KRUI Radio celebrates 30 years


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A tiny black radio in a room with walls painted turquoise and red, tucked in the corner on the third floor of the IMU, plays static and then a song from Jurassic Park.

In the adjacent room, a student broadcaster at KRUI 89.7 FM, the student-run radio station on the University of Iowa campus, is doing a segment on dinosaurs and similar creatures, interviewing an expert on alligators as part of a series on UI professors.

To some the topic might seem strange, but that is the beauty of KRUI — those who work there are free to try anything and everything.

“It’s really amazing to see students get together and be able to run a station,” General Manager of KRUI Tony Andrys said. “It’s really interesting to see the amazing things KRUI can do. There are just a bunch of students who are passionate, who want to get their message out there.”

The station is celebrating 30 years this week. Solely students and people in the community run the station. Although student-run radio on campus began in 1952, KRUI has been broadcasting from 89.7 FM for three decades — after receiving its noncommercial license.

The day of celebration, April 18, will be marked with a free concert at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., featuring musicians Jack Lion and Annalibera. An open house will be hosted the following day at KRUI Studios. The milestone is also being recognized by a special broadcast modeled after the first one in 1984, featuring prominent community members such as Gov. Terry Branstad and various UI leaders.

“The way I see it is it's a really interesting way to encapsulate our history,” Andrys said. “That first broadcast was really important to us … Thirty years ago they made sure [KRUI would stay] and it's a really cool piece of history.”

Two students involved in KRUI hold up a sticker recognizing the new station. The photo was taken in 1984, when the station first got on 89.7 FM. (Contributed by Emily Woodbury)

The station has also called on alumni to share their stories in an effort to compile a book of information on the history and members of KRUI for the past 30 years.

“It’s interesting to us because we like to know interesting stories, we want to know how KRUI has impacted the lives of our alumni,” Andrys said. “It shows that KRUI can get you somewhere … the alumni stories are kind of the proof.”

One past staff member who has continued to be involved in the station is Emily Woodbury. Woodbury is now a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio and credits her time at KRUI for sparking her passion for broadcast journalism.

Now as a member of Student Broadcasters Incorporated, Woodbury said she can see how the organization has continued to have a similar impact on other students.

“Everyone is working individually on their own projects but everyone is working as a group to develop a [good] project … and [I] don't think that has changed much over the years,” Woodbury said. “We’ve always have the same overall goals — to get the best broadcast on the air and connect the Iowa City community and the University of Iowa community.”

KRUI is the second largest student organization on campus with 200 members and it operates on a 24/7 basis. Because of this, many refer to the space as a “learning lab.”

This is something Woodbury said she hopes to see continue in the future.

“It's an experimental station, and its main goal is to bring something to the University of Iowa students and community that can’t be found anywhere else,” she said. “I’d still love to see it educate students and provide them a place to experiment and create things and develop the skills they will take with them in their lives and their careers after they leave the UI.”

The 30-year mark is a sign of the organization's success, according to advisory board member Dave Long.

“I think that just really shows how much value people find in KRUI, how much value the students find in working at KRUI,” said Dave Long, a member of the KRUI advisory board. “It’s also a testament to the passion, and time, and effort people have put in working at KRUI.”

KRUI, the student-run radio station on the University of Iowa campus, is celebrating 30 years of local broadcasting this week. Listen to David Long, who is a member of the KRUI advisory board, talk about the history of the station as well as what is planned for this week's celebration.

Multimedia compiled and edited by Lily Abromeit

KRUI Radio 30th Anniversary Party
When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Mill, 120 E. Burlington
Admission: Free

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