KPLU-FM (88.5 MHz) is a news and jazz format National Public Radio member station in Tacoma, Washington, USA, owned by Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). It is one of three full NPR members in the Seattle area, the others being KUOW-FM and KVTI, an outlet of Northwest Public Radio (KVTI can't be heard in most of Snohomish County, Washington because of KSER).
Founded on November 16, 1966, KPLU broadcasts from West Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah Alps with a power of 68,000 watts. Studios are located in both Tacoma and Seattle. KPLU plays a variety of NPR programs, including All Things Considered, Car Talk, and Morning Edition. The locally produced BirdNote airs every morning. KPLU is known for its jazz programing and regional news coverage. Those who listen online can choose either a regular station feed, or listen to Jazz24, a 24/7 free online jazz station.
On November 12, 2015, PLU announced its intention to sell the station to the University of Washington, which already operates KUOW. The Seattle Times noted that PLU spokeswoman Donna Gibbs denied reports that the sale was motivated by financial problems at PLU, although in September 2015 Standard & Poor's had reduced PLU's bond-rating status from BBB to BBB- with a forecast of "negative." On November 23, the KPLU advisory board voted unanimously to oppose the sale. KPLU was announced to be officially bought by KUOW, but by December, "public outcry" encouraged license owners to negotiate with community based non-profit group to raise $7,000,000. As of May 26, 2016, some 17,000 supporters met the goal; Friends of 88.5 are now negotiating with PLU to purchase the station. It will continue to broadcast from Pacific Lutheran University until their state equipment grant expires, and eventually change its name.
KPLU is also carried on the following satellite and broadcast translator stations to improve reception of the station:
- KPLK 88.9 FM Sedro-Woolley
- KVIX 89.3 FM Port Angeles
- KPLI 90.1 FM Olympia
- K204BI 88.7 FM Bellingham
- K211AP 90.1 FM Centralia
- K212AG 90.3 FM Raymond
- K221FR 92.1 FM West Seattle
- K265DP 100.9 FM Aberdeen
- K284BM 104.7 FM Longview
- K288GG 105.5 FM Mount Vernon
The West Seattle translator serves portions of Seattle that are shielded from the main KPLU signal.