Launch party invitation for KODX-LP FM
Launch party invitation for KODX-LP FM

With bad news in abun­dance these days, it’s always a relief when we have good news to share. And we have some real­ly good news to pass along and cel­e­brate: Seat­tle is gain­ing a new inde­pen­dent media out­let that will air pro­gres­sive news and views over our pub­licly owned airwaves.

KODX-LP 96.9 FM will be a low pow­er FM radio sta­tion broad­cast­ing 247 out of the Uni­ver­si­ty Dis­trict. It will be pos­si­ble to pick up the sta­tion over the air in a large swath of Seat­tle, extend­ing to both sides of the Ship Canal, and for those out­side of the cov­er­age area, it’ll be pos­si­ble to lis­ten online via livestream.

The sta­tion is being put togeth­er by Earth On-the-Air Inde­pen­dent Media, which has been around since the late 1980s. Earth On the Air got its start pro­duc­ing a radio mag­a­zine; since the 1990s, it has col­lab­o­rat­ed with grass­roots orga­ni­za­tions and doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ers on media lit­er­a­cy projects.

“KODX’s pur­pose is to be a forum for rad­i­cal, pro­gres­sive voic­es, issues, and per­spec­tives,” its orga­niz­ers say. “Shows will be pro­duced both local­ly and nation­al­ly with con­tent that builds toward eco­nom­ic, racial and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, and peace. Com­mu­ni­ty groups and local vol­un­teers will be trained to pro­duce shows, air con­tent, and help with run­ning the radio station.”

Although Seat­tle is one of the most pro­gres­sive cities in the coun­try, pro­gres­sive voic­es are not as well rep­re­sent­ed in the region’s media land­scape as they ought to be. That’s espe­cial­ly true with respect to the ter­res­tri­al broad­cast seg­ment. Greater Seat­tle has not one, but two radio sta­tions spe­cial­iz­ing in right wing talk (KVI, KTTH) and a third (KIRO) that airs mul­ti­ple right wing shows as part of its lineup.

From 2004 until 2013, greater Seat­tle had a pro­gres­sive talk radio sta­tion air­ing nation­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed pro­gram­ming — AM 1090 KPTK, orig­i­nal­ly an affil­i­ate of Air Amer­i­ca Radio. But at the end of 2012, KPTK was con­vert­ed into KNFQ “The Fan” by its own­er, CBS Radio, after exec­u­tives in New York decid­ed that mak­ing the sta­tion part of a nation­al sports talk radio net­work would be more lucrative.

With most exist­ing licens­es for broad­cast­ing ter­res­tri­al radio con­trolled by big cor­po­ra­tions with far­away head­quar­ters, efforts to res­ur­rect pro­gres­sive talk in Seat­tle haven’t amount­ed to any­thing more than talk. But thanks to the pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion dur­ing the Oba­ma years, bar­ri­ers to set­ting up low pow­er FM sta­tions were removed. That prompt­ed Earth-on-the-Air Inde­pen­dent Media to apply for a license from the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Commission.

Ser­vice Des­ig­na­tion: FL Low Pow­er FM (LPFM) sta­tion or application
Channel/Class: 245L1
Fre­quen­cy: 96.9 MHz (Con­struc­tion Permit)
File No.: BNPL-20131029AGJ
Facil­i­ty ID num­ber: 192326
CDBS Appli­ca­tion ID No.: 1630982

If you’d like to learn more about the effort to start up KODX-LP FM, you may want to RSVP for the sta­tion’s launch par­ty, tak­ing place on Thurs­day, Octo­ber 5th from 6:30 — 9 PM at the Uni­ver­si­ty Tem­ple Unit­ed Methodist Church.

More details are avail­able here.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “Progressive talk is coming back to Seattle’s airwaves: Welcome, KODX-LP 96.9 FM!”

  1. We’re screwed in Belling­ham though. With the loss of KBAI and the ear­li­er loss of AM 1090, there is no on air alter­na­tive with a sig­nal strength worth lis­ten­ing to. Big mon­ey wins. Rush Lim­baugh is on four stations.

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