40 Years of SPR

The first ten years of Spokane Public Radio
The second ten years

The third ten years

The last ten years


1986 for SPR

Mar 10, 2020


January 28 – Space shuttle challenger breaks apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven astronauts on board, including Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher who was selected from more than 11,000 applicants for nasa’s teacher in space project.



April 26 – In Ukraine, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explodes, releasing radioactive fallout across much of Europe – the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.


1985 for SPR

Mar 10, 2020


From a project in George Cole’s Basement to its 5th year, a note from Susan Wallace, President of the Board, about the history of KPBX.

Inland Northwest Voices, produced by Phyllis Silver, is still going strong.

Sidran on Record is a 13 week series looking at new releases.

Six one-hour programs of Dixieland Jubilee, celebrate the world’s largest international jazz festival.



1984 for SPR

Feb 25, 2020


Radio Reader features Growing Up by Russell Baker, read by Garrison Keillor.

A four-part series on jazz on film is broadcast.

The Corporate Conscience, a new series examining trends in business social responsibility is played on KPBX.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by the BBC.

“Going Places with KPBX” becomes the theme for the pledge drive.


Lord of the Rings is read in a 26 part series

KPBX airs a simulcast series with KSPS of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Inland Northwest Voices, produced by KPBX, features interviews with published authors living/working in the area.

NPR ends Communique, NPR Journal, and Options in Education.

KPBX airs a live call-in program to answer listener questions about the station.


KPBX Second Anniversary International Festivals at Moreland’s with Italian, German & Spanish cuisine.

February 18 - The Community Advisory Board is held at Gonzaga University.

May 16 - The Tin Ear presents KPBX’s Spring Jazz Festival featuring Art Lande.

Martha Shannon joins staff as Development Director. Bridget Piper is elected president of the board.

April 18 - Karl Haas of Adventures in Good Music comes to Spokane.

Marvin Granger resigns; Richard Malawista takes over as General Manager.

Staff List: Gen Manager/Prog. Dir: Marvin Granger; Devel Director: Jean Smith; Music Director: Richard Malawista; Producer/News/Public Affairs:  Lisa DeAmicis; Producer/Arts: Vernice Cohen; Op. Manager: Kathy Grabicki (Sackett); PR: Caroline Walen; Asst to Development: Judy Phelan; Asst for Finances: Carl O’Leary; Pied Piper Director: Robin Woolman.

April 25 - Dick Wellstood performs a benefit concert in the Skylight Court of Riverpark Square, SPR's first official event! 

James McTigue takes over as Board of Directors.

The Pied Piper was one of the first locally produced programs ever aired on Spokane Public Radio. It made its debut in 1980, the same year SPR went on the air. The Pied Piper was concieved as an "imaginative family listening" program. Episodes featured storytelling, music, poetry, and more.

Stay tuned as SPR celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020. We'll be showcasing programs from the archives all year long.

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.

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.

40 years of Spokane Public Radio! Thank you for coming out and celebrating with us! 

This year marks SPR's 40 year anniversary. Join us at the station, 1229 N Monroe Street, to celebrate our birthday, have some light refreshments, and enjoy live music by Brent Edstrom and Brian Flick.

The open house will be from 3 - 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22nd.