The history of WRPI begins in 1934, when a sub-staff of WHAZ formed Campus Review, a program devoted to college-oriented entertainment and news for the Troy area. The show itself was run by a senior and junior board, as well as a group of apprentices, and programmed a half-hour of WHAZ's then-six-hour-long schedule on Monday nights. A new organization, the Rensselaer Broadcasting Association, began programming WHAZ's whole schedule in the spring of 1947, deploying a staff entirely from RPI's student body and working with the still-existent Campus Review.
An on-campus radio station was formed as an experimental carrier-current AM station in the fall of 1947 operating on 640 kc, and affiliated with the RPI Radio Club which also had an amateur radio station with the call sign W2SZ located in the attic of the Russell Sage Laboratory on campus. WRPI's studio and 50 Watt transmitter were located in the old barber shop in the basement of one of the Quadrangle dorms, thus at first limiting the listening area to those dorms. Later, another transmitter was added in the new freshman dorms located east of the campus. The station soon gained the WRPI moniker locally, and gradually added more equipment from donations and war surplus. Around 1948, W2SZ, the RBA and the Campus Review merged into a single Radio Council to cut down on the proliferation of student broadcasting clubs. In March 1951, the Radio Council was divided into amateur and broadcasting clubs; By 1954, WRPI's listenership included 85% of all students listening to radio sets.
Later, in November 1, 1957, WRPI obtained an FM license. and began broadcasting on its current frequency of 91.5 MHz. with 750 watts. In April 1969, WRPI boosted its power to 10,000 watts, while simultaneously moving to a new transmitter site. The format was also changed to Free Form Progressive Rock during this period. Now with a powerful signal, WRPI functioned as the Progressive Rock station of the Albany area throughout the early part of the 1970s. Today, WRPI's "free format" programming includes an eclectic, robust mix of rock, folk, classical, electronic and contemporary music, as well as talk shows all aimed at the diverse tastes of its listening audience. In 2008, the station adopted the on-air slogan "The Upstate Underground". WRPI was an early pioneer in FM stereo radio broadcasting.
The amateur radio club still exists, and still uses the call letters W2SZ.