History: Growth of KVSC Radio
The founding students of KVSC taken 1968.
KVSC first began operations as a 10 watt; Class D broadcast facility on May 10, 1967, broadcasting at 88.5 megahertz. For ten years prior to this, students interested in radio broadcasting had no live-air broadcasting opportunities. The students would pre-produce all their programming in the university studios, which would then be aired on WJON (AM1240) radio. This meant that all programs produced would have to fit in with WJON's format, or they would not get on the air. It was soon decided that Saint Cloud State University had a need for its own radio broadcast facility, and thus KVSC was developed.
The call letters were selected to signify that the station would serve as the Voice of Saint Cloud. The station was run exclusively by volunteers from the University student population and was financed by the student activity fees and the Mass Communications department. The music format was predominantly classical music, with a smaller percentage of folk and rock music sprinkled in. The overall operation was small and required minimal funding, outside of the need for equipment acquisition and repair.
In 1969, the Higher Education Coordination Board formed a subcommittee to organize and work with communications programs in Minnesota higher-education institutions. KVSC's advisor was instrumental in developing this committee. In 1972, the HECB subcommittee was disbanded in favor of a new organization. The Assosiation of Minnesota Public and Educational Radio Stations (AMPERS), a non-profit corporation, was officially registered on July 26th, 1977. It was comprised of the same member stations that were involved in the HECB committee. KVSC is a charter member of AMPERS and two of its managers have served terms as president.
On numerous occasions throughout the 1970's, KVSC sought approval to increase its broadcast power, with the final approval coming in November of 1981. KVSC officially moved down the dial to 88.1 MHz at 6 a.m. on February 8th, 1983, and increased power to 5,200 watts. KVSC was amended to a radio class C2 operation, and licensed to operate 20 hours per day. Unfortunately, broadcast at this new level caused interference with local television reception. Experimentation with antennae filters and transmitter dampers did little to alleviate the interference problems. In early April of 1983, just over one month after the long-awaited increase, Saint Cloud State University voluntarily elected to reduce KVSC's output power to 1,300 watts until a more permanent solution to this interference could be found. Funding and permits were granted, allowing KVSC to erect a new antenna, away from the campus area (formerly located on top of Sherburne Hall).
The new transmitter site was built near the intersection of Highway 15 and Interstate-94, where high-power broadcasts would be less likely to interfere with the St. Cloud residents. The power increase was finalized on September 24th, 1992. KVSC now broadcasts with an operating power of 16,500 watts, covering a 70 mile broadcast radius with a potential audience of nearly two million listeners in the central Minnesota region.
In November 1993 KVSC's sports department adopted the policy of not broadcasting Indian team mascot names in stories and within KVSC play-by-play coverage. This policy was put in place to recognize and respect Native Americans and Indigenous people's perspective on team mascot names.
KVSC began broadcasting 24 hours a day in September of 1994. The license allows for unlimited broadcast hours, but KVSC maintains a 24-hour schedule except during semester and holiday breaks at the University. After several years of planning, KVSC began broadcasting its radio signal on the Internet in October of 1999 (this website was established in 1995). KVSC established a solid relationship with Cloudnet, a local Internet supplier. The station began with fifteen stereo Real Audio streams located at www.kvsc.org. There is now room for a great number of Internet listeners to enjoy KVSC's programming worldwide. With the introduction of KVSC on streaming audio, long-lost alumni, family and friends of the station could finally tune in regardless of where in the world they may be.
KVSC's programming format has not always featured alternative and progressive music. For a brief period, starting in June of 1984, student directors elected to change KVSC to a Top 40 "hit radio" format. During this period, KVSC lost its unique listener appeal. The programming was similar to most other Top 40 formats, and the program quality was considered poor. In the spring of 1985, university administration made the decision to override the student directors' decision and change KVSC's format back to the alternative and progressive format for which it is best known.
During the summer of 1986, the university administration approved the institution of KVSC's first full-time paid staff position. Kevin Ridley (known as Captain Science on the air) was a graduate of the Mass Communications program and long-time KVSC staff member. He took on the position of Station Manager, acting as a full-time liaison between the university administration and the KVSC staff and student directors. Jo McMullen-Boyer, also a graduate of the Mass Communications program at SCSU, currently holds the position of Station Manager.
In September 2005 the university supports the funding of a second full-time radio professional. Jim Gray is hired as the Director of Operations to oversee technology and engineering, support student leaders and general station operations. KVSC also has two graduate student positions appointed annually to assist with station operations.KVSC operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In its role as Your Sound Alternative (an official slogan since 1983), KVSC provides programming which is unique within its market. KVSC has received acclaim for outstanding efforts in the areas of public affairs, programming, news and sports coverage, pre-produced features and live music coverage. The station is embracing technology developments (Digital, Internet, etc.) and who knows what the future will hold for 88.1FM.
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