PITTSBURG — Frank Baker, the original manager of KRPS Radio, returned to Pittsburg State University Thursday to celebrate the station’s 30-year anniversary.
Established in April 1988, the station covers about a 100-mile radius from Pittsburg. Baker worked closely with key administrators at PSU to create the station.
“I think at the time there were some people who were familiar with public radio, but a lot more people who weren’t,” Baker said. “One time I was out on the tower and one guy pulled up his car and said ‘what kind of stuff are you going to be broadcasting,’ I told him ‘classical music,’ and he told me ‘what a waste of airspace!’”
Baker said interest generated before the station went on the air, having raised about $200,000.
“The main two things the station was founded on was to provide audiences with things they weren’t going to find anywhere else — National Public Radio news and classical music, and KRPS still carries a significant amount of both of those,” General Manager Tim Metcalf said. “Folks who crave the local information and that personal touch that a warm human voice can provide — I think that’s why people still tune in to public radio stations.”
This anniversary coincides with the 50th anniversary of Baker’s graduation from PSU. As such, he will be inducted into the university’s Half Century Club Friday.
“It’s a little mind-boggling coming back to PSU because my wife and I were talking and when we think about the year we graduated until KRPS went on air, it seems like that was a long, long time ago, but the 30 years from the station to now feels like it went by so fast,” Baker said. “I’m very impressed with all of the expansion PSU has done — so many fantastic structures, and of course, the town itself seems fairly vibrant at this point, too.”
— Brandon Schmitz is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com.