KU News Release

September 4, 2012
Contact: Janet Campbell, Kansas Public Radio, 785-864-4603; Phil Wilke, Kansas Public Radio, 785-864-5016

KPR to celebrate 60-year anniversary with special events

The KANU staff gathers for a photo in the 1950s.

Jazz director Dick Wright, shown in 1958.

More Information

LAWRENCE – Harry Truman was still president when a radio station signed on with a new FM signal based at the University of Kansas. At 1:45 in the afternoon, Sept. 15, 1952, KANU-FM was born.

Since then, the station has grown from a part-time music and educational station into a full-time, multi-station, award-winning network that covers northeast and east-central Kansas, the Kansas City metro and portions of southeast Kansas. It even changed its name.

Kansas Public Radio now has more than 100,000 listeners every week across the region, has affiliations with news organizations to cover stories worldwide and counts on the generosity of more than 6,000 listener-members to help fund KPR.

After all that, it’s time to have a party.

“Kansas Public Radio has been making great radio for 60 years,” said Janet Campbell, KPR’s general manager. “We’re going to celebrate that during the next year. We’ll sponsor concerts, events with NPR personalities and get out into the community to thank the listeners who have supported us for so long.”

Those concerts include:
• Dec. 8: KPR’s annual Big Band Christmas Concert, Liberty Hall in Lawrence
• Jan. 12, 2013: KU Professor Steven Spooner performs with the Topeka Symphony Orchestra
• Feb. 15, 2013: Kenny Garrett Quartet performs as part of the Folly Theater Jazz Series
• March 12, 2013: A discussion with an NPR campaign reporter, hosted by KU’s Dole Institute of Politics
• March 27, 2013: Garrison Keillor, host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” will visit Johnson County Community College

KPR will host some small concerts in the KPR Live Performance Studio, which will be recorded for later broadcast. Each concert will represent one of the musical genres that KPR plays: classical music, jazz, folk and the “exotica” sound of the “Retro Cocktail Hour.”

“We’ll also be highlighting the events, people and shows that KPR has aired over the last 60 years,” Campbell said. “We want this year to be a celebration of what we’ve accomplished and a preview of what we can do next.”

KPR will have a special website detailing station events during the upcoming year, a timeline of station history, historic photos and 60 fun facts for KPR in our 60th year, including:
• KANU began broadcasting on Sept. 15, 1952, at 1:45 in the afternoon.
• KANU’s first membership drive in 1974 raised $7,000. Individual memberships began at $2. An LP featuring KANU programming and personalities was sent as a thank-you gift.
• KANU was one of the 90 stations to carry the initial broadcast of “All Things Considered” in 1971.

KPR hopes you can make it to one or all of our special events to celebrate our 60th anniversary and continue to listen all year long.

KPR, a 14-time Kansas Association of Broadcasters State of the Year, licensed to the University of Kansas, broadcasts on 91.5 FM in Lawrence, 89.7 FM in Emporia, 91.3 FM in Olsburg-Junction City, 89.9 FM in Atchison, 90.3 FM in Chanute, and 99.5 FM and 97.9 FM in Manhattan. KPR can be heard online at http://kpr.ku.edu. KPR also operates KPR2, a news-talk programming stream, which can be heard on an HD receiver or on KPR’s website.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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