By Sarah Newberry / Staff Writer
With small beginnings on Sept. 11, 1972, run by students out of the library, Radio Kansas has grown into something more significant today.
It ran on the frequency of 90.1 FM, and eventually, permission was granted to move to Hutchinson Community College’s Lockman Hall.
Today, Radio Kansas reaches a good portion of Kansas, playing classical music. The building that holds Radio Kansas today used to be dormitories for the nurses who staffed the hospital that used to be close by where they are now. Five years later, they came across the building and convinced HutchCC for the use of it to get more funding.
Radio Kansas a member of National Public Radio, and is government- and state-funded but is also listener supported, making the station one of the few that doesn’t have advertisements.
Although Ken Baker, Radio Kansas General Manager, has not always been a part of Radio Kansas, he enjoys his job. Baker started at the station when Radio Kansas was 3-years old, and while he was a HutchCC student. He finished his degree and returned.
What drew him into working at the radio station was the music that they played. Growing up, Baker had a collection of classical records in his household.
“No record collection is ever entirely complete,” Baker said.
That led him to listen to the radio, and he tuned in to 90.1 FM.
“I heard classical music, and I knew that was a station I wanted to hear more from,” Baker said.
Radio Kansas starts the day with “Morning Edition”, and then has different shows after that, and ends the day with music.
That is how weekdays begin. On weekends, the day starts with the news. Geralyn Smith, one of the people who host some of the station’s shows and a Radio Kansas Operations Director, enjoys her job as well. How she started working at the station was as an ordinary listener to the station. Smith accidentally came across one of their shows one evening called “Night Crossings” and was hooked after a few weeks.
She became an avid listener of the show, and that’s how she came across the job opportunity, as Radio Kansas was looking for someone to host “Night Crossings”.
“No way, I thought, that’s my favorite show,” Smith said.
JD Hershberger, Radio Kansas Promotions Director, said he enjoys his job there as well.
Radio Kansas offers a wide variety of programs aside from classical music. It wants to serve the general public by doing that.
The Hutchinson station, 90.1 FM, reaches far and wide, from north of Salina, to Great Bend to the west, to El Dorado to the east, to the Oklahoma border.