|First air date||1973-10-31 on 88.3 MHz, 16 watts, monaural|
|Former callsigns||KEJJ (1993–1994)|
|Owner||Missouri Students Association
(The Curators of the University of Missouri)
|Webcast||radio.kcou.fm - shoutcast stream|
KCOU (88.1 FM) is a radio station broadcasting the College radio format. Licensed to Columbia, Missouri, USA, the station is currently owned by the Missouri Students Association at the University of Missouri.
Originally known as KCCS (the Kampus Carrier Current Station), the station was founded in a dorm broom closet in 1963 as a carrier current AM station at 580 kHz. In 1973, the Independent Residence Halls Association was granted a broadcast license by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate in monaural at 88.3 MHz FM with 16 watts. Historically, this was the first license ever issued to a student group within a university, instead of to a university's administration. Operation began Halloween evening, playing the oddball tune "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!".
In the mid-1990s, the Missouri Students Association bought the station from the Residence Halls Association, who deemed it a financial burden for the organization.
The student-run station gained notoriety during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s by promoting alternative music/college rock and providing a platform for new artists and new trends. It has broken or been among the first radio stations to play bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Uncle Tupelo, White Rabbits (band) and Ditch Witch.
In 1993, the station reunited the cult favorite Big Star as part of its annual Springfest concert. That show featured original bandmembers Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, along with Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies. A recording of that reunion show was released as Columbia: Live at Missouri University 4/25/93.
The 2008–2009 staff included General Manager John Dobson and Program Director/Chief Engineer Jonathan Hutcheson.
Innovations at KCOU as of fall 2008 include a new Web site, kcou.fm. The site features live audio streaming worldwide. In February 2009, KCOU launched a news department, which provides on-the-hour news updates every weekday. For the 2008–2009 school year, the station had more than 120 student volunteers.
In January 2009, power to KCOU's FM signal was shut off when Hudson Hall, the MU residence hall where the station's broadcasting tower and transmitter sit, went offline for renovation. Through the Missouri Students Association, the station secured funding to construct a new tower atop Schurz Hall on the MU campus. KCOU was off the airwaves for most of the Spring 2009 semester and through part of the following summer. However, while off the air, KCOU still maintained a live, online broadcast 24/7 which was and continues to be made available through its website.
In spring of 2009, KCOU launched its news department under the slogan "Your only source for live campus news." The department began broadcasting news updates at the top of the hour throughout the day. In fall 2009, KCOU News launched its main 15-minute newscast, "The Pulse," during evening drive-time. The station later expanded the show to a half-hour. Then, in January 2011, it started broadcasting a full hour of news from 4:30–5:30 p.m., making it mid-Missouri's earliest evening newscast.
The newscast features live reports and radio stories, including those from KCOU's statehouse news service, Missouri Digital News. In spring 2010, The Pulse began featuring live traffic reports and weather forecasts every 10 minutes. KCOU is home to the only student-produced weathercast on the MU campus, through the University of Missouri Campus Weather Service. With traffic and weather "together on the 1s," plus live sports updates, The Pulse is fully in the newsradio format.
The news department also features a Sunday afternoon news review called "NewsHour" from 1 to 2 p.m. that features in depth interviews with important figures from the MU campus and Columbia. Two commentators host a political debate show called "Point-Counterpoint" from 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Theo Keith was the News Director for the 2009–2010 school year. Blake Hanson is the News Director for the 2010–2011 school year.
In summer 2009, KCOU News received two Communicator Awards of Distinction for its coverage of the 2008 election. The station won awards in the "overall newscast" and "student produced programming" categories. Thousands of entries vied for distinction in the competition. KCOU also won a Communicator Award of Distinction a year later for its coverage of elections in the 2009–2010 school year.
In the 2009–2010 school year, the station carried Missouri men's basketball games for the first time.
In the 2013-2014 school year, the station plans to carry all Missouri football games live at home and the road, along with a live slate of Missouri Men's basketball games, specifically home conference games, select non-conference opponents, and potentially the SEC Tournament. Football coverage typically begins 1 hour before kick-off under the moniker "Tiger Pre-Game Live", while basketball coverage starts 30 minutes before tip-off under the moniker "Tiger Tip-Off Live", expanded to an hour for Conference and NCAA Tournament Coverage. The postgame reports for both sports are branded "Tiger Postgame Report."
Current executive staff
|General Manager||Pierce Porterfield|
|Business Director||Aswhini Mantrala||Mikal Slatton|
|Chief Engineer||Anthony Greer|
|Assistant Chief Engineer||Luke Posey|
|Music Director||Elorm Nutakor|
|Program Director||Evan Campbell|
|KCOU Sports Program Director||Zach Gee||Assistant Program Director||Victor Touporia|
|Promotions Director||Nick Wyer|
|Live Events Director||Jonathan Janas|
|News Director||Jackson Bollinger|
|Sports Director||Carter Woodiel|
|Production Director||Jim Jung|
|Alumni / Recruitment Director||Tim Lothian|
|Digital Communications Director||Annie Marion|
|Communications Director||Olivia Thoelke|
- Wyman, Bill (1993-04-01). "Big Star to Reune Soon/Prince Be, Nothingness, and Reality/Important Non-Rock Radio News/Splitsville". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Sinclair, Tom (1993-10-08). "MUSIC CAPSULE REVIEW: Columbia: Live at Missouri University". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Aldrich, Zack (2009-07-10). "Newly relocated KCOU returns to FM airwaves". Columbia Missourian. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Heavin, Janese (2009-07-15). "MU student radio station KCOU resumes broadcasting after hiatus". The Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Ralph, Kaylen (2009-07-16). "KCOU returns to airwaves, wins awards". The Maneater. Retrieved 2009-07-17.