10 decades of cultural service

Students from Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland purchased a radio transmitter from a local electric shop and brought it to the school to launch a station.The first broadcast took place on May 4, 1923.

1923

Students from Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland purchased a radio transmitter from a local electric shop and brought it to the school to launch a station.The first broadcast took place on May 4, 1923: the beginning of KBPS AM 1450.

1947 

Dr. Patricia Swenson becomes General Manager of KBPS, and remains for 46 years until resigning in 1994 to help enable the station to continue funding the necessary on-air staff after the unexpected withdrawal of school district dollars after a severe budget crisis. 

1981 

KBPS obtains the 89.9 FM frequency from Reed College

1983 

KBPS begins broadcasting classical music on 89.9 FM. All Classical Radio’s Director of Music and Programming John Pitman also began his radio career at KBPS at this time; 2023 marks his 40th year with the station! 

1992 

After a fire the year prior, fundraising group Friends of KBPS (later known as KBPS Public Radio Foundation) raises money to build a new home for the station at Benson High School, dedicated exclusively to radio broadcasting. 

1997 

KBPS becomes the only full-time classical radio station in Portland when Oregon Public Broadcasting ends its classical music programming.

1999 

A partnership with OregonLive allows KBPS 89.9 FM to take its first steps into the new world of audio on the Internet, making the station’s broadcast available to early adopters of this technology. 

2001 

In November 2001, station engineers successfully build and launch the station’s first repeater, KQHR 88.1 FM, rebroadcasting the All Classical signal in Hood River. Today, the station has 6 repeater stations ranging from the Columbia Gorge to the Oregon Coast, and from Willamette Valley’s wine country up to Vancouver, Washington. 

2003 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grants the sale of the license to KBPS, officially making KBPS FM an independent, not-for-profit station. 

2005 

Supported by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, KBPS FM became one of the first public radio stations in the country to broadcast in HD digital radio. 

2009 

KBPS Public Radio Foundation took a transformative step, changing its name to All Classical Public Media, Inc. and its call letters from KBPS to KQAC, defining itself as an independent station known as All Classical Portland.

2014 

All Classical Portland moves from the Benson High School campus to the banks of the Willamette River in SE Portland.

2019 

A groundbreaking new station, the International Children’s Arts Network (ICANradio.org) is created for children, families, and educators to increase access to the arts for younger listeners. All Classical also launches an Artists in Residence program, becoming one of the first classical stations in the nation to do so. 

2021 

The award-winning Recording Inclusivity Initiative (RII) is launched, dedicated to recording works by composers historically underrepresented in classical music. 

2023 

All Classical Radio celebrates and reflects on more than 40 years of broadcasting excellence and looks ahead to a bright future with a brand new location at KOIN Tower in the heart of downtown Portland, OR. 

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  • KQAC 89.9 Portland/Vancouver
  • KQOC 88.1 Newport/Lincoln City
  • KQHR 88.1 Hood River/The Dalles
  • KQHR 96.3 Columbia Gorge East
  • KQMI 88.9 Manzanita
  • KSLC 90.3 McMinnville
  • 95.7 FM Corvallis/Flynn