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WNUR (Radio station : Evanston, Ill.)



On May 8, 1950, Northwestern University radio station WNUR-FM made its first radio broadcast on a ten-watt transmitter to a listening area that included parts of Chicago and Skokie, Illinois. By the mid-1990s the station had a staff of two hundred and fifty students and has been ranked consistently as one of the best college radio stations in the United States.

Northwestern established the station to meet four objectives. On the most basic level, WNUR-FM was initiated to give practical broadcasting experience to students. As a noncommercial station, its second objective was to experiment freely with innovative public service and adult education programming. Its third purpose was to provide an easily accessible outlet for the expression of ideas and information emanating from the University. Finally, WNUR-FM was to offer continuous educational and entertainment programs to its audience.

Many well-known individuals were interviewed on WNUR during its early years of existence, including actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.; Governor Adlai E. Stevenson; United States senators Paul Douglas, Joseph McCarthy and Wayne Morse; entertainer Victor Borge; and Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly.

The 1960s were a time of a transition for WNUR. In 1960 a donation of $450 permitted the station to invest in new equipment and increase the power of its signal from ten to two hundred and fifty watts. Apart from the increase in broadcasting power, other things changed as well. While the station had previously broadcast relatively “mainstream” programs, its programming became more diverse and even controversial. In 1965, for example, the station broadcast American Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell's speech before the House Un-American Activities Committee of the mock Congress. The station began to experiment with innovative musical programming as well. New musical trends meant an increase in folk music programming, and, in 1965, Northwestern finally allowed WNUR-FM to play rock music.

The diversity and amount of music programming continued to expand in the 1970s. Popular, classical, and jazz still remained the staples of WNUR's broadcasts, but rock, progressive jazz, and avant-garde music shows aired more frequently. A more important change occurred in 1975 when the School of Speech allocated $75,000 to WNUR-FM for facility improvements that included general renovation, acquisition of stereo equipment, and an increase to seventy-two hundred watts of power. This meant that the radio station was now able to reach audiences as far south as Hyde Park in Chicago and as far north as Glencoe, Illinois.

Perhaps the greatest advance in WNUR's development occurred in 1994 when, after decades of minor improvements, the station received a $750,000 grant from the McCoy Foundation. After forty-four years of broadcasting from under-equipped facilities, WNUR was able to construct in Annie May Swift Hall two control rooms with studios for interviews, live performances, and on-air broadcasts. By the mid-1990s the station had a staff of two hundred and fifty students and has been ranked consistently as one of the best college radio stations in the United States.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Asher Golden Collection

Identifier: 31/6/184

The Asher Golden Collection contains 29 audiocassette recordings and a small amount of paper documents from Northwestern University’s 1995-1997 football seasons. A sports reporter for Northwestern’s WNUR radio station, Golden covered Wildcat football between 1995 and the January 1, 1997 Citrus Bowl.

Dates: 1995 - 1997

WNUR Audiotape Recordings

Identifier: 76/20/1

This collection includes 300 audio recordings of notable WNUR broadcasts. The topics of the recordings range from general aspects of Northwestern University life, student activities and performances, to various social and political speeches and meetings.

Dates: 1955 - 1986

Records Of WNUR-FM

Identifier: 20/60
Abstract This series consists of the records of WNUR, Northwestern University's FM radio station. The records span the period 1950-1994. The records include general policy statements, correspondence, and materials relating to public activities. The addition to the records of WNUR spans the years 1948 to 2000. The bulk of the addition contains materials relating to WNUR's 50th anniversary in 2000. This includes material directly relating to the anniversary and correspondence, memorabilia, press...
Dates: 1953-2000

Additional filters:

College radio stations 1
Football 1
Sportscasters 1
United States--Politics and government--1969-1974 1