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KPLU unveils new call letters for station

The group Friends of 88.5, having raised more than $7 million from 18,000 donors on the way to purchasing the station from Pacific Lutheran University, on Friday announced the results of a contest that asked listeners and supporters to submit proposed new call letters.
The group Friends of 88.5, having raised more than $7 million from 18,000 donors on the way to purchasing the station from Pacific Lutheran University, on Friday announced the results of a contest that asked listeners and supporters to submit proposed new call letters. Staff file, 2015

Radio station KPLU will soon be using new call letters.

The Tacoma-based public radio station will be called KNKX.

The group Friends of 88.5, having raised more than $7 million from 18,000 donors on the way to purchasing the station from Pacific Lutheran University, announced Friday morning the results of its renaming contest.

The contest asked listeners and supporters to submit proposed new call letters. The letters KPLU have been reserved by the university and were not part of the sale.

According to KPLU general manager Joey Cohn, judges chose from a pool of some 2,000 submissions.

Cohn said he personally liked KPOD, which referred to a family of Puget Sound orcas. He said it would have made for a wonderful logo featuring a breaching whale wearing headphones.

“We kept looking for call letters that would represent community,” Cohn said. “We were thinking about what we had gone through, and what one word would summarize that.”

But all the best combinations that said “community” had already been assigned to other broadcasters.

KKOM was a possibility, but it didn’t make the cut after review by the Seattle advertising and branding firm Creative Media Alliance. Third place.

KYNW came close, representing “Your North-West,” but Cohn said the name was “polarizing” when presented to staff and the station’s governing board. Second place.

Then comes KNKX.

“Life is all about connections,” Cohn said. “I like the idea of connections between the station and community, members connecting with one another, both local and national.”

First place.

The FCC on Thursday confirmed that the letters KNKX had been officially reserved to replace the station’s former moniker.

The new call letters will come into effect once the Friends of 88.5 group officially assumes station ownership. tentatively Aug. 30, Cohn said Friday on the air.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535

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