WKSU Celebrates 65 Years On-Air

On Oct. 2, 1950, Walton D. Clarke (then director of the radio program at Kent State University) announced, “WKSU now signs on the air,” as he threw the switch sending WKSU’s signal out over the airwaves for the first time. This year, WKSU celebrates 65 years on-air and looks forward to a new era broadcasting the best in news, information and other public radio programming throughout Northeast Ohio. To mark the anniversary, the station is planning a series of public events throughout the region. 

What began with a 10-watt transmitter broadcasting 25 hours of programming each week has grown into a nationally recognized and award-winning radio station covering a quarter of the state of Ohio from five towers and a smaller repeater signal. When online audio became a reality, WKSU was the first public radio station in the country to host live streaming content on its website. The station has been at the forefront of the digital vanguard, sustaining four distinct content streams at WKSU.org and over HD Radio from each of the five repeater stations.

“I’m honored to be one of only five people to have managed WKSU – the region’s original public radio station,” WKSU General Manager Dan Skinner said. “The station has a national reputation for creating great work and looking to the future while respecting the past. We’re excited to see what the next 65 years hold for WKSU!”

Through the years, as the WKSU studios made their way from Kent Hall to Kent State’s Music and Speech Building to its current broadcast center (built for WKSU as a stand-alone radio facility), the station has presented the highest quality programming, constantly working to create radio lineups that are responsive to community needs. With generational change, WKSU has shifted its focus from music to the strength of news and storytelling-based content from NPR, other public radio partners and the station’s own highly praised news staff. In the coming months, WKSU will open an expanded, state-of-the-art newsroom in its Kent broadcast center.

The station’s musical history is honored with continued classical and folk music offerings and the ongoing work being done with FolkAlley.com, the 24-hour streaming Americana and roots music web radio station. Folk Alley carries WKSU’s reputation for excellence to NPR, where it often represents its genre. A presence on station airwaves since the very beginning, WKSU airs nine hours of classical music daily along with the classical-only music stream.

Along with creating groundbreaking radio, WKSU also serves as an ambassador for Kent State and a training ground for the university’s journalism students. Kent State students who worked at WKSU and went on to greater roles in media include former WEWS anchor Ted Henry, Senior Vice President for Original Content at Audible Eric Nuzum (formerly programming VP for NPR), Michigan Public Radio News Director Vincent Duffy (also chair-elect of the Radio Television Digital News Association, or RTDNA), WYEP Production Director Brian Siewiorek, podcaster Andrew Walsh (co-host of “TBTL: Too Beautiful to Live With Luke Burbank”), and Mandy Jenkins, director of news at Storyful. This year, Kent State student assistant Lyndsey Schley earned a first-place award from the National Federation of Press Women for Feature Writing – Collegiate for a story she created on a program the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company offers to hire returning veterans.

As WKSU’s 65th celebration events are finalized, information will be posted at www.WKSU.org.

WKSU is an award-winning public radio station and service of Kent State that broadcasts to 22 counties throughout Northeast Ohio from the station’s primary signal at 89.7. WKSU content also can be heard over WKRW 89.3 (Wooster), WKRJ 91.5 (Dover/New Philadelphia), WKSV 89.1 (Thompson), WNRK 90.7 (Norwalk) and W239AZ 95.7 (Ashland). The station adds WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel over HD Radio and as streaming audio at www.wksu.org.

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Media Contact:
Ann VerWiebe, verwiebe@wksu.org, 330-672-9153

POSTED: Monday, September 28, 2015 - 3:40pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 10:08am
Ann VerWiebe