Ninety years ago this week, what is now KWSU – one of the oldest and largest university-owned radio stations in the U.S. – was launched on the campus of what was then Washington State College. It was called KFAE. Those call letters were changed to KWSC and then KWSU when the college became Washington State University. The station is today the flagship of Northwest Public Radio, with 18 stations and 13 translators across the Pacific Northwest.
That’s not the only bit of history associated with the station. It was in the KWSC studios that Edward R. Murrow, the father of broadcast journalism, first sat behind a microphone in what just might have been the first radio broadcasting class in the U.S.
In a telegram marking the 35th anniversary of the station, Murrow wrote, “Please don’t let anyone, repeat, anyone, tell you that radio is a declining or obsolete medium STOP In many areas, the transmission of ideas can be more effectively done by radio than by television.”
Fittingly, the station is now housed in The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, named for its most famous alumnus, who graduated eight years after the station was founded.