Celebrating 50 years of public radio!

Ten-watt KAVS-FM (89.5) signed on at the Thief River Falls Area Vocational School in 1971, three years after Howard Rokke launched the radio announcing program. Regularly-scheduled programming began in 1972.

A move to 90.1 FM and a power increase to 1,800 watts followed in 1977. In 1983, the station’s call letters changed to KSRQ, simply because students and staff found the previous call letters difficult to say. While the letters KAVS referred to the Area Vocational School , KSRQ doesn’t actually stand for anything. The change that allowed KSRQ to become a regional community radio service occurred in 1989, when the station’s transmitter was relocated to a tall tower and effective power was increased to 24,000 watts.

Starting around 2003, the station’s management started thinking beyond the students of the Mass Communications program for talent, and the community aspect of the station started to develop. In August 2004, the station’s format changed from daily segments of country, soft rock, and metal to Active Adult Alternative, and KSRQ-FM took on the moniker Pioneer 90.1.

The Triple-A format is now carried during daytime and overnight hours. Evenings and weekends are block formatted, allowing for broadcast of volunteer-produced programming and syndicated programs.

Thanks to a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Pioneer 90.1 carries programming from National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and the Public Radio Exchange.

In 2009, Pioneer 90.1 began its digital era, with the addition of an HD digital signal. Multicasting of HD-2 and HD-3 signals began in December 2010.