| May 22, 1978|
| 4,000 watts|
FM: 88.5 MHz, AM: 1390 kHz
Boulder Community Broadcast Association, Inc
Independent Community Radio
Public Radio International, Pacifica Foundation, BBC World Service
KGNU (1390 AM) & KGNU-FM (88.5 FM) are a pair of community radio stations for Boulder and Denver, Colorado. KGNU is owned by Boulder Community Broadcast Association, Inc.
KGNU's programming follows a variety radio format, featuring a mix of music, news and information. Local shows are hosted by volunteers. The station also carries syndicated programs distributed by Public Radio International, Pacifica Radio and BBC World Service.
The station has four full-time staff members, five part-time staff members, and scores of volunteers who produce and host shows, and assist in the station's operations. As of 2008, KGNU had an operating budget of $675,000, two-thirds of which was raised through listener contributions.
KGNU is a member of the Grassroots Radio Coalition. The station helped found the coalition in 1996 out of its commitment to a community radio model based on volunteers, access to the airwaves and alternative programming.
The idea for starting KGNU stemmed from a class in 1973 at the Boulder Free School called "A Desperate (or Last Ditch) Attempt to Start a Radio Station". In 1975, several members of the class formed a community radio broadcast association as a nonprofit corporation and applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for an educational broadcast license. KGNU went on the air at 88.5 FM with a 1300 watt transmitter on May 22, 1978.
In 2004, the station raised $1.2 million to acquire a frequency in Denver, which at the time had eight radio stations owned by media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications, ten by religious broadcasters, but no community radio stations. On August 29, 2004, KGNU acquired an AM station at 1390 kHz founded in 1954 as KFML. In 2006, KGNU constructed a studio at its Denver home at 7th Avenue & Kalamath Street in a building shared with the Open Media Foundation, making access to the KGNU airwaves easier for volunteers in the Denver area. By the Summer of 2009, nearly 25% of KGNU's programming was originating from volunteer producers in the metro area through the Denver studio.
In the summer of 2010, KGNU-FM was granted permission to increase its FM transmitter power to 4,000 watts ERP. KGNU operates at 5,000 watts by day but must reduce power to 139 watts at night to protect other radio stations on 1390 kHz. The AM transmitter is in Englewood, Colorado off South Wyandott Street. The FM transmitter is in Louisville, Colorado near the Louisville Reservoir, on a tower 213 feet (65 meters) HAAT. KGNU also operates a 28-watt FM translator K229AC at 93.7 MHz in Nederland, Colorado which simulcasts KGNU-FM.