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-five 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 renovate 1720 14th St, Boulder to be the future home of 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 several core programs that have historically included: "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.
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:
Community produced calendars including KGNU Presents, Concert, Bluegrass, Blues, 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.
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 100 interviews annually with nonprofit organizations.