60th Anniversary


At 1:45 p.m. on September 15, 1952, KANU 91.5 FM began its first broadcast from the University of Kansas campus.


Sixty years later, the station is still committed to the same high level of quality radio under the name of Kansas Public Radio. 


Visit this page often to learn about the station and its staff, as well as get the latest updates on 60th Anniversary events.


Thanks for listening...


Can't wait to see all the Fun Facts? Here's the full list...

Dick-Wright Record-Library_1958



42. KANU launched its website, KPR.KU.EDU, in 1995.

43. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and former Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, was a regular on-air guest during KANU membership drives while she served as Kansas Insurance Commissioner in the 1990s.

44. KPR’s Planned Giving Society is named for former general manager and host of The Jazz Scene, Dick Wright.

45. Former General Manager Howard Hill was the announcer for the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium from 1982 through 2004.

46. KPR has had several run-ins with Mother Nature. In 1999, a skunk crawled under the old station and sprayed, multiple times by the smell of it. Despite fans, open windows and air fresheners, it took weeks to air out the station! In the mid-1990s, the station vehicle was an old Plymouth Volaré. The car was finally declared unsafe after squirrels had burrowed under the hood and destroyed belts and other engine parts.

47. After a jogger brought a membership pledge up to the station during a fund drive in 1984, KANU announcers encouraged listeners to bring in pledges by any mode of transportation. Member Ruth Fine took them literally and rode her horse, Abe, up the hill to Broadcasting Hall.


9.14.2012 - KPR Concert Series with David Basse @ KPR 


10.14.2012 - Footprints Silent Film Series featuring Nosferatu (live accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra) @ Lawrence Arts Center Theatre


11.10.2012 - KPR Concert Series with Stan Kessler's Television @ KPR

thumb Gutierrez-Sings12.8.2012 - Big Band Christmas with Kansas City Jazz Orchestra featuring Ron Gutierrez @ Liberty Hall


1.11.2013 - Cinema a Go-Go V @ Liberty Hall


1.12.2013 - Steven Spooner performs Rachmaninoff & Paganini @ Topeka Symphony Orchestra


2.12.13 - KPR Concert Series with Kansas City Symphony Players @ KPR


Kenny-Garrett-by-Keith-Major2.15.2013 - Kenny Garrett Quartet for Folly Theater Jazz Series @ Folly Theater


3.12.2013 - An Evening with Scott Horsley - a White House correspondent for NPR News @ Dole Institute of Politics


3.27.2013 - Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion @ Johnson County Community College


5.11.2013 - KPR Concert Series with Brother Sun @ KPR


5.17.2013 - Cinema a Go-Go @ Liberty Hall  


6.28.2013 - Cinema con Queso @ Liberty Hall


8.23.2013 - Cinema a Go-Go @ Liberty Hall


8.25.2013 - Kansas State Fiddling & Picking Championships in South Park


(KPR Concert Series performances will be recorded for on-air broadcast)


Did you miss KPR Presents' 'Happy 60th Birthday, KANU!' special? No problem! Take a listen HEREOn this episode we revisit many of the programs of those early days and hear from some of the people on the air and behind the scenes that helped get KANU off the ground. There's also a Part Two of our 60th anniversary celebration.

A Pictorial Guide to KANU - Kansas Public Radio

September 15, 1952 1:45 p.m.: KANU 91.5 FM began broadcasting
September 19, 1952: Opera Is My Hobby - Dr. James Seaver hosts his first show for a program that remained on the air through the end of 2011. It was the second longest-running public radio show that had its original host

1952: The Jayhawk School of the Air moves from KFKU to KANU

1955: KANU begins broadcasting seven days a week from 1 to 11 p.m.

December 10, 1956: Dick Wright hired as Music Librarian

1959: The Jazz Scene with Dick Wright debuts

April 22, 1959: The Jayhawk School of Air closes its doors

Fall 1960: Morning broadcasts begin

August 17, 1960: Winds topple tower. Damage is more than $35,000

January 1966: Program Guide mailing to 8,000 listeners

August 1969: R. Edwin Browne, who helped found the station, retires

August 1970: Dick Wright appointed Director of KANU

November 7, 1970: Bluegrass with Dan Crary debuts

May 3, 1971: All Things Considered is broadcast for the first time by NPR and on KANU

March 1971: NPR Sunday Concerts by Los Angeles Philharmonic

October 11, 1971: Audio-Reader begins broadcasting on the sub-carrier of KANU

November 4, 1972: A new transmitter and antenna doubles as KANU service area

September 1973: Jazz in the Night debuts with Dick Wright and Gary Shivers

September 5, 1973: The American Past with Calder Pickett debuts

October 24-26, 1973: Susan Stamberg originates her portion of All Things Considered in Studio 4 with local interviews

March 18-24, 1974: First spring fund-raising drive, The Campaign for Excellence raises $7,000. The premium is a KANU LP

April 1, 1974: The American Past by Calder Pickett awarded the Peabody Award for Meritorious Service to Broadcasting

January 1, 1976: Howard Hill becomes the third Director of KANU

January 1978: Full-time Statehouse bureau in Kansas Statehouse

February 6, 1979: KANU is connected to National Public Radio satellite system

November 7, 1981: The Vintage Jazz show with Michael Maher debuts

November 1982: A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor begins on KANU

December 4, 1982: A vandal using 4-foot bolt cutter severed guy wires, felling the KANU tower

December 11, 1982: Broadcasting resumes from a 100-foot tower loaned by KCUR-FM. Later, this structure is accidentally downed by a careless tower crew member and his boom truck

January 3, 1983: KANU begins carrying Morning Edition from NPR. The local host is Frank Seely

April 1983: The Imagination Workshop broadcasts its first program on KANU. It is done in the studio without an audience

1983: KANU loses KU sports broadcast rights

November 1984: The first regular fall fund-raising drive is held

July 1985: KANU begins broadcasting 24 hours a day

September 23, 1986: KANU begins service to Emporia via translator at 90.5 FM

January 1987: Blues in the Night with Kyle Neuer debuts

March 9, 1987: KANU begins service to Manhattan via translator at 90.5 FM

January 1987: The Goodtime Radio Revue debuts at Liberty Hall in Lawrence before an enthusiastic sell-out crowd

January 13, 1988: KANU begins service to Iola/Humboldt via translator at 88.1 FM

1989: Bob McWilliams and Dick Powers hosts of The Flint Hills Special are named Bluegrass DJs of the Year by SPBGMA

January 1989: KANU's Statehouse Bureau begins sharing its work with other public stations in the state as “Kansas Public Radio”

May 28, 1989: KANU co-presents the Third Annual Farewell Tour by Garrison Keillor and guest artists at Kansas City's Midland Theatre

January 1990: The KANU Statehouse Bureau becomes Kansas Public Radio. Public Stations in Manhattan, Wichita, Garden City and Pittsburg receive legislative coverage for a modest fee

June 1, 1990: KANU begins service to Atchison via translator at 89.7 FM

September 29, 1990: The KANU tower is felled again – this time on purpose. The tower is moved to a new site 1/3 mile to the west to make way for the Lied Center for the Performing Arts

Fall 1991: KANU begins its major donor program, the “Broadcasters Society.” Twenty-two generous donors qualify as charter members

June 15, 1991: Following a lightning strike, Hoch Auditorium burns. KANU's Development offices, along with considerable archival material (including rare photos and tapes of old shows) are destroyed in the fire. The Development staff temporarily relocates to KANU's studio 3 until other offices can be arranged

January 28, 1992: The Imagination Workshop wins a $123,645 program production grant from CPB. More than 150 stations sign up to carry the series of comedy programs.

1993: Calder Pickett's American Past celebrates its 20th anniversary on KANU

May 1994: Howard Hill is elected Chair of the Kansas Public Broadcasting Council. Stations receive their first operating grants through the new state agency

1994: KANU joins other Kansas Public Radio stations as one of only five participants in a National Public Election Project which will establish the way the 1996 elections will be covered

March 1995: A crew from TV's “60 Minutes” visits Lawrence to shoot footage of an Imagination Workshop broadcast. Scenes from the broadcast appear in a report by Morley Safer on the move by Congress to withdraw funding for public broadcasting

Fall 1995: Dr. Roy and Ms. Bev Menninger agree to chair KANU's newly established Advisory Board. The first meeting is held with NPR President and CEO (and KU grad) Delano Lewis as special guest

December 1995: KANU shares its annual broadcast of the KU Holiday Vespers concert with public radio stations nationwide. Nearly 50 stations air the 1995 concert. In 1999, highlights from the concert are aired on NPR's Performance Today and selections are included in the Performance Today CD Christmas Around the Country

January 1996: The Retro Cocktail Hour debuts on KPR

January 28, 1996: Bob Hammond, KANU's longtime host of Jazz in the Night dies suddenly. KANU broadcasts a memorial program, hosted by Dick Wright, Bob McWilliams and Rob Klotz on January 29

July 1996: Fresh Air and Car Talk join the KANU lineup

October 1996: KANU wins their first Non-Commercial Station of the Year award from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

December 1996: KANU reveals a $230,000 deficit. Staff members put budget-cutting measures into place and KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway provides a cash advance to stabilize the station's finances. Within six months, all outstanding bills are paid and KANU's budget eases into the black. Within three years, the Chancellor's loan is repaid in full

January 1997: Howard Hill steps down as KANU general manager. Audio-Reader director Janet Campbell assumes additional duties as KANU's interim manager while the search is conducted for a permanent replacement

June 1998: Janet Campbell is appointed KANU general manager

July 4, 1998: KANU co-hosts with KCUR a live performance of A Prairie Home Companion at Starlight Theatre

November 1998: Renewing a tradition that stretches back to the early days of KANU, the station acquires a new Baldwin grand piano and launches a regular series of live in-studio performances.

October 1999: KANU programming becomes available over the Internet. Listeners from all over the world tune in to KANU programs!

November 23, 1999: An important chapter in KANU's history ends with the sudden death of former general manager and longtime Jazz Scene host Dick Wright. A special memorial program is aired on The Jazz Scene, featuring comments by many of Dick's admirers and colleagues, including performers, educators and family members

July 2000: Whad'Ya Know and This American Life join the KANU weekend lineup

July 2000: David Basse becomes the new host of The Jazz Scene. The program moves to Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m.

June 2000: With funding from the Kansas Health Foundation, KANU launches a weekly series of reports on children's health issues. Kansas Kids: A Prescription for Change airs every Monday Morning Edition and on radio stations statewide

March 17, 2001: The Goodtime Radio Revue ends a 14-year run with its last scheduled broadcast, a St. Patrick's Day special at Liberty Hall in Lawrence

June 2001: For the first time, KANU presents live broadcasts of concerts from the Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka. Listener response is overwhelming!

July 2001: KANU's Imagination Workshop series changes its name to Right Between the Ears. The show tapes episodes for its first-ever weekly television series at the Nichols Hall Theatre in Manhattan, KS. The television series debuts in the fall of 2001 on KCPT-TV in Kansas City and KTWU-TV in Topeka

October 2001: Kansas Kids reporter Bryan Thompson receives the Tony Jewell Award for significant contributions toward the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse from the KAB. He is the first broadcast journalist to receive the award

November 2001: KANU's Vintage Jazz Show celebrates 20 years on the air

2002: Throughout the year, Kansas Public Radio celebrates its 50th anniversary with special programming, including a concert by Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland, a live broadcast of Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know? from the KU Lied Center, special news features, a commemorative website about the station's 50-year history and more

April 29, 2002: KANH – 89.7 FM begins broadcasting to Emporia and Lyon County

June 1, 2002: With broadcast towers in Lawrence, Atchison, Emporia and one planned for Junction City, KANU renames itself Kansas Public Radio to represent its entire broadcast area

July 19, 2002: During its 50th anniversary year, KANU has been named a recipient of the 2002 Governor's Arts Awards

Fall 2002: During RadioFest 2002, the fall membership campaign, pledges top $200,000 for the first time

January 7, 2003: KANV – 91.3 FM begins broadcasting to the Junction City and Manhattan area

June 2003: Janet Campbell elected chairman of The Kansas Public Broadcasting Council

July 2003: KPR completes the move to its new, state-of-the-art facility. However, broadcast operations remain at Old Broadcasting Hall until August

July 24, 2003: KPR provides a live broadcast from the dedication ceremonies at KU's Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics. Speakers include former President Jimmy Carter, New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and Robert Dole

August 14, 2003: At 5 a.m., KPR begins the first broadcast from the new facility. Laura Lorson hosts Morning Edition

September 15, 2003: Fifty years to the day after KANU went on air, Kansas Public Radio hosts a birthday party in the backyard of its recently opened, state-of-the-art broadcasting studios

September 2003: Dr. James Seaver celebrates 50 years as host of Opera Is My Hobby

September 23, 2003: KPR presents the first live broadcast from the new performance studio. Kansas City's New Ear Ensemble performs

November 17, 2003: KPR presents a concert performance of the musical On the Town, featuring a full cast and jazz band accompaniment. The show takes place in the live performance studio, with a small audience. A Night On the Town host George Harter emcees the evening

January 2004: Weekly Health series becomes “Kansas Health: A Prescription for Change,” covering the health of all Kansans and carriage expands to 25 AM and FM frequencies across the state

May 17, 2004: KPR presents a live broadcast from Topeka commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. President George W. Bush is the featured speaker

May 21, 2004: KPR presents a live broadcast from Allen Fieldhouse of the inaugural Dole Lecture by former president Bill Clinton

September 20, 2004: Art Minute, a weekly series of 90-second features from KU's Spencer Museum of Art, debuts on KPR

November 14, 2004: KPR produces a live, in-studio performance of Christmas music by guitarist Douglas Niedt. This is one of a series of recitals in the KPR performance studio attended by an invited audience. Future performances are by Quartet Accorda, Allegresse, singer-guitarist Gerry O'Beirne and jazz bassist Bob Bowman and Bowdog

August 2005: The Dick Wright Legacy Society is announced as a planned giving program to benefit KPR.

September 2005: Right Between the Ears (formerly The Imagination Workshop) celebrates its 20th anniversary with a live broadcast from Kansas City's Folly Theatre. NPR's Liane Hansen is the special guest

October 5, 2005: Postcards from Asia, a 60-second feature produced in cooperation with KU's Center for East Asian Studies, debuts

December 25, 2005: Calder Pickett's The American Past airs for the final time after 32 years

January 2006: Right Between the Ears moves to a weekly broadcast on KPR, combining new programs with shows from the archives

June 23, 2006: KPR named Jazz Station of the Year by readers of JazzWeek magazine

September 2006: KPR launches high definition services, including digital broadcast of the main channel, plus KPR 2, a 24-7 news-talk channel, featuring programs from NPR, BBC and CBC

October 2006: KPR Presents, a series of lectures, panel discussions and interviews debuts on KPR, produced by Kaye McIntyre. Among the featured speakers are Bill Clinton, Ray Bradbury, Donald Rumsfeld, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Gen. Richard Myers and others

Research Matters, a segment produced by the University of Kansas, also begins airing for the first time

July 2007: From the Top, a weekly hour-long showcase of America's top young classical musicians, hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O'Riley begins broadcasting from 9 to 10 a.m. Sunday mornings.

July 2008: KPR brings a live performance of From the Top to the Lied Center in Lawrence

May 6, 2009: Two new translators in Manhattan go live on the air: K258BT (99.5) hosts the KPR1 format and K252EV (89.3) hosts the KPR2 format. K252EV is later replaced with K250AY (97.9) in 2011 due to signal interference.

May 2009: The first in a series of Cinema con Queso film screenings as promoted via the Retro Cocktail Hour features film with Mexican luchador, El Santo, and friends

December 2009: KPR hosts its first holiday jazz concert at Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence

October 2010: Harvest Public Media is established as a collaborative reporting project involving six public broadcasting stations in the Midwest. It is funded through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

April 5, 2011: KANQ (90.3) in Chanute is on the air, broadcasting the KPR2 signal to Southeast Kansas.








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