50 Years Of Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming Public Radio celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016. In 1966, students and staff in the Student Union gathered together to sign an application to become, KUWR, Wyoming's "Educational FM Station". Shortly thereafter Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act creating National Public Radio, of which Wyoming Public Radio would become a member.

This was the roaring 60's, time of innovation, stereophonic audio technology and man's first trip to the moon. Then came the 1970s, when Wyoming Public Radio launched each broadcast day with the song of a meadowlark, Wyoming's State Bird, the 1980s the early broadcasts of Representative Dick Cheney and Senator Alan Simpson, as well as the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The 1990s witnessed national media descending upon Wyoming following the murder of Matthew Shepard. The new millennium introduced mobile radio technology and radio signals through cell phones. What do you remember best from Wyoming Public Radio airwaves?

Listeners, community leaders, city and county officials, Wyoming celebrities, and all friends of our station shared their testimonial, reflecting the benefits of Wyoming Public Radio. Memories were also shared on social media with the hashtag #WPRat50. We look forward to sharing more history, milestones, and future anniversaries.  

A selection of testimonials from Wyoming listeners:

Glance at snapshots of Wyoming Public Radio's early years on our interactive 50th timeline. 

Ways to Connect

Patrick Crow - Newcastle, WY

Feb 18, 2020

Pat has loved WPR since he served as a newscaster for the station in 1968. He loves how the once small station on the University of Wyoming campus has grown into a statewide media source. 

Bob Austin

Alpine resident, Bob Austin, recalls the early years of Wyoming Public Radio (KUWR) where he served as Program Manager and hosted both a classical music and a jazz program with reel to reel tape machines and turntables. (1967-68)

Ron McIntosh - Laramie, WY

Apr 5, 2018

Ron McIntosh, a Laramie artist, recalls his music show, Night Waves, that he hosted on Wyoming Public Radio in 1985.

Rebecca Martinez Fitzgerald - WUNC ME Producer & Former WPR Reporter

Mar 31, 2017
Rebecca Martinez

Hi, WPR Team!

I had the wonderful privilege of working in the newsroom from 2011-2013. I was also there for one of the early Pet Wednesday pledge drive promotions. It was so much fun to hear how excited the listeners got about shout-outs for their cats and dogs (and sheep and horses and goats and chickens and iguanas)! The News team even dressed up as animals once!

Ken Bader - Former KUWR Director of Programming

Jan 30, 2017
Ken Bader

 

I was KUWR's Director of Programming from 1977-78. During my tenure, KUWR became a 50,000-watt NPR affiliate. Mick McLean was in charge of news, Curt Snook programmed classical music, and John Baxter coordinated the students. Our guiding light was General Manager and public radio pioneer John McMullen, one of the coolest guys on the planet.

I went on from KUWR to be an anchor, writer, and editor for the Voice of America. I then became Senior Editor of Monitor Radio, The World, and NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.

Rev. Marilyn Engstrom - Speech Team Aired On KUWR - 1967

Sep 27, 2016
Marilyn Engstrom

This is Marilyn Engstrom. I live in Laramie, Wyoming, and I remember in the fall or in the winter of 1966-67, in that era. WPR joined with the Wyoming high school speech association and they had a radio broadcast as part of the speech team here on campus and the students that competed. We were given a piece of teletype. They had to quickly edit that news and present that along with a 5 minute commentary or editorial. It was a great fun, and I remember climbing up to the 4th floor of the Wyoming Union and getting to see the facilities and participate in that contest.

Frank Imhoff - Former KUWR News Director

Sep 22, 2016
Frank Imhoff

I was coordinator for news and public affairs for KUWR roughly during the Reagan years. I arrived in August 1980 and succeeded Abby Kendrick, who left to teach broadcast journalism at Howard University. John McMullen was the general manager, Mick McLean the program director, Dave Worley the chief engineer, Curt Snook the fine arts coordinator, and Tom Wilhelm was the king of bluegrass as long as I can remember.

Courtesy of the Wyoming State Archives

This week we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of Wyoming Public Radio and in that time we’ve encountered some interesting characters, dignitaries, and just plain interesting folks. One person that qualified for all three of those categories was former Governor Ed Herschler. 

Peter O'Dowd Reflects On His Start At Wyoming Public Radio

Sep 15, 2016
WBUR

  

WBUR's Peter O'Dowd wishing us a happy 50th anniversary and reflecting on his start at Wyoming Public Radio.

Wyoming Public Radio celebrates its fiftieth anniversary Wednesday, September 14th 2016. Station News Director Bob Beck joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to reflect on his time at the station, the changes that have taken place, and what the future might hold.

Al Schaake

Al Schaake served as KUWR Sports Director & Reporter (1975-1977).

Al Schaake visits Wyoming Public Radio in September 2016, forty years after his radio coverage of the Fiesta Bowl - UW against the Air Force Falcons, and recalls the cold winters on UW's Campus.

UW Archives

Don Woods served as the Chief Engineer and Morning Host for KUWR   (1984-2007). 

When I arrived in October 1984, the drives were once a year. My first two years at WPR (84-86) I did not participate in the fund drive, for I was the Chief Engineer and only air staff and students took part.

Will Murphy

I miss my time at KUWR, working with Frank Imhoff, Don Woods, Charles Pelkey, Lee Christian, and Audrey Waldock. There was Pete Buchin the opera guy, and Tom Wilhelm with “Ranch Breakfast,” amazing even back then, Chris Heck and Dave Worley, also a few of my favorite KUWR-ers, and Marci, the Morning Edition host.

Pat Wolfinbarger, Designer Of WPR's First Website

Mar 9, 2016
Pat Wolfinbarger

The First WPR Website

As Wyoming Public Radio, i.e. Wyoming Public Media, celebrates its 50th anniversary, it has been involved with the ever changing online world for more than a third of its existence.

Public Radio, KUWR, first developed a website in 1997-98. It was created by Grafikat Design Company. It was a simple site, like many at the time, featuring links to programming information, weather and road condition, the University of Wyoming, and most importantly, membership pledge and associated gift levels.

Jim Kearns

Matt Mead, Former Governor Of Wyoming

Jan 26, 2015
governor.wyo.gov

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso

Sep 18, 2014

Wyoming Public Radio provides high-quality, locally focused programming that isn't offered anywhere else.

With a statewide broadcast, WPR plays an important role in keeping people across the cowboy state informed on what’s going on in Wyoming and the world.

Thanks to your dedication, folks in Wyoming know they can rely on Wyoming Public Radio for news and programming that matter to their lives.

Dave Freudenthal, Former Governor Of Wyoming

Sep 11, 2014

Wyoming's Former First Lady Carol Mead

Sep 9, 2014
governor.wy.gov

Wyoming Brothers Al And Pete Simpson

Sep 8, 2014
Wyoming Public Media

Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis

Sep 4, 2014

Former Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi

Sep 4, 2014
Diana Denison

Pete and Lynn Simpson - Cody WY

Feb 19, 2014
www.laramieboomerang.com

This is Pete and this is Lynn Simpson.

Lynn: With Wyoming Public Radio we can participate as members of the world, as members of our nation. We can be informed; we have access, what is happening in our lives as Americans.

Pete: It isn’t shrill, it’s reasonable. And in a world of shrillness and sharpness and sound-bites, point is there’s language. There’s depth, there’s reason. This station, this connection, does not abandon reason or thoughtful consideration.

This is Pete and this is Lynn Simpson.