KGNU (1390 AM) & KGNU-FM (88.5 FM) are a pair of community radio stations for Boulder and Denver, Colorado. KGNU is owned by Boulder Community Broadcast Association, Inc.[2]

CityBoulder, Colorado
Broadcast areaDenver-Boulder-Longmont
Frequency88.5 MHz (HD Radio)
Slogan"Independent Community Radio"
FormatCommunity Radio
AffiliationsPublic Radio International
Pacifica Radio
BBC World Service
OwnerBoulder Community Broadcast Association, Inc.
First air dateMay 22, 1978[1]
Technical information
Facility ID6512
ERP4,000 watts
HAAT65 meters
Transmitter coordinates39°59′33″N 105°9′16″W / 39.99250°N 105.15444°W / 39.99250; -105.15444Coordinates: 39°59′33″N 105°9′16″W / 39.99250°N 105.15444°W / 39.99250; -105.15444
WebcastListen Live

Programming and operationsEdit

KGNU's programming follows a variety radio format, featuring a mix of music, news and information. Local shows are hosted by volunteers. The station also carries syndicated programs distributed by Public Radio International, Pacifica Radio and BBC World Service.[2]

The station has four full-time staff members, five part-time staff members, and scores of volunteers who produce and host shows, and assist in the station's operations. As of 2008, KGNU had an operating budget of $675,000, two-thirds of which was raised through listener contributions.[3]

KGNU is a member of the Grassroots Radio Coalition.[4] The station helped found the coalition in 1996 out of its commitment to a community radio model based on volunteers, access to the airwaves and alternative programming.[5]


The idea for starting KGNU stemmed from a class in 1973 at the Boulder Free School called "A Desperate Attempt to Start an FM Radio Station For The Community Free School" [6]. The class became an official project of the Free School, and continued over several Catalogs, the group eventually forming themselves into a community nonprofit association, and soon incorporated under the name "Boulder Community Broadcast Association". The Corporation applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for an educational FM broadcast license, and, after many months of fundraising, tower and transmitter installation, and testing, KGNU went on the air at 88.5 FM with a 1,300-watt transmitter on May 22, 1978.[1] Station manager Glen Gerberg performed sign-on duties, listing the station's studio address (a cottage at the Harvest House hotel on 28th St.) and transmitter location (South Boulder Road and Colorado 42).[7]

In July 1981, the station moved to 2nd floor office space above the Aristocrat Steakhouse at Broadway and Spruce, then to 1900 Folsom in 1988. In 2001, KGNU purchased its own building at 4700 Walnut, its current home.[8][9]

In 2004, the station raised $1.2 million to acquire a frequency in Denver, which at the time had eight radio stations owned by media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications, ten by religious broadcasters, but no community radio stations. On August 29, 2004, KGNU acquired an AM station at 1390 kHz founded in 1954 as KFML. In 2006, KGNU constructed a studio at its Denver home at 7th Avenue & Kalamath Street in a building shared with the Open Media Foundation, making access to the KGNU airwaves easier for volunteers in the Denver area. By the Summer of 2009, nearly 25% of KGNU's programming was originating from volunteer producers in the metro area through the Denver studio.[2][10]

In 2018, the station's 40th anniversary was commemorated by a six-week exhibit, "Listening Together", at the Museum of Boulder.[11]

Beginning in 2019, the station embarked on a capital campaign to raise $1.25M, with an equal amount to be matched by the City of Boulder, as part of the voter-approved 2017 Community, Culture and Safety Tax. The funds will allow KGNU to expand and upgrade its Boulder and Denver studios.[12]


In the summer of 2010, KGNU-FM was granted permission to increase its FM transmitter power to 4,000 watts ERP. KGNU (AM) operates at 5,000 watts by day but must reduce power to 139 watts at night to protect other radio stations on 1390 kHz. The AM transmitter is in Englewood, Colorado off South Wyandott Street. The FM transmitter is in Louisville, Colorado near the Louisville Reservoir, on a tower 213 feet (65 meters) HAAT.[13] KGNU also operates a 28-watt FM translator K229AC at 93.7 MHz in Nederland, Colorado[14], and a 7-watt FM translator K254CH in Laporte, Colorado, which simulcasts KGNU-FM on 98.7 MHz.[15][16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b McIntosh, David. "Our History". KGNU official website. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  2. ^ a b c "About Us". KGNU official website. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  3. ^ "Our Finances". KGNU official website. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  4. ^ "Member Stations". Grassroots Radio Coalition. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  5. ^ Durlin, Marty; Melio, Cathy (2003). McCauley, Michael P.; et al. (eds.). "The Grassroots Radio Movement in the United States". Public Broadcasting and the Public Interest. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe: 252–264. ISBN 0-7656-0991-6. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  6. ^ CFS Catalog, Ssptember 1973
  7. ^ "KGNU Community Radios First Day Broadcasting at 88 5 FM". YouTube. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  8. ^ "KGNU Magazine: 40th Anniversary Issue". Issuu. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  9. ^ Roberts, Michael (15 March 2001). "The Little Station That Could". Westword. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Boulder-Based Community Radio Station KGNU to Buy Denver Signal". Democracy Now! radio interview by host Amy Goodman with organizer Kris Abrams. August 26, 2004. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  11. ^ ""Listening Together" opens at The Museum of Boulder on August 4". KGNU News. 3 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Boulder's KGNU Radio is Thriving". Boulder Daily Camera. 2019-03-27. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "K229AC-FM 93.7 MHz Radio Station Information". Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  15. ^ "KGNU 98.7 enters 2017 with new FM signal covering Fort Collins". North Forty News. 2017-01-10. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  16. ^ Udell, Erin (2017-01-06). "Boulder radio station expands reach to Fort Collins". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2019-02-21.

External linksEdit