Beginning in 1973, the University of Arkansas had a student radio station known as KUAF, broadcasting at 88.9FM. In 1986, however, KUAF changed their format to National Public Radio, gaining a wide following, but at a loss of student input.
After three years of listening to talk radio, students hatched a plan in 1989 to form KRFA, based on the college radio format. But the “broadcasting” was done via cable and carrier current, available to on-campus facilities only. In the spring of 1994 KRFA disbanded.
That fall, KRZR was formed as a student organization with the goal of creating an FM station. A consulting engineer was hired to do a frequency check for a 500 watt station at 90.1FM. In the spring of 1996, a communications lawyer was hired to complete the FCC application for 90.1FM. The American Family Association (AFA), dedicated to buying up radio frequencies, also filed for 90.1FM. Subsequently, KRZR filed for 88.3FM; so did the AFA.
After several months, the AFA and the University of Arkansas came to a settlement and the student radio station, rechristened KXUA, was given 88.3FM.
In the spring of 1999, the Media Board accepted the student radio station as a part of their organization, among the ranks of the Arkansas Traveler (the student newspaper), the Razorback Yearbook, and UATV.
On April 1st, 2000, after five years of hard work, KXUA finally began broadcasting. In the spirit of April Fool’s Day, our first listeners were led to believe that, due to licensing restrictions, we weren’t allowed to play music. So, for that one infamous day of broadcasting, the DJs played nothing but political speeches. Since that day, not a day goes by that is not filled with music on KXUA 88.3FM.
Fast forward 20 years later, KXUA finally moved out of the original studio on the 6th floor of the Student Union to the 2nd floor of Kimpel Hall. Our new space features a live studio, production studio, and office with brand new equipment. While this year has seen many challenges, we are excited to finally go live after a summer hiatus. KXUA is following strict COVID-19 precautions to ensure our DJs stay safe and practice social distancing.