KCSU: A Brief History

This year marks 75 years of radio on Colorado State University’s campus. That’s right, radio on campus can be traced back to 1943. At that point in time, interest in radio technology stemmed from the need for military-focused schooling during WWII, with Colorado A&M serving upwards of 1,500 servicemen, leaving for and coming back from the war in Europe. The first show on Colorado A&M radio was ‘Agriculture in News,’ a show about topics of interest to the farming community.

It has always been the mission of KCSU to provide educational radio, and students working for the station have always kept the community in mind. In fact, in 1960 two student leaders left the station because it was trying to compete with popular radio. Then in the 1970s, nine members of student radio went on strike because they felt that KCSU was once again not reaching its potential in educational programming, but was instead prioritizing popularity in a contest against other local radios. The 1980s presented the debate of whether the station should be student-run or not. Some believed that it was too risky to have a student-run station because of mismanagement and there was a fear of a lack of direction on how a station was supposed to run if it didn’t involve professionals. Others believed that the station needed to be run by students and allow for failure to happen in order to grow. The students and their supporters ended up winning this battle and the station remained a place to learn and grow while providing the best in college radio.

In the summer of 1997, northern Colorado was hit with a flood that destroyed much of CSU, including the radio station. The students of KCSU took the flood as a fresh start to build a brand-new station, and work out all the technical issues before broadcasting. It was the fresh start KCSU was waiting for, which built the station that CSU recognizes today. Today, KCSU still focuses on educational programming and the mission remains the same: to train students to collaboratively operate a radio station that delivers and creates content that informs and inspires our listeners.


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