KEWU’s Sign Off Extended into 2024

Concert Featuring Jazz Ensembles Still Scheduled to Air Saturday, Dec. 16

December 14, 2023

Eastern Washington University will extend operations of its on-campus, non-commercial jazz radio station, 89.5 KEWU-FM, beyond the end of this year.

No final date for the station’s permanent closure has been established, but university officials anticipate extending operations through the rest of this academic year.

Earlier this fall, EWU announced KEWU’s operations would cease on Dec. 31, 2023, as part of a phase-out plan. However, extending that deadline into 2024 will allow Eastern more time to deal with the many complexities surrounding licensing and equipment. It will also minimize disruptions to EWU and students.

During the transition period, KEWU will continue to maintain programming with pre-loaded jazz music each day. As of Jan. 1, 2024, student DJ’s will work about 10 hours per week during weekday morning drive times. Otherwise, KEWU will remain fully automated.

This Saturday, Dec. 16, KEWU has a special on-air event for loyal listeners. There will be two on-air DJs spinning old-school vinyl from 3-7 p.m. This will be immediately followed by a concert featuring this year’s current jazz ensembles that was recorded in November.

EWU administrators have said that with the national media landscape changing dramatically, the university must look to explore other media opportunities and involving students with other creative forms of communication.

This decision to discontinue the campus-run station did not come about lightly, as KEWU has been a part of Eastern’s culture since 1950. The move has the support of program faculty and university administrators, who recommend Eastern will be best served by looking at new broadcasting opportunities in the future. The radio station has been managed and operated by a mixture of Eastern faculty, students and broadcast communications professionals.

KEWU’s illustrious history began on April 7, 1950, when KEWC (as it was originally named) first hit the airwaves. It operated as a free-form student station until 1986, when the station increased its transmitter output from 100 watts to 10,000 watts and the format was changed to straight ahead jazz  ̶  such as big band, swing and bop  ̶  as well as the modern and smooth contemporary jazz. Over the years KEWU hosted local artists in the studio to showcase their music.