Still working...

Kampus Radio for the University of Iowa
1979 audio documentary
Written and produced by Dennis Green

My radio career began at the University of Iowa in 1978 when I attended a meeting about “bringing back” KRUI, the campus radio station which had been off the air for two years after a funding spat. A year later, I was the station’s general manager. Many of the DJs and staff I worked with would go on to have successful careers in a variety of fields, including Judge Sean McPartland, UI Communications ace Tom Moore, DJ-turned teacher Bob Wagner, and my colleague for 25 years at KCCK, Bob Stewart.

Our time was merely prologue, as the true impact of KRUI would come a few years later when the station was able to leave carrier-current* behind and go on the air as a non-commercial FM. The station just celebrated its 40th anniversary as an over-the-air station. Those who followed us have a lot to be proud of as the station continues to do well in the Iowa City market and to launch successful careers.

In 1979, as a class project, I produced an audio documentary detailing the history of KRUI up that point. There is a wealth of documentation of the on-air era but this may be one of the few artifacts the pre-FM era. At the time I turned the project in, the station was planning to transition from AM to Cable FM, but a University plan to wire all the dorms for cable was scuttled by Richard Turner, a former Iowa Attorney General who thought it was frivolous. Good thing he wasn’t around in the 90s or UI internet access would have been set back by a decade.


The documentary is very much a product of a nineteen-year-old who thought he knew way more than he actually did about radio, production, and well… everything else. It’s full of unlicensed music, audible breaths, and loose edits, not to mention wild speculation about the history of the KQWD of the Sixties. Listen with a kind heart.


*carrier current is a semi-closed circuit broadcast system where a low-power transmitter sends its signals through the electrical wiring of a building, such as a dormitory.

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts