Radio shakeups: Here's what happened to Seattle's Star 101.5, KPNW

Popular Seattle radio station Star 101.5 (KPLZ) swapped its format on Monday from adult alternative to country — now called 101.5 HANK FM.

The station teased the announcement on its Facebook page April 1, saying "something new is coming to 101.5 at 2 p.m."

It may have been April Fool's Day, but it was no joke: "Welcome to Seattle HANK FM! Join us for an authentic country music experience. With a focus on both classic hits and contemporary favorites, HANK FM promises ‘Real Country, Real Variety’ for every listener."

Curt Kruse and Jen Pirak were the morning show hosts on Star 101.5 until the switch to country. At the time of this writing, it's unclear where the duo have gone. 

Star 101.5 FM has had its familiar branding since 1994, playing hot adult contemporary music. The station had a popular morning show with Kent Phillips and Alan Budwill until 2018.

KPLZ was owned by Fisher Communications until Sinclair Broadcasting purchased the group in 2013. 

In 2021, Sinclair sold KPLZ, KVI and KOMO AM/FM to Lotus Communications.

KPLZ's switch to classic country happened on April 1, 2024, at 2 p.m. The station played End of the Road by Boyz II Men, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day, followed by It's Five O'Clock Somewhere by Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson.

The station's slogan is "Real Country. Real Variety."

Another Seattle radio station flips to country music

On the very same day, KPNW, which had been an adult alternative format, flipped back to country, and its previous branding, 98.9 The Bull.

The station posted an image on its Facebook page on April 2 saying, "We’re here to stay."

The Bull 98.9 aired country music from late 2017-2023.

In Feb. 2023, the station rebranded to KPNW-FM, offering adult album alternative music.

On April 1, 2024, at 10 a.m., the station played It's the End of the World as We Know It by R.E.M., and then reverted back to its former country format by playing "Like I Love Country Music" by Kane Brown.

Hubbard Radio said the switch back to country was because of listener demand. Its slogan is "Country for the PNW."


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