KCUR 89.3 is the flagship NPR station in the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is a service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and broadcasts at 89.3 MHz with an ERP of 100,000 watts and covers a 90-mile radius in Northwestern Missouri and Northeastern Kansas.

CityKansas City, Missouri
Broadcast areaKansas City, Missouri-Kansas
BrandingKCUR 89.3
Frequency89.3 MHz
First air dateOctober 21, 1957
FormatPublic radio
ERP100,000 watts
HAAT250 meters (820 ft)
Facility ID14738
Transmitter coordinates39°4′59.00″N 94°28′49.00″W
Callsign meaningKansas City University Radio
AffiliationsNational Public Radio
Public Radio International
American Public Media
OwnerUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City
(The Curators of the University of Missouri)
WebcastListen Live


In the spring of 1956, C.J. Stevens, then Director of Radio and TV at the University of Kansas City (forerunner of UMKC), submitted a budget request for the establishment and operation of an educational FM radio station. This request was turned down. Stevens and Sam Scott then decided to raise money outside the university and, with the approval of then President McGrath, a modest fundraising campaign was undertaken and a separate FM fund was established.

KCUR began broadcasting on October 21, 1957 from the third floor of Scofield Hall with a signal range of four miles, two full-time employees and a budget of $15,000 from the University. Wiring and setup of the station was done by student volunteers, including some from Rockhurst (Richard J. Allen and Gary Labowitz, who was an announcer/engineer the first two years). KCUR was the first university licensed educational FM station in Missouri and the second FM station in Kansas City.[1] The call letters came from the university's short name, "KCU."

In 1961, the University of Kansas City Board of Trustees decided to drop operation of KCUR from the 1962 budget along with the elimination of the intercollegiate athletic program. This was a time of financial problems for KCU, leading to its merger into the University of Missouri system a few years later. An Editorial in the Kansas City Times suggested several reasons why the university should reconsider its decision including, "In the community, it (KCUR) is a source of education, culture and pleasure."

The decision to eliminate funding for KCUR was reversed at the next meeting. In 1965 — two years after UKC became the University of Missouri-Kansas City — the station moved to 524 Pierce Street. The MU board approved purchase of $24,000 worth of transmitter equipment that more than doubled the station's coverage area, boosting its broadcasting power to 40,000 watts.

In 1970, KCUR was awarded a grant of $7,500 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for Community Service.[2] A year later, it became a charter member of NPR. In 1976, KCUR-FM moved to 5327 Holmes and the signal was expanded to 100,000 watts.

In 1985, KCUR moved to its current location in the Student Services Building at 4825 Troost. Over the next few years, the public radio programming was streamlined and most of the volunteers were either eliminated from on-air responsibilities or became employees of KCUR. The station began broadcasting 24 hours a day with the BBC World Service being heard in the overnight hours.

In 1992, national and local news programming was added to the broadcast schedule, eliminating classical music during the day. These changes along with more sophisticated fundraising success enabled the station to increase its listening audience and local news staff.

On August 16, 2019, KCUR announced it had agreed to purchase KWJC (91.9 FM) from William Jewell College in suburban Liberty, Missouri for $2 million.[3] When the sale is completed in the Spring of 2020, KCUR will eliminate its 3 hour weeknight block of Classical Music and turn the 91.9 frequency into a full time Classical station.


KCUR 89.3 broadcasts 24 hours a day. The station airs a wide range of national and international (NPR, PRI, BBC, APM) news, entertainment, and music programming. It's also home to several locally produced and hosted news and music programs. KCUR is the lead station for the Kansas News Service.

Central Standard is a one-hour program, hosted by Gina Kaufmann. A popular co-host of The Walt Bodine Show from 2008 to 2010, Kaufmann returned to KCUR in March 2014 [4] as the host of Central Standard, which airs Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. The show "explores what really matters to the people in the Kansas City area. We tell the stories of our city and region from the bottom up and through the perspective of individuals. We are an inclusive forum that explores art, ideas and how the news affects lives and communities."

Up to Date is a one-hour public affairs/talk show featuring newsmakers of the Kansas City community. It airs Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. Host Steve Kraske, a political correspondent for The Kansas City Star brings pressing issues, both local and national, to the table including politics, economics, entertainment and social points of view.

The station also features diverse local music programs, including The Fish Fry, Cyprus Avenue, and Night Tides.

Many of KCUR's programs are streamed live at KCUR.org or available as archives and podcasts.

See also


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