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KSJS Celebrates 50th Anniversary

KSJS in 2009

KSJS in 2009 (Photo: J. Waits)

San Jose State University’s student radio station KSJS turned 50 yesterday. The 90.5 FM station broadcasts at 1500 watts from San Jose, California. I visited KSJS back in March, 2009 and the philosophy of the station seems largely the same today (although there have been technological advancements and KSJS now has regular online broadcasts in addition to its terrestrial signal).

KSJS mainly airs music programming and also has an active sports department. Music shows range from electronic to jazz to urban to “subversive rock” (indie, punk, hardcore, metal, pop, industrial, etc.) to the wide range of genres encompassed by the Spanish language shows under the umbrella of “alternativo en espanol.”

It’s encouraging to see that KSJS is alive and well after 50 years. The San Francisco Bay Area is lucky to have so many 50+ year old student-run radio stations. KZSU 90.1 FM (Stanford University) began as a carrier current station in 1947 and got its FM license in 1964. Radio also began at St. Mary’s College in 1947 with a campus-only station that evolved into today’s KSMC (89.5 FM and online). KFJC 89.7 FM (Foothill College) first went on the air as an FM station in 1959. KALX 90.7 FM at University of California, Berkeley began as a campus-only station in 1962 and began FM broadcasts in 1967. KSCU 103.3 FM’s history is still a bit of a mystery to me, but it’s rumored that student broadcasting has been happening at Santa Clara University for more than 50 years. Similarly, campus radio probably began at KCSF (City College of San Francisco) and at KSFS (San Francisco State University) in the 1940s or 1950s, but exact start dates are unknown.


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