The station began operation on April 17, 1972 under license by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a Class D low-power educational broadcasting service of Florissant Valley Community College (now St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley). The initial transmitted power was regulated to 10 watts omnidirectional, leading to the campus nickname, "the weakest station in the nation". KCFV billed itself as "The 10-Watt Wonder". The station used the slogan, "Just Slightly Ahead of Our Time", a reference to the non-Top 40 progressive music that it featured.
Since its beginning, KCFV has been operated by students of St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. Most of the on-air staff are majoring in Mass Communications.
Early broadcasts included a progressive rock music format, public affairs programs, news and sports. The station signed on daily at 3:00 pm with "The Towne Square", a progressive rock-themed, magazine-style program that followed a weekly rotation of music news, comedy, items of local interest, and politics. The balance of the broadcast day was filled by disc jockey programs of rock music. The station signed off at midnight.
Following changes in FCC rules governing low-power FM stations (LPFMs) in the early 1980s, the station was granted a Class L1 license to raise its transmitter power to 100 watts. KCFV is currently known as "The Wave", and programming features a wide variety of music formats. The station's slogan is "Diverse Music For Your Diverse Mind".