Lakewood, WA – Beginning June 1, 2010 Clover Park Technical College-owned radio station, KVTI, 90.9 FM will change formats, station management. Clover Park Technical College and Washington State University have formed a new partnership with Northwest Public Radio, a service of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Beginning June 1, WSU will assume responsibility for the programming and operations of KVTI, 90.9 FM, located at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.
KVTI began in 1955 as KCPS-FM, airing classical music. Over the years, the station went through several format changes before becoming ‘contemporary top 40’ in 1988. The 51,000 watt transmitter reaches listeners in three counties from Olympia to Seattle. Northwest Public Radio broadcasts NPR news and classical music to listeners in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.
Clover Park chose Northwest Public Radio to assume management of the station after the radio broadcasting instructional program was eliminated last year due to budget cuts and decreased radio jobs for graduates.
Clover Park Technical College President Dr. John Walstrum said, “We are always on the lookout for ways we can collaborate with other higher education institutions, especially during these challenging financial times. WSU is well known for its communication program and this is a natural fit.”
Northwest Public Radio, based on the WSU campus in Pullman, now serves dozens of communities east of the Cascades including Wenatchee, Yakima, Ellensburg, the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla. It also serves the northwest Washington communities of Bellingham, Mount Vernon and Forks, Washington.
Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd said that this agreement will strengthen WSU’s statewide commitment to public broadcasting.
“Because Northwest Public Radio is an established regional and national news service, listeners in Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle will now have a very real connection to people and places from northwest Washington to Idaho and Oregon. We appreciate the strong support for public broadcasting in the greater Puget Sound area and we look forward continuing to build the audience for NPR and Northwest Public Radio,” Floyd said.
Beginning June 1, listeners will gain a new, noncommercial public radio choice: classical music and NPR news. “Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and other favorite composers will be presented by world-class performers every weekday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and again from 7 p.m. overnight on KVTI,” says Station Manager Kerry Swanson.
“Weekends will include a variety of entertainment programs along with several music choices,” he continued. “Listeners will also hear Morning Edition and All Things Considered among other NPR news magazines and talk programs.”
KVTI 90.9 FM Radio Format Change/WSU Partnership
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did Clover Park choose to eliminate its radio program?
- Clover Park Technical College is one of 34 two-year colleges in the state. We experienced dramatic budget cuts starting in 2008 and had to make some very difficult decisions including eliminating some administrative positions, faculty positions and programs.
- Because the radio program experienced historic low enrollment, it was targeted for budget cuts.
- The program was also cut because job demands in broadcasting have changed.
- A radio teaching facility is expensive to operate.
Why WSU and not an existing local radio service?
- Clover Park was able to retain its asset and cut its operational costs quickly and efficiently by working with WSU.
- WSU offers a great program for communication majors via the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. We will work with them to transition current and prospective students to WSU and Pullman.
What about the format change? Why are you abandoning current fans?
- There several options for ‘contemporary top 40’ music on the FM dial in the Seattle-Tacoma Market, as well as online stations that offer similar music.
- We feel that public radio formats extend our educational mission most effectively.
Aren’t there lots of other public radio services in the Tacoma, Seattle area?
- The Seattle-Tacoma market has had multiple public radio services for decades. They have always complimented each other and each has found its own audience. They have been well-supported by listeners and continue to grow.
- Other large markets have a similar number of stations.
- There is a difference in terms of market coverage between KVTI and the other regional services. KVTI’s signal is centered in Lakewood and reaches the south Sound and parts of southern King County.
Can the market support two classical stations?
- We think so. Northwest Public Radio has a long history as a classical music service. The station will offer its own blend of classical music along with NPR news and information programs. KVTI will also offer special entertainment and information weekend programs – some of which are unique to the WSU network.
When will the format change be effective?
- June 2010