ZTransform streamlines broadcast operations and helps independent ‘Jazz, Blues and News’ radio station engage more meaningfully with local and online community

KNKX is an ambassador for jazz and blues, and a vital source of quality, non-commercial news, including NPR and regional coverage. The programming staff are storytellers who reach deeply into the community to reflect the voices of the Pacific Northwest region.

Operating a network of 12 radio signals that cover Western Washington, KNKX reaches 325,000 listeners weekly. In addition, KNKX.org and its 24-hour jazz stream, Jazz24, reach 350,000 online listeners every month. KNKX has millions of views on its YouTube channel playing live jazz and blues performances.

The Goal

Relocate & Inspire

KNKX had outgrown its original Seattle studios and the configuration of the rooms was no longer meeting the station’s needs. In-studio live events could only accommodate a handful of audience members, and the radio broadcaster’s growing team of news reporters were working in extremely close quarters, challenging their productivity.
The technology was outdated and was in need of a complete refresh to bring it in line with the newer Tacoma studios that were built to increase news coverage of the South Sound region, as well as collaborations with arts and music organizations.

The key for us was entrusting the end-to-end design and build to an experienced technical facilities provider [ZTransform].

Steve Albertson - Director of Administration, KNKX

The Challenge

Agile & Creative Spaces

The improved space would need to fulfill KNKX’s technical and operational ambitions and their creative needs so they could better connect with the community and more effectively collaborate with members of the public and local musicians on live music production, news programming, studio sessions, events, panels, and more.

KNKX sought to reconfigure the physical layout of spaces and operations to accommodate new functionality and host larger events. This growth required each studio to be equally-capable and able to fully leverage shared resources across the facility.

The Solution

End-to-End workflow with IP core

Early in the project, ZTransform met with multiple end-user groups from news, music, and production teams whose needs didn’t necessarily align. ZTransform helped to prioritize these different needs and conceived creative solutions that delivered agility for all users as related to equipment, room configuration and workflow. This year-long project was a true collaboration between KNKX and the ZTransform teams.

ZTransform provided design, build, integration and launch services for KNKX; working with V Three Studio architects to transform a 7,900sqm, 100+ year old, concrete warehouse within the Madore Building, into a state-of-the-art broadcast facility.

ZTransform implemented the Wheatstone AES-67 compatible WheatNet-IP audio infrastructure. This end-to-end Audio-over-IP solution enables all KNKX audio sources to be accessed and controlled by all devices on the network, including mixing consoles, control surfaces, software controllers, automation devices, and more.


Broadcast Electronics (BE) AudioVault was selected for audio storage, studio automation, playout and automation, and customized BE NewsBoss software now serves all KNKX newsroom workstations for content creation, ingest and distribution, on-air presentation, and editing.

ZTransform worked with Cabinetworks Unlimited to custom design innovative and versatile technical furniture, including sit/stand broadcast consoles. The IP-based systems also create new opportunities for remote broadcasting.

The Result

Elevated Collaboration

Overlooking the Seattle waterfront next to the Pike Place Market, KNKX’s new home boasts an on-air studio, live mix studio and three production rooms. ‘Studio X’,KNKX’s new performance space, is twice the size of its previous studio – comfortably seating an audience of 25. This atmospheric studio hosts jazz and blues sessions that are shared online worldwide through knkx.org, the KNKX YouTube channel and Jazz24.org. 

The studios are fully-optimized to capture audio for radio broadcasts and video for its online audience, including its YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 34M views. A large newsroom, where all KNKX reporters can be accommodated, and multiple offices, complete the facility.

The entire ZTransform team really understood how to balance the strengths of systems, people, and spaces. Plus, they made the experience enjoyable.

Steve Albertson -Director of Administration, KNKX

Key Technologies

The key systems involved in the facility refresh include:

  • Wheatstone Wheatnet IP
  • Allen & Heath venue consoles
  • Audinate Dante
  • BE Automation
  • Cisco networking
  • Adder IP KVM
  • Cabinet Works technical furniture
  • Canon cameras
  • ETC Theatrical lighting



BE Automation

Key Services

Planning & Development

Discovery sessions with multiple user groups detailed expansive operational requirements early in the process. Workflow and technical strategies were developed to provide solutions for the diverse user groups

Engineering & Design

Design consulting was provided to the architect and MEP team including space planning, acoustics, electrical, pathway, and mechanical system requirements. Budget, BOM, and single-line design drawings and as-built documentation were also developed by ZTransform

Systems Integration

ZTransform provided all fabrication, Installation, commissioning, testing and launch support services for the on-air cutover.

 ZTransform came highly recommended and when our transition team met with them, it was obvious from their ideas about design and implementation, to their can-do attitude and work ethic, that we’d found a perfect fit.

Steve Albertson - Director of Administration, KNKX


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