KNHC ( C-89.5 ) is a Class C1 Non-Commercial FM high school radio station based in Seattle, Washington , primarily broadcasting dance , electronic , and contemporary hit music. It is one of six stations monitored by Nielsen BDS for inclusion in Billboard magazine's weekly Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart. Its best coverage is in the Seattle metro area. [2]

The C in C -89.5 stands for Communications .

KNHC broadcasts in the HD Radio format. [2]

Operations and funding

KNHC is owned by Seattle Public Schools and is operated by professional staff who provide practical training to students of Nathan Hale High School in north Seattle, as part of an advanced electronic media course. Staff supervise students as they perform production, programming, music selection, copy writing, and on-air hosting. Some regular programs are hosted by alumni or non-student volunteers.

The station usually plays electronic dance music during the day, with a number of specialty shows playing anything from house to industrial in the evenings.

Since around 2002, Seattle Public Schools has excluded funding for the station from its annual budget, except for a portion of the salaries and benefits for two staff. In 2017, that amounted to about 12% of the annual operating budget.

In 2015, the station became qualified to receive a Community Service Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The remaining operational budget of the station is raised via fund raising efforts, primarily from bi-annual pledge drive s and corporate support announcements known as underwriting . As a non-commercial educational station, they cannot air traditional commercial advertisements.

Broadcast coverage and online content

The station's signal is broadcast from Entercom's backup tower on Cougar Mountain , and covers an area from north of Seattle to roughly halfway into Tacoma, Washington and across the Puget Sound . The signal can be received as far east as Snoqualmie Pass and as far north as Victoria, British Columbia . It is licensed to Seattle. C89.5 attracts as many as 200,000 broadcast listeners per week. [4]

The station also provides multiple live streams from its website, currently operating 32 kbit/s and 128 kbit/s SHOUTcast streams and 32 kbit/s and 128 kbit/s Windows Media streams, which can be received throughout the world via the Internet . C89.5 unveiled a major redesign of its website on November 26, 2011, along with a change in URL from to Other upgrades include a real-time playlist and searchable database of the music that is heard on C89.5.


  • 1960s
    • December 1969: the station goes on the air as 'KNHC' at 100 miliwatts at 1210 AM.
  • 1970s
    • January 1971: KNHC begins broadcasting on the FM Dial at 10 watts on 89.5 FM, covering about a 5-mile circle in the north end of Seattle.
    • September 1972: Power is increased to 320 watts with a directional antenna.
    • January 1973: Station goes to stereo operations.
    • November 1974: Power is increased to 1,500 watts directional.
    • December 1977: HEW / NTIA grant creates a sister studio at Cleveland High School on Beacon Hill . The Mass Communications magnet school program at Hale begins, including courses in radio, television, journalism, photography, and graphic arts.
  • 1980s
    • Early 80s: KNHC played a light rock/pop format during the day, with specialty shows in the evenings and on weekends, including jazz and classical.
    • October 1981: Power is increased to 3 kW non-directional.
    • 1982: KNHC adopted an R&B/"urban" format, and the number of listeners rapidly increased. Since then, though the format has shifted slightly, the station's focus has remained on danceable and rhythmic music.
    • 1983: KNHC begins to use the nickname 'C89-FM' for buffers; 'KNHC-FM' still used for top-of hour legal ID.
    • December 1983: Jack Straw Memorial Foundation's KRAB files with the FCC to force the Seattle School District to share KNHC's frequency. The school district fights the takeover attempt.
    • April 1984: KNHC installs a satellite dish to receive the Sheridan Broadcasting Network.
    • July 1986: A BE 3.5 kW transmitter is installed extending C89.5's power to 10 kW.
    • February 1986: The FCC designates the KRAB case to full scale federal hearing.
    • August 1987: Unique Jampro 6 bay state-of-the-art antenna is installed minimizing downward signal.
    • June 1987: Microwave studio transmitter link is installed.
    • February 1987: Associated Press Newspower satellite newsfeed is installed.
    • May 1988: Federal courts rule in favor of KNHC.
    • January 1989: KNHC prevails over a federal appeal by Jackstraw.
  • 1990s
    • September 1990: Magnet grant is awarded to enhance the radio and TV program.
    • June 1990: QEI transmitter is installed extending operations to 30 kW.
    • March 1991: Radio facility is renovated; second production studio, engineering room, and offices are built.
    • December 1994: Formed articulation agreement with Boise State University which gives station workers opportunities for higher education. Jobs, college credits and scholarships are made available. Two students participate in the program in its first year.
    • September 1995: Introduced digital audio technology with three digital audio editing workstations.
    • January 1997: Moved to digital station operation with introduction of a digital music stream and placement of computer workstations in every studio.
    • April 1998: Station launches website.
  • 2000s
    • January 2000: Moved to MiniDisc recording elements and programs, making the station completely tapeless and completing the studio transition to all digital.
    • August 2000: Completely remodeled and rewired all three studios with new audio consoles and furniture.
    • June 2001: Received FCC construction permit to build new transmission facility on Cougar Mountain .
    • July 2002: Began transmitting from Cougar Mountain, significantly extending the reach of the signal to the North and filling in "dead spots".
    • October 2003: KNHC named "Best Of New York" high school radio stations by the Village Voice , thanks to its Internet audio stream.
    • March 2004: becomes the first non-commercial station in the United States to be a monitored reporter when they join the Billboard Magazine Dance Radio Airplay panel.
    • June 2006: Due to popular demand, a 128 kbit/s SHOUTcast stream was added. This stream is currently using bandwidth provided by a sponsor. When the station has secured bandwidth to support more concurrent listeners the stream will become official and will be displayed on the homepage. [5]
    • January 2008: KNHC installed a new Transmitter on Cougar Mountain and upgraded to HD radio .
    • November 2009: KNHC moves into brand-new digital studios and classroom at Nathan Hale.