LAWRENCE -- Don't touch that dial. KANU 91.5-FM has changed its name, becoming Kansas Public Radio, but listeners won't need to reset the radio.
The name change, which took effect June 1, reflects the station's growth -- and a growing commitment to listeners in a much larger area.
KANU, the 100,000-watt public radio station at the University of Kansas, recently added a 3,000-watt transmitter in Emporia (KANH 89.7-FM) and plans similar construction in Manhattan, which the station hopes to bring on line in the fall. Those stations, along with an existing translator in Atchison, will help KANU cover nearly all of northeast and east-central Kansas.
With that much of the state listening, KANU decided on the name change to reflect its dedication to bringing its news, music, entertainment and information programming to as wide an audience as possible.
"It's still the same excellent news, music, entertainment and information KANU's been providing to listeners for 50 years. It's just that now we are adding other transmitters -- or radio stations, if you will -- to our service to help us reach even more listeners," said Janet Campbell, KANU general manager. "It would be awkward and cumbersome to individually identify all the various station call letters and frequencies on the air all the time, so we're going to use the catch-all phrase 'Kansas Public Radio' to identify ourselves."
Although the name change is recent, the KANU news department has used the Kansas Public Radio moniker for years.
News director J. Schafer said that calling the news bureau Kansas Public Radio reflected that station's statewide news philosophy.
"Our news efforts focus primarily on issues of statewide interest, such as the Kansas Legislature, rather than on strictly local concerns," Schafer said. "And since our news department provides stories to other public radio stations in the state, it seems to make more sense to refer to ourselves as the Kansas Public Radio news department rather than just the KANU news department."
KANU is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with special events including concerts, comedy shows, live broadcasts of nationally known shows and a birthday party.
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