Moving to a Sound Future

Spokane Public Radio rehabilitated a historic Spokane treasure, Fire Station No. 3 at North Monroe and Sharp. These posts chronicled the entire process.

Spokane artist Harold Balazs had a crazy idea.

While creating the steel sculpture Spokane Public Radio had commissioned for the Fire Station No. 3 Courtyard, he realized the different components would ring with different tones when gently struck. Why not get a few percussionists to “play” the artwork?

In September 2016, SPR held a small ceremony to dedicate the Jim Sheehan Family Courtyard at the new broadcast facility in the historic Fire Station No. 3. This move to a new facility “rang in” a new era of service. Spokane Symphony percussionists Bryan Bogue, Paul Raymond and Adam Wallstein volunteered to do the striking. Jim Sheehan and Family looked on with Harold Balazs and friends as the percussionists improvised a six-minute piece on “Listen,” the sculpture Balazs fashioned to abstractly suggest a human ear.

Don Hamilton / Hamilton Studio

Spokane Public Radio's studios and offices are located at 1229 N. Monroe St. at Sharp, just north of downtown Spokane. Fire Station No. 3 is on both the National and Spokane Registers of Historic Places.

These images below show highlights of the occupied building, as it looks the week of SPR's 36th Anniversary and Open House. The production staff had just moved in and all three stations -- KPBX, KSFC, and KPBZ -- were independently working.

After more than 35 years operating from the Hoban Building, SPR spent two months removing traces of having been there. SPR occupied the second floor of the building at Monroe and Carlisle from late 1979 until February 2016.

Engineer Jerry Olson led the expedition through cables, false walls, and equipment that wasn't crucial to initial broadcasting at SPR's Fire Station.

SPR Birthday Party & Fire Station Grand Opening

Jan 23, 2016

Hundreds of members, listeners, and well-wishers came to the Grand Opening of SPR's Fire Station No. 3 on January 23, a few days after Spokane Public Radio's 36th Anniversary.

Tours continued almost non-stop from noon until after 4 p.m. The building was mostly silent around 1 p.m. as the guests crowded into the new Performance Studio to witness the "Plug-In" Ceremony.

SPR Celebrates 36 Years with Live Broadcasts

Jan 19, 2016

SPR began broadcasting KPBX 91.1 on Jan. 20, 1980. As part of the birthday celebrations, the new studios at the Fire Station No. 3 will host a trio of live music broadcasts the week of Jan. 20, 2016.

Wednesday, Jan. 20 during Morning Classical 10-11 a.m. we hear the Spokane String Quartet: the first ensemble to play live at the first home, the Hoban Building. SPR takes our programming full circle.

SPR Movin’ on UP-date!

Jan 12, 2016

The largest and most crucial stage of moving the stations of SPR to Fire Station No. 3 began on Tuesday afternoon, January 12. The most noticible sign? KPBX programs were heard on all three SPR stations. See the KPBX schedule here.

Harold Blaze: "Listen"

Harold Balazs artwork dots Spokane's cityscape. Waves of steel seem to float above the Spokane River in "Centennial." Children in Riverfront Park run through the water flowing from his 24' columns of the Rotary Fountain. Scores of people have illicitly climbed the concrete tower nicknamed "Lantern" behind the INB Performing Arts Center.

SPR also has a piece of Harold Balazs's imagination installed in front of Fire Station No. 3. Titled "Listen" and made possible by funds from the Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation, the abstract steel circular piece could be the renowned artist's final large public work.

While the inspiration is completely Balazs (pronounced "Blaze") some of the actual cutting, welding and grinding was done by family members assisting at the studio on the north side of Spokane County. Balazs suffers from a type of aphasia and also has tremors in his extremities, but he thrives on being busy with his true passion -- art in any medium.

Up On The Roof

Dec 15, 2015

Equipment can be temperamental. Without elements lined up just right, the line of dominoes that starts from the microphone and ends at your radio falls short.

In this move to Fire Station No. 3, SPR is essentially trying to build a double-line of dominoes backwards. Some places can add new pieces, but mainly we need to keep the old ones too. And many times we've had to wait until a business or service provider made a change to a domino they control. This is a reason why the process has taken months longer than anticipated.

Wind Storm Blows KPBX Down Temporarily

Nov 19, 2015
Spokane Public Radio

SPR held its very first pledge drive on May 18, 1980. If that date seems familiar, there's good reason; that's also the day Mt. St. Helens literally blew its stack, leveling miles of forest, crushing and burning homes, and incidentally also laying the first SPR pledge drive to rest under several inches of volcanic ash that covered the region.

Online Donation Form

SPR invites you to be part of our new broadcast home by putting your name on a brick or brick tile in the renovated courtyard. The former Fire Station No. 3's brick walkways will be renovated in Spring 2016 with bricks containing names and logos of special donors to the Moving to a Sound Future project.

Bricks can celebrate an anniversary, remember a loved one, or feature a business or civic organization's name.