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KUOW Launches New Music Service Pilot, 'KUOW Jazz'

KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

Quick Links: Frequently Asked Questions | How To Listen To KUOW Jazz | Feedback Form

SEATTLE — KUOW will launch a preview of a new music service dedicated to jazz and blues on Monday, April 18, at noon. Currently called KUOW Jazz, the service will showcase leading jazz and blues artists from yesterday, today and tomorrow, and it will be available for streaming 24 hours a day, seven days a week at, via the KUOW app and on KUOW HD Channel 2.The architect of the new service is veteran jazz radio host and programmer Steven Williams who has 40 years of experience in broadcast and jazz programming, most recently as program director of WBGO public radio in Newark, New Jersey.

KUOW Jazz will be a comprehensive expression of the art form, covering all of the bases from the instantly recognizable trumpet of Louis Armstrong to the groundbreaking fusion of Esperanza Spalding, and everything in between,” Williams said.

The launch of the KUOW Jazz preview, which coincides with Jazz Appreciation Month, was announced by KUOW General Manager Caryn G. Mathes last January in an open letter to the Puget Sound Public Radio Board. It is part of KUOW's preparation to provide a full-time jazz and blues station for the Puget Sound community if KUOW and the University of Washington acquire the license and frequencies of 88.5, currently the home of KPLU, from Pacific Lutheran University. The purchase agreement allows the option for PLU to sell 88.5 to a KPLU community group that makes a qualified competing offer by June 30.  If a community group is successful, KUOW and UW will defer. If the community group and PLU do not reach agreement, KUOW intends to preserve 88.5 for the public radio audience as a full time jazz and blues music station.

It is KUOW’s responsibility to the many thousands of radio listeners in the region to be immediately ready to deliver the highest quality service possible. The preview of KUOW Jazz is intended to generate feedback from an interested community of jazz and blues music lovers and is not intended to overshadow the efforts of the community group.

KUOW Jazz is a pilot project and its sound, like the art form of jazz itself, will continue to evolve,” Williams said. “We're developing this service using what we've learned from the enthusiastic community feedback about jazz and blues and its impact on the Puget Sound region. We will be working with UW jazz studies and other local jazz influencers to create a service that is relevant to communities both local and global.”

In order to accommodate KUOW Jazz on HD2, the following programing changes will occur beginning Monday, April 18, at noon: All current programming on KUOW HD2 will now be heard on HD3, and KUOW will no longer offer an HD4 service, allowing us the extra bandwidth to offer KUOW Jazz in quality HD stereo. The BBC World Service and World Radio Networkwill no longer be broadcast on HD radio. Both BBC World Service and WRN are available to stream on their websites.  Nothing will change on 94.9 as a result of this change. You will still hear BBC Newshour, BBC Newsday and BBC World News on KUOW. Check our schedule for specific air times. 


How do I listen to KUOW Jazz?

After noon on April 18, you can stream KUOW Jazz by using our web player on (just click the "Listen" button at the top of the page). If you are on a mobile device, you will have a better listening experience by using our app for Apple or Android

Why are you previewing KUOW Jazz?

We want to be transparent as we develop this new music service, and generate feedback from the community of jazz and blues music lovers. We’ve already had great feedback from leaders in the local jazz community, and we’re ready to get feedback now from you, the listener, about KUOW Jazz. It is also the responsibility of KUOW to be prepared to deliver a high quality, full-time music service for a future 88.5, should UW and KUOW acquire that license.

KUOW Jazz is not intended to derail the efforts of Friends of 88.5 in any way. It was created so that KUOW would be ready to preserve 88.5 for the public radio audience as a full time jazz and blues music station for our region if and when the University of Washington acquires the license from Pacific Lutheran University. 

If this is a preview, what else can we expect to hear on KUOW Jazz in the future?

This preview is intended to give the listener a taste of the programming on KUOW Jazz. The station will continue to evolve and as it does you can expect:

  • live hosts and local programming
  • a dedicated website
  • in-studio performances and live performances around the Puget Sound region
  • listening sessions
  • video of live performances and interviews
  • collaborations with students and instructors from UW and area schools

Just to name a few.
Why the name KUOW Jazz?

The name KUOW Jazz reflects two things: A world view that is driven by the notion of inclusion and a radio programming strategy that is focused on broad appeal. We aim to establish a core constituency and extend our reach to attract new jazz radio listeners.

We don’t know if KUOW Jazz will continue to be the station’s name in the future. There are many variables that are still to be determined, like a new call signal (pending FCC approval).

Why did you put KUOW Jazz on HD2, and make changes on the other HD channels?

The short answer is bandwidth. In order to present KUOW Jazz in high definition stereo, we had to make some changes. Eliminating the fourth HD channel creates enough bandwidth to present both KUOW Jazz and the programming formerly on HD2 (moved to HD3 on April 18) with the same high-quality sound that you’ve come to expect from KUOW.

Where did the programs on KUOW2 go?

Nowhere! The same programs and news will be available on KUOW2 at the usual times.

If you listen via our web player or app, there’s no change for you. You can still stream KUOW2 via or the KUOW iOS/Android app.

If you listen on an HD radio, you will need to tune to KUOW-3. It’s just one-button-push away from the previous setting.

Finally, it will still be called KUOW2, even though it’s on HD3, as it is our second news service.

How can I hear the BBC World Service or World Radio Network?

With the programming changes, we will no longer broadcast BBC World Service or World Radio Network on HD radio after April 18. However, both BBC World Service and WRN are available to stream on their websites.

You will still hear BBC Newshour, BBC Newsday and BBC World News on KUOW. Check our schedule for specific air times. 

How can I give my feedback?

Still have questions? Email us at

This page was updated on 4/18/2016, 12:00 p.m.