1980 - Happy Birthday To Spokane Public Radio

Jan 19, 2020

The first staff of Spokane Public Radio!

SPR traces its roots to the early 1970s on Spokane’s South Hill in the basement of broadcasters George and Susan Cole. Public radio and TV stations were forming across the country after the landmark passing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, providing support for educational, informational, and cultural access to people across the country.

The antenna in the winter of 1980

KPBX briefly broadcast in downtown Spokane and then briefly went silent as they raised funds for a 56,000-watt station covering the region. The station became an NPR affiliate and slowly renovated the second floor of the Hoban Building on North Monroe. On January 20, 1980 KPBX began broadcasting, as promised, “a world of difference,” with a wide range of news, music, public affairs, and local productions.

The Hoban Building in 1980


January 20 – KPBX goes on the air with Stravinsky’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

May 18 – Mt. St. Helens erupts, stopping the first KPBX pledge drive.

November 10-15 – Fall pledge drive.

SPR event in the park

Interesting shows in 1980: Adventures in Good Music with Karl Haas; Radio Reader; Studs Terkel Almanac; Blues, Rags and Hollers; The Pied Piper; The Spiders Web; Earplay Radio Dramas, Spokane Folklore Society hour; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Special Report (election coverage and Mt. St. Helens reports); A Prairie Home Companion begins airing in May; American Popular Song; Jazz Alive!; Jazzology; News & Cultural Calendar begins in June; and Aging in America.