Black Squirrel Radio

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Black Squirrel Radio
Black squirrel radio logo.png
Broadcast area Worldwide
(studios in Kent, Ohio)
Branding Black Squirrel Radio
Slogan Kent State's Only Student-Run Station
Frequency N/A (Internet radio only)
First air date Fall 2005
(as Black Squirrel Radio)
(as KSRW)
Format Urban/rock/local
Language(s) English
Former callsigns 1974-2005: WKSR*
1965-1970: WKSU-AM*
1949: WKSU-AM*
1945-1949: KSRW*
1940-1943: KSRW*
*unofficial – never assigned by FCC
Former frequencies N/A (closed-circuit/cable)
Affiliations UWIRE
Owner Kent State University
Webcast Listen Live

Black Squirrel Radio (BSR) is an Internet radio station run by students of Kent State University, broadcasting exclusively online. Black Squirrel Radio is overseen by faculty from Kent State University's Journalism and Mass Communication program.


Black Squirrel Radio traces its origins back to 1940 with the establishment of the Kent State Radio Workshop (or KSRW), a division of the Kent State University School of Speech. The Radio Workshop shut down twice: temporarily the first time, from 1943–1945 during World War II; and permanently the second time, in the spring of 1949 with the arrival of WKSU-AM. Note that the KSRW and WKSU-AM "callsigns" were never actually assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[1]

In October 1949, Kent State University received a license from the FCC to broadcast at 88.1 megahertz (MHz); this new FM station was assigned the callsign WKSU-FM. Effectively replacing WKSU-AM, the new WKSU-FM served as an outlet for Kent State students to broadcast for the next twenty years. In January 1965, WKSU-AM returned as a closed-circuit radio station. Students were given more responsibility than at WKSU-FM, but by 1970, WKSU-AM had ceased operations. Some students continued on with WKSU-FM, though all were eventually replaced with professionals when WKSU-FM became an affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR) in 1974.[1]

The same students dismissed from WKSU-FM chose to revive WKSU-AM as WKSR. The closed-circuit station's reach was limited to on campus; throughout the 1970s, 80s, and the early 90s, WKSR was often referred to as "roommate radio." In 1999, WKSR began streaming over a Kent State campus cable channel.[1]

Black Squirrel Radio[edit]

In the fall of 2005, WKSR began broadcasting online. The new Internet radio station soon changed its name due to Black Squirrel Radio; the WKSR "call letters" were never assigned by the FCC to the Kent State student-run station, but rather to WKSR-FM, a radio station licensed to Loretto, Tennessee.[2] Since the name change, Black Squirrel Radio has been expanding the breadth of their content to include podcasting and talk radio shows in addition to music shows. Black Squirrel Radio currently has over 120 students on its staff.

Black Squirrel Radio now calls Franklin Hall its home. The station was formerly located in the Music & Speech Building.


Mainly Urban, Rock and Local music. The format lends itself to the station mascot's name, "Url the Squirrel" (Urban Rock Local). Additionally, "Url" itself is a pun on the station's exclusive online format. BSR is an affiliate of UWIRE,[3] which gathers, edits, and re-distributes student-created content,[4] and broadcasts news at 15 minutes before the hour and at 15 minutes past the hour.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°9′6″N 81°21′4″W / 41.15167°N 81.35111°W / 41.15167; -81.35111