LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Broadcasting is for the birds - October 21, 2016

The bird statue and mascot of WREN that now sits in Topeka’s Huntoon Park once stood atop the WREN studios in Topeka. (Photo by J. Schafer)

Q: There’s a little patch of green space called Huntoon Park near the state capitol in Topeka. Inside this park, you’ll find a GIANT statue of a little bird, which was once the mascot for a radio station. Can you name the radio station associated with this little bird?

A: WREN (W-R-E-N or “wren” radio)
The history of W-R-E-N (or, “wren”) radio is long and complicated. The AM station began in 1926 and had broadcast studios located in Lawrence. Later, the station moved to Topeka. WREN’s mascot was a bird – a “wren,” of course, and one of its earliest advertisers was “Jenny Wren Flour” – hence the bird mascot for the station.  
There is another school of thought regarding the origin of the station’s call letters. WREN happens to be the four middle letters of LaWRENce, where the station was first located. For a period of time, WREN shared an AM frequency and airtime with KFKU at the University of Kansas, which presented educational programming for a short part of the day.  
In September of 1952, in addition to operating KKFU, the University of Kansas began operating a new FM radio station called KANU, the precursor to Kansas Public Radio. Eventually, KU relinquished its time-sharing agreement with WREN and KKFU went by the wayside. KU still has two radio stations on campus: KANU / Kansas Public Radio, a full-time professionally-staffed station and the student-run radio station, KJHK
These days, WREN no longer broadcasts over the air. Instead, it’s an Internet-based radio station that plays Golden Oldies from the 1950s and '60s. The bird statue and mascot of WREN that now sits in Topeka’s Huntoon Park once stood atop the WREN studios in Topeka. And now you know.

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)