|City of license||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Broadcast area||Kansas City|
|Callsign meaning||Kansas City University Radio|
|Affiliations||National Public Radio|
|Owner||University of Missouri-Kansas City
(The Curators of the University of Missouri)
KCUR-FM is the flagship NPR station in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The station, operated by the University of Missouri-Kansas City, broadcasts at 89.3 MHz with an ERP of 100,000 watts and covers a 90 mile radius in Northwestern Missouri and Northeastern Kansas.
In the spring of 1956, CJ Stevens, then Director of Radio and TV at the University of Kansas City (forerunner of UMKC), submitted a budget request for the establishment and operation of an educational FM radio station. This request was turned down. Stevens and Sam Scott then decided to raise money outside the university and, with the approval of then President McGrath, a modest fundraising campaign was undertaken and a separate FM fund was established.
KCUR-FM began broadcasting October 21, 1957 from the third floor of Scofield Hall with a signal range of 4 miles, 2 full-time employees and a budget of $15,000 from the University. Wiring and setup of the station was done by student volunteers, some from Rockhurst (Richard J. Allen and Gary Labowitz). It was the first university licensed educational FM station in Missouri and the second FM station in Kansas City.
In 1961, the University of Kansas City Board of Trustees decided to drop operation of KCUR-FM from the 1962 budget along with the elimination of the intercollegiate athletic program. This was a time of financial problems for the University of Kansas City, leading to its merger into the University of Missouri system a few years later. An Editorial in the Kansas City Times suggested several reasons why the university should reconsider its decision including, "In the community, (KCUR-FM) it is a source of education, culture and pleasure."
The decision to eliminate funding for KCUR-FM was reversed at the next meeting. In 1965—two years after UKC became the University of Missouri-Kansas City—the station moved to 524 Pierce Street. The MU board approved purchase of $24,000 worth of transmitter equipment that more than doubled the station's coverage area, boosting its broadcasting power to 40,000 watts.
In 1970, KCUR-FM was awarded a grant of $7,500 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for Community Service. A year later, it became a charter member of NPR. In 1976, KCUR-FM moved to 5327 Holmes and the signal was expanded to 100,000 watts.
In 1985, KCUR-FM moved to its current location in the Student Services Building. By this time, students were no longer heard on the air; for many years the station had been used as a training ground.
Over the next few years, the public radio programming was streamlined and most of the volunteers were either eliminated from on-air responsibilities or became employees of KCUR-FM. The station began broadcasting 24 hours a day with the BBC World Service being heard in the overnight hours. In 1992, national and local news programming was added to the broadcast schedule, eliminating classical music during the day. These changes along with more sophisticated fundraising success enabled the station to increase its listening audience and local news staff.
KCUR-FM is home to several local programs. The Walt Bodine Show is a one-hour, weekly talk show, hosted on Fridays by local broadcast legend Walt Bodine. The show specializes in a wide variety of topics, along with live listener call-in and emails.
Up to Date is a one-hour, daily public affairs/talk show featuring newsmakers of the Kansas City community. It airs Monday through Friday at 11am. Host Steve Kraske, a political correspondent for The Kansas City Star brings pressing issues, both local and national, to the table including politics, economics, entertainment and social points of view.
KC Currents is a weekly news and culture from Kansas City's diverse communities and beyond. The shows airs every Sunday at 5pm and Mondays at 8pm.
The station also features diverse locally produced music programs, including the Fish Fry, Cyprus Avenue, and Night Tides.
- KCUR's Web site
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KCUR
- Radio-Locator information on KCUR
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KCUR