Infobox Radio station
name = WKCR-FM

city = New York, New York
area = New York college
slogan =
branding = "The Original FM 89.9"
frequency = 89.9 MHz
repeater =
airdate = February 24, 1941
share =
share as of =
share source =
format = College Radio
power =
erp = 630 watts
haat = 433.0 meters
class = B1
facility_id = 68270
coordinates = coord|40|42|43.00|N| 74|0|49.00|W|region:US_type:city
callsign_meaning = King's Crown Radio (Columbia Univ [ cite web|url=http://www.oldradio.com/archives/nelson/origins.call-list.html |title=Call Letter Origins |work=Radio History on the Web ]
former_callsigns =
owner = Columbia University
licensee =
sister_stations =
webcast = [http://kanga.college.columbia.edu:8000/listen.pls Listen LIve]
website = [http://www.wkcr.org wkcr.org]
affiliations =

WKCR-FM (89.9 FM). Licensed to New York, New York, USA, the radio station serves the New York area. The station is currently owned by Trustees of Columbia University in New York. [ cite web|url=http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/fmq?call=WKCR-FM |title=WKCR-FM Facility Record |work=United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division ]


What is now known as WKCR-FM originated in the early part of the twentieth century as the Columbia University Radio Club (CURC). An exact date of origin is not known, but documentation of the CURC as an on-going organization exists as early as 1936. The club was not a radio station as we know it, but rather an organization concerned with the technology of radio communications. The group shared a prestigious association with Major Edwin Armstrong (E '13), the man who invented FM broadcast technology. This association accounts for the marginally accurate phrase, "The Original FM" that one will often hear alongside the WKCR call letters.

In 1939, Major Armstrong turned his attentions towards commercial broadcasting. This spurred the CURC to shift from a club concerned with radio technology to a de facto radio station that provided broadcasts to the campus. It was in these early days of radio that the FCC granted the station its license, on October 10, 1941.

For the next ten to twenty years, WKCR-FM functioned as an intellectual radio station. Programming was largely Columbia classroom events, classical music, and broadcasts from the United Nations. After the student uprising of 1968, this format changed. The station shifted its emphasis from being an illustration of the university to presenting commercially inviable programming to the New York metropolitan area. Jazz became the core of this broadcast approach, which is neatly summarized in the slogan, "The Alternative." The descriptions of individual departments contain information about WKCR's concept of alternative programming.

In the late 70s, under the direction of Tim Page, the station presented the radio premieres of several leading minimalist compositions, including Philip Glass's "Einstein on the Beach" and Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians." It was the first station in the country to pay attention to this important and eventually very popular form of avant-garde music. Page also produced a benefit concert for the station at Carnegie Hall, with appearances by Reich, Glass, John Cale and David Bowie, among many others.

In 1977, the station became the first radio (or television) station to transmit from the antenna atop the World Trade Center, having previously broadcast from an antenna atop the DuMont Building, a 42-story structure at 515 Madison Avenue. [Fraser, C. Gerald. [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50B1FF8345D167493C2AA178CD85F438785F9 "WKCR Will Be the First Station To Transmit From Trade Center"] , "The New York Times", July 30, 1977. Accessed September 27, 2008.]


External links

*FM station data|WKCR

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