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KISU celebrates 10th birthday

May 22, 2009

KISU-FM radio, located on the campus of Idaho State University in Pocatello, will celebrate its 10th birthday on June 4. The station first signed on the air in June of 1999, broadcasting from its current location on the bottom floor of the Pond Student Union Building at ISU.

KISU general manager Jerry Miller will celebrate his 10th anniversary at KISU in November. He started just before Thanksgiving in1999, replacing Richard Hetland, the original general manager. Jerry MillerMiller said Hetland spent a couple of years at ISU getting the station put together, something he could never have done.

“My technical engineering background in radio is way short of what Richard’s was, and he did a fantastic job of getting things put together,” Miller said.

When KISU first went on the air, it only broadcast its signal at 91.1 FM at just 450 watts of power and had a very limited range and listenership.

A lot has changed since then.

“When Richard left Pocatello to move back to Arizona, KISU only had four students working here. Now we have an average of about eight or nine at any given time,” Miller said. “At first, all KISU programming came from other providers, and now we average about 20 hours of local programming a week. Also, it was about five years ago that we upped our primary transmitter power from 450-to-4500 watts, and just last year we added a translator in Idaho Falls, which has been a huge step forward for KISU, making us available there and to surrounding communities at 91.3 FM.”

Miller also pointed out that until President Arthur Vailas came to ISU, the station was not allowed to conduct any on-air fundraising, which it does now with annual spring and fall pledge drives. He says that has helped a lot.

“When I first got here our only funding source was ASISU student fees,” Miller said. “They are still our major funding resource, but over the past nine years we’ve started to build a list of businesses and organizations that like underwriting our programming, and the donations from individuals help tremendously, too. Add to that, KISU now gets a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which has also been a big help.”


More information about KISU-FM, including the station’s programming schedule, staff and underwriters is available online at www.kisu.org, which also offers a LISTEN LIVE option allowing online listening to station programming. Questions or comments about KISU can be sent to Miller at milljerr@isu.edu, or he can be reached by telephone at (208) 282-2688.


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