History

From a South Hill basement station in the '70s to a set of three major National Public Radio stations broadcasting to 750 communities, SPR has come a long way. 

Humble Beginnings

SPR traces its roots to the early 1970s on the South Hill. Make that "in" the South Hill: in the basement of a residence belonging to George and Susie Cole. An electrical pole -- donated quietly by someone with the power company -- stood in the backyard supporting a hoop-shaped antenna for the 10-watt transmitter, the size of a two-drawer file cabinet. From 5 p.m.-1 a.m. each night, radios seven miles around could catch the sounds of classical, jazz, folk, soul, big band, and whatever else a volunteer felt like playing. When the Coles moved in 1974, they put the station in the hands of David Schoengold.

Read More about Dave Schoengold and the early growth of KPBX

On-Again, Off-Again

In an effort to expand KPBX, Schoengold first moved the station into the group of eclectic Downtown businesses known as Second City. Then in the latter '70s, the operation went off the air as the Spokane Public Broadcasting Association made its plans for a 'Cadillac' station.

Read More about Second City and the off-air challenge of bringing back KPBX

A New Birthday: January 20, 1980

Dozens of people had been waiting for months for something to come out of their radio at 91.1 FM. Despite the delays and red tape, the sound of the new-and-improved KPBX was well worth the wait.

"To be able to turn on my radio and hear classical music with the composer's name, the title of the piece, and the conductor's name correctly pronounced is pleasant to the ear, and the music even more so. The news programs are also excellent," listener Pauline Boury wrote to the editor of the Spokane Chronicle. "This radio station makes Spokane an even more pleasant city in which to live." "I now mow the lawn and jog with a tiny radio and ear phones," Dave Broom, a former board president, told Spokane Magazine.

Read More about SPR's commitment to a variety of programming

A Sound Future

Spokane Public Radio is currently preparing a new chapter of its history: The Moving to a Sound Future campaign. The former Fire Station No. 3 building will double working space and triple SPR’s production capacity, allowing for growth in the news, arts coverage, and local programming. 

Read More about Moving to a Sound Future