU to sell 88.5 to a KPLU community group that makes a qualified competing offer by June 30. If a community group is successful, KUOW and UW will defer. If the community group and PLU do not reach agreement, KUOW intends to preserve 88.5 for the public radio audience as a full time jazz and blues music station.

It is KUOW’s responsibility to the many thousands of radio listeners in the region to be immediately ready to deliver the highest quality service possible. The preview of Planet Jazz is intended to generate feedback from an interested community of jazz and blues music lovers and is not intended to overshadow the efforts of the community group.

“Planet Jazz is a pilot project and its sound, like the art form of jazz itself, will continue to evolve,” Williams said. “We’re developing this service using what we’ve learned from the enthusiastic community feedback about jazz and blues and its impact on the Puget Sound region. We will be working with UW jazz studies and other local jazz influencers to create a service that is relevant to communities both local and global.”

In order to accommodate Planet Jazz on HD2, the following programing changes will occur beginning Monday, April 18, at noon: All current programming on KUOW HD2 will now be heard on HD3, and KUOW will no longer offer an HD4 service, allowing us the extra bandwidth to offer Planet Jazz in quality HD stereo. The BBC World Service and World Radio Network will no longer be broadcast on HD radio. Both BBC World Service and WRN are available to stream on their websites.

A survey to collect public feedback from listeners of Planet Jazz will be available on this page beginning April 18.



  1. KUOW’s stated intention to reserve this 88.5 FM radio spot for blues and jazz programmes, in case KPLU isn’t ‘saved’ by a community group, is good.

    Better yet would be to have both stations actually competing with each other in a real radio market, without government subsidization.

    In any case, KPLU is still the best place I have found in the Puget Sound area for blues and jazz now.


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