WGGL began operations on March 28, 1968, as a ten-watt station owned and operated by Michigan Technological University. The initial programming schedule ran for only five hours a day (4 to 9 p.m.) five days a week (soon expanded to six with the addition of Sunday programming), and the station shut down during summer vacations and school holidays. Programming was an entirely locally originating hybrid of classical, jazz and folk music along with local interest programming. WGGL increased power to 250 watts in late 1969 and then to 100,000 watts in 1971; by then, the station had affiliated with the then-fledgling NPR.
WGGL attracted a fairly loyal following, even though its coverage area was just barely large enough for it to be viable. However, by the start of the 1980s, WGGL was on the verge of being shut down due to budget cuts. Bill Kling of Minnesota Public Radio stepped in to buy the station in 1982. Since then, the station has mostly aired classical music and NPR programming fed from St. Paul, with only a few hours per week of local programming. While the station's studios are still based at Michigan Tech's campus in Houghton, the only staffers are an announcer and technician.