The 1950’s: CSU Explores Radio Opportunities

The 1950’s was a time of change for the university, such as the expansion of the school, the name change from Colorado A&M to Colorado State University, and the exploration of a student radio station. The university felt radio would be a beneficial learning opportunity to students involved in drama, speech, or music and provide campus news, publicity for clubs and organizations, and music, which would result in a more unified student body.

The biggest issue that CSU faced in building the station was the decision between FM, AM, or a carrier-current frequency. The problem with AM radio is that it tends to be vulnerable to static while transmitting. But in the 1930’s frequency modulation (FM radio) was invented, which produced a higher frequency transmission than AM, so the sound quality is stronger. Carrier-current transmission uses low power radio signals that transmit through pre-existing electrical wiring such as a telephone line.

Since carrier-current only cover a small geographic area, it had minimal cost to CSU and was more accessible than AM or FM, making it a popular choice for a campus wide college radio stations. The University of Denver, Colorado College, University of Colorado, and Colorado School of Mines all had radio stations, so CSU was attracted to the idea that a radio station would increase the popularity of the school and create a more interconnected community.