The Tallest Man on Earth took the stage in thrasher-rockabilly swagger. Cover photo via (Wyatt Dlouhy, dailyiowan.com)
1952-1976: KWAD and KICR
In 1952, student broadcasting began at the University of Iowa in the form of KWAD. This carrier current station was situated in the Quadrangle Residence Hall and served Quad exclusively. As KWAD was to begin service to additional residence halls, it became KICR in 1968. It was then located with new equipment and studios in the basement of South Quadrangle Residence Hall. Keeping with tradition, KICR was an alternative station, and at that time that meant “rock n’ roll”, of which KICR was the only station in Iowa City of its kind. It was very popular with students and was supported through advertising–about $10,000 per year. KICR’s listening audience was about 5000 people; almost all were UI students.
1976-1984: Forming an FM station
KICR changed its call letters to KRUI in 1976 and continued its service to the residence halls. In the late 70′s KRUI was shut down by the residence halls as it ran out of funds and lacked the equipment and enthusiasm to keep it up and running. KRUI was put back up in 1980 but was in a state of almost thorough disrepair. However, control of KRUI was shifted to the Student Government from the Associated Residence Halls. Funding would come from the students instead of the dorms. Pete Koenig was selected as General Manager in the fall of 1980 and was able to restore KRUI’s service to all the dorms. It was his long term goal to make KRUI an fm broadcast facility. KRUI then had to obtain an FCC license and an FM transmitter. KRUI also had to secure greater funding from the student government and impress upon the UI Administration that it was dedicated group that could go the distance and involve the students and community. GM Pete Koenig orchestrated the move to FM. In 1982 Student Broadcasters, Inc was created as an external corporation charged with holding the broadcasting license and providing the University of Iowa with a student run broadcast facility. Then in the fall of 1983, KRUI was granted a non-commercial radio license by the FCC to operate at 89.7 fm. Everything was set in the spring of 1984 to begin broadcasting at FM.
On March 28, 1984 at 7:18pm CST, KRUI hit the airwaves at 89.7 FM as “Iowa City’s sound alternative.” After a sign on including congratulations by numerous University, student, and state officials, the tradition of an FM broadcast facility begun.
As a lead-up to the launch of http://www.krui.fm on February 7th, 2011, we compiled a photo history of the first 27 years of KRUI. We have since added that compilation to Flickr, and you can view it HERE.