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College Radio History Lesson: KUOI’s 1945 beginnings at University of Idaho

KUOI logo


I’ve spent the past through days digging through college radio history artifacts and it’s been inspiring to read about the passion and energy that has gone into building radio stations on campuses across the country since the 1920s.

University of Idaho’s free form college radio station, KUOI, started up in 1945 and was a descendent of earlier amateur radio activities on campus. I just rediscovered an amazing, lengthy (with 21 parts) “uncondensed history” of the station that’s located on the KUOI website. It chronicles every last detail of the station’s history and includes some incredible photos, including one of the KUOI van in the 1970s. Part of the story goes:

“KUOI began as an engineering project in the attic of the old Electrical Engineering Annex Building, approximately where the parking lot to the present day Home Economics Building is located. Although certain icons can mean different things to different people, if a picture of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney can be drawn in one’s mind, an idea of how KUOI was put together might be formed. With equipment borrowed from the NROTC, the university and other individuals, the ‘Voice of the Vandals’ throbbed out over the airwaves with the whopping power of two watts.”

For those with a shorter attention span, a condensed version of KUOI’s history can be found here. I am always thrilled to see stations that take the time to document their stories, as there aren’t enough of these histories out there. For a bit more on KUOI, take a look at my Spinning Indie 50 State Tour stop from 2010.


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