Below: Two of KUCR’s founding members, station manager Hans Wynholds (foreground) and engineer Bill Farmer, inside the original station building that is still in use today, c. Fall 1966. Photography by Ansel Adams.
Below: Original script for the first KUCR sign-on read by Hans Wynholds at 2pm on October 2nd, 1966.
See more at the KUCR Archives Photo Gallery
Read about some of the station’s early history at the link below:
KUCR history with photos by Bob Steubenrach, KUCR Station Manager from 1968-70
KUCR Historical Audio
To hear original audio material produced by KUCR, click here.
About the KUCR History & Archives Project
KUCR 88.3FM in Riverside, CA is a non-commercial college and community radio station that began broadcasting from the campus of the University of California, Riverside at 2pm on the afternoon of Sunday, October 2, 1966. The station serves a diverse community in the inland, southern California area and has been broadcasting from the same building and location for over forty-five years.
KUCR features a wide range of original programming produced by students, staff, faculty and alumni from UC Riverside and surrounding communities. In addition to music shows that span genres from Korean Pop (K-Pop) to Western classical, jazz, hip-hop, cumbia, gospel, reggae, dubstep, soul and funk, KUCR public affairs programming also addresses relevant subjects in fields such as anthropology, history, sociology; language arts, psychology, philosophy and the performing arts. Original KUCR programs such as Indian Time, Radio Aztlán, Auto Talk, Highlander News Room, Roundtable Roundup, Arts Alive! and Jazz Tuesday are a few examples of the original programs the station currently produces.
Producing original programming provides firsthand access and training for campus-based DJs as well as a venue for both up-and-coming and established artists and academics, both locally and around the world. KUCR is unique as a college and community radio station for the diversity of its programming and communities served as well as its nearly fifty year history.
The KUCR Radio Archives Project aims to document material related to the station’s varied history for public access with the intention of providing an important resource for those interested in the history of KUCR and the communities it serves, public broadcasting, college radio and related topics.
KUCR’s origins can be traced to a group of students who allegedly utilized a metal trashcan as an antenna to operate a pirate radio station from a dorm room in the UCR Steinbrau student housing complex in the early 1960s. These first broadcasts were primarily popular music shows hosted by student DJs using aliases.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eventually moved to have the unlicensed student-operated radio station closed down. Then-UCR Chancellor Ivan Hinderaker was approached by a group of students including Hans Wynholds and Bill Farmer, the station’s respective founding manager and chief engineer, to secure a broadcasting license and establish KUCR, originally at 88.1 on the FM dial. Chancellor Hinderaker subsequently worked with a small group of students to secure $10,000 from the UC Regents to fund a student-run station at UCR.
The Regents were reluctant to grant funding for the project in the wake of the 1965 Free Speech Movement (FSM). Stemming from student organizing efforts at UC Berkeley as well as the work of groups like the Black Panthers in Oakland, the Free Speech Movement sought to address issues like widespread socioeconomic disparity, US involvement in the Vietnam War, institutionalized racism and UC administrative attempts to curb campus-based social activism and organizing.
The FSM of 1965 instigated a period of growth in campus-based activism throughout the UC system that reflected key aspects of the ongoing Civil Rights Movement and related historical events. The UC regents feared KUCR might act as an additional outlet for proponents of the FSM, and in order to obtain funding and approval for purchase of a broadcast license Chancellor Hinderaker volunteered to take personal responsibility for the content of all future KUCR broadcasts. The UC regents eventually approved the purchase of a broadcast license for the station in early to mid 1966.
William “Bill” Elledge
One of the founding members of KUCR was William “Bill” Elledge. As an undergraduate student, Mr. Elledge began work as an engineer and programmer at KUCR in 1966 and remained with the station as chief engineer until 2009. Mr. Elledge was an integral figure at KUCR and possessed an extensive collection of material related to the station. His collection included original programming in a variety of media formats and various station ephemera dating from the mid-1960s. An avid documentarian, Mr. Elledge acted as an unofficial archivist for KUCR as well as the broader UCR community during his tenure at the station.
Mr. Elledge also worked extensively with the UCR Highlander newspaper, conducting interviews, publishing editorials and preserving decades worth of old newspapers, photographs, interview tapes and other items in his home. Mr. Elledge additionally hosted a popular classical music and commentary program that aired on KUCR from 1971 until 2008. His personal record collection is reported to have exceeded 30,000 albums by Louis Vandenberg, the current KUCR station manager who worked with Mr. Elledge for many years.
KUCR archival material includes documentation of social, cultural and political history relevant to UCR and local as well as global communities; numerous interviews and programs produced by and with people including Sterling Stuckey, Oscar Brown, Jr., Angela Davis, Alex Haley, current CA Governor Jerry Brown, Stokely Carmichael and Ray Bradbury. For nearly fifty years KUCR has acted as a vibrant community resource for information on current news, entertainment, music, arts and other cultural and social ideas and events.
Imagine if all that remained of the conversations, performances, interviews, speeches and sound bytes of the past were written transcripts, at best. The ability to record, store and replay audiovisual media is a relatively recent and significant development in human history. This phenomenon has enabled people to record and reproduce their expressions and experiences on an unprecedented level, and subsequently engage the world we inhabit with a new range of artifacts unique for their capacity to capture events and audio-visual elements in real-time.
History is inevitably lost unless people act on the imperative to preserve its myriad forms of documentation. Both determining what merits preservation and then working to do so are critical to establishing any record of human experience. Audio archives and the material they contain constitute compelling and insightful facets of human history.
Places like KUCR and community radio stations around the world not only produce but help document, preserve and share the stories that describe human experience and thought. Independent radio stations do this in a non-commercial setting which permits the creative exercise of a less regulated interstitial space for human thought to grow and expand. Spaces such as these encourage the exploration and growth of human consciousness and experience.
To date no project has sought to capture the depth and breadth of KUCR’s unique history, and this is a gap the KUCR Archives works to fill.
To find out more, donate material or otherwise get involved, please contact:
951 827 3140