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KNOU-HD2 RAF-STL logo.png
City St. Louis, Missouri
Broadcast area Greater St. Louis
Branding RAF STL
Slogan The Sound of Art
Frequency 107.3 MHz FM
96.3 FM (KNOU) HD2
First air date April 8, 2013 (2013-04-08)
Format Classical music
ERP 250 watts
HAAT 139 meters (456 ft)
Class D
Facility ID 139987
Owner Radio Arts Foundation–Saint Louis
Sister stations 96.3-2 KNOU FM (St. Louis)
Webcast rafstl.org/listen
Website rafstl.org

K297BI (107.3 MHz) is an FM radio station in St. Louis, Missouri, branded as "RAF-STL" and owned and operated by the nonprofit Radio Arts Foundation–St. Louis. The station's studios are located in Clayton, Missouri.[1]

The station is dedicated to the classical music format and its hosts include James (Jim) Connett, Jim Doyle, Kathy Lawton Brown, and Tom Sudholt.[2]

Classical programming on K297BI is also broadcast on the Hybrid Digital channel 96.3 KNOU-HD2, also operated by the Radio Arts Foundation.


KFUO-FM 99.1, which had broadcast classical music to St. Louis since 1948, was owned by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and became available for sale in 2009.[3] In the name of the Radio Arts Foundation, Jim Connett, program director at KFUO,[4] and Michael Neidorff, CEO of the Centene Corporation, made a purchase proposal for KFUO that was rejected by the synod board member and paid negotiator Kermit Brashear.[3] The foundation immediately began plans for a new classical station, even before the Classic 99 format ceased analog operations and became available by webstream only.[3][4]

KFUO was sold to Gateway Creative Broadcasting in March 2010, as approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in May. After announcing that the station would broadcast contemporary Christian music and be branded as Joy FM, Classic 99 ended its 62-year classical music format at 10 p.m. on July 6, 2010 after playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. St. Louis was without a full-time classical station from 2010 to 2013.[1]

The Centene Charitable Foundation provided the Radio Arts Foundation a $1 million startup grant for the new station,[2][3] and FCC Form 350 was filed for the station February 1, 2013, which was to be owned and operated by the Radio Arts Foundation–St. Louis, with Connett as general manager.[5] Approval was announced March 7, 2013.[6]

After a week of signal testing, RAF-STL Classical debuted on 107.3 K297BI and 96.3 KIHT-HD2 at 10 a.m. on April 8, 2013, with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Connett remarked, "This is truly a dream come true.... Building this new station from the ground up has been a labor of love."[1]

The station features classical programming familiar from KFUO such as Composer's Datebook, Classic Kids, and Classic Tracks.[6] It obtained a significant music collection by partnering to download the libraries of KFUO and of WRR-FM, Dallas Classical 101.1.[1]

On-air staff

An experienced staff of former KFUO Classic 99 employees and other radio industry professionals manage the day-to-day operations of RAF-STL.[2]

  • Jim Doyle
  • Kathy Lawton Brown
  • Tom Sudholt
  • Julie Schuster
  • Jim Connett[4]


  1. ^ a b c d radioINSIGHT (8 Apr 2013). "Classical Coming Back to St. Louis". RadioBB Networks. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Our Story". Radio Arts Foundation. 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Miller, Sarah Bryan (4 Apr 2012). "Classical music radio may soon return to St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "RAF Team". Radio Arts Foundation. 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Hare, Kristen (5 Feb 2013). "Update: Classical music set to return to analog radio with RAF-STL". St. Louis Beacon. Archived from the original on 20 July 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Miller, Sarah Bryan (7 Mar 2013). "Radio Arts Foundation has start date for new classical music station". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 

External links

  • Radio Arts Foundation–St. Louis official website
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for K297BI
  • Radio-Locator information on K297BI

Coordinates: 38°36′47″N 90°20′09″W / 38.613056°N 90.335833°W / 38.613056; -90.335833

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