KGNU is an independent, noncommercial community radio station licensed in Boulder and Denver, dedicated to serving its listeners.
We seek to stimulate, educate and entertain our audience, to reflect the diversity of the local and world community, and to provide a channel for individuals, groups, issues and music that have been overlooked, suppressed or under-represented by other media. The station seeks to expand the listening audience through the excellence of its programming without compromising the principles stated here.
KGNU was founded in the mid-1970s by a group of Boulder residents intent on bringing a unique broadcasting model to the Boulder/Metro area: community-powered radio. Founders envisioned a radio station where diverse music and news could be broadcast free of commercial considerations, a station where members of the community could have in-depth discussions of local and global issues, and a station where diverse peoples could take to the airwaves to reflect community interests.
Forty years on, KGNU continues to provide mission-driven programming produced primarily by volunteers. The need for community media that provides local and community-driven perspectives is even greater in an increasingly corporate-controlled media environment.
Looking to the future, the passage of Boulder's Community, Culture, and Safety Tax ballot measure in November 2017, has set in motion a capital campaign designed to raise $1.25M over the next five years, with an equal amount to be matched by the City of Boulder. KGNU will expand the Boulder station to create a regional multicultural community media center to serve an even broader demographic.
The top six strategic goals established by KGNU's 2019-2023 plan include:
Strongly support and exemplify the spirit of community, inclusiveness, and safety in all aspects of KGNU's culture and operations.
Create an organizational structure that is agile, efficient and supports growth.
Upgrade broadcast facilities.
Provide a vibrant multicultural community media center.
Secure diverse and sustainable revenue models that predictably Increase contributed and earned revenue.
Increase civic engagement and community impact.
KGNU's programs can be summarized in five main categories:
Radio Training Programs: KGNU provides radio broadcast classes and access to recording studios and equipment, training approximately 200 people each year.
Youth Radio Training Programs: KGNU offers three core programs including: "Perspectives Radio Camp" with students ages 10-14 from Temple Grandin School in Boulder, a "Summer Radio Camp" for ages 12-19, and a "Boulder Media Gardens" radio training program for Latinx and marginalized youth, ages 13-16. Combined, these programs serve approximately 115 youth each year.
Radio Programs: KGNU provides the airwaves and support for community members to produce programming, broadcasting 18-20 hours of volunteer produced programming each day. Programming blocks include Local News & Public Affairs, Cultural & Philosophical Talk, National & International News, Eclectic Freeform Music, Local Live Performances, World Music, Reggae & Duo, Classical & Modern Composition, Hip Hop, Funk & Soul, Folk, Country & Bluegrass, Blues, Gospel & Jazz. KGNU has the ability to reach up to 2.9M people across the Front Range, and 240,000 monthly listeners.
Events: KGNU hosts a variety of events comprised of lectures, concerts, and community conversations serving approximately 2,500 Boulder residents.
Community Engagement: KGNU offers a month long exhibition opportunity for visual artists, featuring the artwork of up to six artists each year in its atrium. KGNU also offers the community room free of charge to nonprofit organizations and a variety of groups.
Examples of community-produced programming on KGNU include:
Seven community produced calendars including KGNU Presents, Concert, Bluegrass, Blues, Indian Voices, Arts and Events Calendars.
Metro Arts, a weekly magazine features interviews of visual and performing artists, book and movie reviews and other news pertinent to the arts.
Indian Voices, a weekly program of Native American news, music, and interviews, produced by award-winning Boulder resident.
Pasa La Voz, a weekly Spanish language program showcasing health, education, immigration and other social issues important to the local Spanish speaking community.
Corriente!, a weekly music program featuring current Latin/Spanish musicians from all over the world.
Connections, a Friday call-in program that features timely discussions on local issues.
The Chinese Radio Network, a weekly program of community affairs in Mandarin.
The Boulder Community Foundation organizes a monthly show focusing on local issues highlighted in its TRENDS report.
Outsources, a weekly show highlights issues facing LGBTQ people and organizations and promotes community resources.
Production of Dot Org, a bi-weekly segment features more than 200 interviews annually with nonprofit organizations.
"I've been a listener / supporter since 1997 and I'm so grateful for KGNU." -
Barbara Jo Kammer.
"KGNU is more than a radio station, they are a cast of characters I like to consider as the cool side of the family." -Aniello Sarno
"Always music to my ears!" - Dave Tamkin
"Alan Watts, every Tuesday morning -- among KGNU's many other great offerings. "
"KGNU is a fabulous resource in our community." Tina Walker
"I love the alternative perspectives KGNU brings to the news." - Mandy Walker
"Saturday on KGNU is the best radio day on Earth." - Jeff Rose
"African Roots just might be the best radio show I've heard in a long time. Thanks for sharing the music of Africa this Saturday around 5:00 PM. Cheers" - Brian Plavnicky
"Hands-down the best Independent radio station in Colorado. Do yourself a favor and tune in!" - Hannah Leigh Myers
"Thank you KGNU for you for live streaming Rockygrass festival it is a true celebration! You are a magical asset to our community/ and the music listening public all over the world. Love it that I can listen via the radio or the internet. The Rockygrass broadcast's stories and Music are so inspiring, and the tales of re-birth of Planetbluegrass's renewed landscape after the #COflood13 so profound and real, I shed several tears of joy. Thank you." - Tara Doran
"An eclectic mix of commercial-free music, Local/international news and informational radio. There's nothing quite like it around, and it's an honor to be a part of the KGNU family!!" - Juliette Laurel Strauss
"Great station and easy to navigate [online] with nearly all shows in an easy to download format." - Bret Bartlo
"What an honor to be producing shows on KGNU. It's about the community." - Miriam Mimi Schiff
"Still listening from Vermont! Favorites are Democracy Now, Duncan Campbell, Honky Tonk Heros, BBC, Birgit Mars, Michael Toms." - Liza Cabot-Case
"Thankful for the access to alternative sources of both news and music." - Erin Hamilton
"Great station! Was a volunteer programmer there in the '70s."- Irene Hamilton
"Unpurchased media rocks!"- Vrnda Noel
"All the latest news and greatest music!!"
"Imagine life without KGNU on the airwaves. Thank you, KGNU "- Sara Markay
"Best Community Radio Ever!" - Francis Nieve Blanca
KGNU is Award-Winning:
In May 2019, KGNU was awarded the 2019 Recycle Colorado award for Outstanding Outreach from Recycle Colorado. This award is given to a media outlet that in the past year has worked to promote recycling, composting, or waste reduction in Colorado.
In June 2019, KGNU received two awards from the Public Radio News Directors Inc., (PRNDI). Each year, PRNDI honors the best work being done by local public and community radio stations. In Division C (stations with small newsrooms) KGNU won the first place award in "Best Call-in Program" category for Designed For The Dump: Earth Day Special that aired on April 18, 2018, as part of our year-long zero waste series thanks to funding made possible by Boulder County and Zero Waste Funding. The program was focused on electronic waste the fastest growing waste stream, specifically what happens when electronics are discarded and to encourage the public to recycle and fix electronics instead.
In 2016, KGNU received a first-place award at the annual national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) ceremony in St. Louis, Missouri last month for its Call-in Program, "What Happens to our Bodies After Death."
KGNU was selected as "Diverse Radio" - Best of Boulder - 2016! "The best part about the radio is that when you stop liking something, be it a song or a talking head, you can just turn the dial. But, our favorite radio stations rarely beckon us to do so, and Boulder's KGNU is a station that's hard to turn off. It's likely you've found yourself parked outside your house waiting for an engrossing segment to wrap up before you go inside. Or maybe you turn to it for world-class, no-spin news. Or maybe it's the music and arts features you like. Whatever it is, there's no denying KGNU's diversity, and that's why it's one of our favorites."