KMSU celebrates 60 years on-air with new app

Celebrating 60 years on air, KMSU launched a new app that allows users to listen to their favorite shows on demand. 

First licensed in 1963, KMSU is one of Minnesota’s oldest, non-commercial and educational FM stations. Starting out operating at 10-watts, the station has grown  into a 20,000-watt station that can be heard across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

The station grew in popularity during its first year when KMSU became the first station in the U.S. to provide Russian language lessons over the air.

Jan. 7, 1963, was its first broadcast under John Hodowanic, who was known for going above and beyond to make the station a success, according to a former student worker.

Dwayne Megaw, general manager at KMSU, hopes to make the same impact as they branch out into the multimedia space with their new app.

“The other piece was getting things available as an on-demand option,” Megaw said. “We know consumers want to consume content on their schedule, not just when we happen to be playing it over the radio.”

All of KMSU’s shows are now listenable on demand anytime, anywhere and live inside your pocket. The app has been in the works for the past year, ultimately making it a possibility after reaching their pledge drive goal.

Equipped with a variety of shows with various topics, students are able to tune in at KMSU and host a show of their own every week. 

“Check out Radio a la Mav because that’s students. And if you like what you do, they can come be a part of a show like that,” Megaw said.

However, KMSU is not like your typical station playing the top hits on repeat. 

“If you want to listen to hits, you don’t listen to us,” Karen Wright, operations director and host of Minnesota Mornings at KMSU, said. 

“For example, I’m talking about music because we play everything. One hour you could be listening to reggae, the next you could have folk music and the next you might have local artists.”

Regarding the future of radio, Wright — who has worked for KMSU for 18 years — said she thinks the new app is a step in the right direction.

“It’s gonna be more podcasting, more on demand, which is what I think the future will be and what’s happening with everything now,” Wright said. “I think it’s going to be more of a niche and local programming and student-focused because there’s so much out there with all the digital varieties.”

Header photo: Karen Wright (right) hosts Minnesota Mornings at KMSU. After 60 years on air, an app launched to let users listen to their favorite shows. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Julia Lin at

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