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|Slogan||Chicago's Sound Experiment|
|First air date||May 8, 1950|
|Callsign meaning||We're Northwestern University Radio|
WNUR first began broadcasting on May 8, 1948. It originally operated from a 10-watt transmitter that reached into portions of Skokie and Chicago.
Between 1982 and 1995, WNUR's slogan had been "The New Music FM."
Since 1995—the same year the station moved into new facilities in Northwestern's Annie May Swift Hall—WNUR's slogan has been 'Chicago's Sound Experiment.' (The station had previously broadcast from well worn facilities in the basement of the same building).
WNUR celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2000 with a reunion and special programming.
In March 2007, WNUR began broadcasting from new studios in John J. Louis Hall on Northwestern's Evanston Campus.
WNUR has also hosted many innovative radio programs over the years, including Airplay (a weekly program dedicated to local Chicago music), free-form experimental audio collage programming, weekly live radio comedies, and world-premiere live radio dramas written and directed by David Mamet.
WNUR Rock Show DJs are Northwestern University students who complete two quarters of apprenticeship and attend one academic year of weekly meetings to learn about the development of underground and experimental rock in Chicago and around the world. The Rock Show's mission is to provide a medium for otherwise unheard music through the airwaves of Chicago and on the Internet. The Rock Show specializes in independent, experimental and underground music. Its content features music from Chicago, across the country, and around the world. Rock DJs play no wave, punk, musique concrète, post-punk, noise, noise rock, and anything else that attempts to expand the boundaries of music. Notable Alumni include Steve Albini and the Arcade Fire's William Butler.
WNUR Jazz Show DJs are community DJs and Northwestern University students and alumni who complete one quarter of apprenticeship. The Jazz Show's mission is to provide a medium for otherwise unheard music through the airwaves of Chicago and on the Internet, while focusing on various forms of improvised music. The Jazz Show specializes in independent, experimental and underground music, and emphasizes new and local releases. Its content features music from Chicago, across the country, and around the world. Jazz DJs play Free Jazz, free improvisation, noise, and anything else that attempts to expand the boundaries of music. The WNUR Jazz Show is one of the few radio and streaming internet sources for some of the aforementioned styles of music.
Sports programming is another unique element of WNUR. For decades, WNUR Sports has carried Northwestern football, baseball, and men's basketball. Since the mid-1990s, WNUR has been the exclusive carrier of Northwestern Wildcats women's basketball. In addition, WNUR often covers Wildcats women's lacrosse, softball, as well as a handful of Northwestern Wildcats volleyball, soccer, and field hockey games.
WNUR Sports is a distinct entity that operates on its own budget, separate from the WNUR operating budget. This allows the sports department further independence, and the opportunity to cover more events than would be otherwise available. For example, WNUR Sports has served as the exclusive carrier of Northwestern Men's Basketball for several tournaments that flagship WGN was unable to cover, including the 2006 San Juan Shootout hosted by the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and the 2005 BCA Invitational at the University of Wyoming. WNUR Sports also provides sideline reports for all football broadcasts.
WNUR Sports hosts a weekly call-in show every Sunday at 8:00PM known as The SportsVoice. The SportsVoice is the only call-in show dedicated to Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. As with all WNUR Sports programming, it is hosted and produced entirely by students.
DJ's from WNUR have occasionally gone on to produce their own music. Alumni include music critic and sometimes musician John Corbett, and DJ Snuggles. Other alumni include the suits behind Drag City and Carpark Records, and members of many bands including OK Go, The Effigies, Arcade Fire, Town and Country, Chavez, Volcano! and the No Doctors. Famous house DJs Derrick Carter and Mark Farina also held shows on WNUR in the early nineties. Other well-known alums include Neil Tesser and Steve Albini, while "This American Life" host Ira Glass got his start at the station. Arbitron exec Pierre Bouvard also hails from WNUR, as does radio researcher and strategist Mark Kassof. Kevin Beacham, host of Redefinition Radio on Minnesota Public Radio's independent music station, KCMP ("The Current"), hosted the hip-hop program Time Travel on WNUR during the mid-1990s. Also, in the late 1970s, novelist Eckhard Gerdes was a DJ, Free Form Producer, and Rock Producer at the station.
Alumni of WNUR Sports include Guy Benson of WIND, Dave Eanet of WGN, Glenn Geffner of the Florida Marlins, Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network, Kevin Blackistone of Fanhouse.com and ESPN, and Darren Rovell of CNBC.
- WNUR Records, 1953-1994, Northwestern University Archives, Evanston, Illinois
- WNUR History Site
- Underground Archive Project, documenting over 1,000 albums from the WNUR music library
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WNUR
- Radio-Locator information on WNUR
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WNUR