About Us

microphone, studio
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State Public Radio is southern and central Idaho's nonprofit, listener-supported NPR member station, reaching the region's metropolitan and rural areas.

As the only sources of quality public radio news, classical music, jazz and unique cultural programming, our radio stations are distinct in their mission, their audience and their partnerships.

Mission Statement:

Produce, acquire and distribute distinctive programs and services that stimulate, educate, inform, and entertain those we serve using all appropriate media. Reach out to the community through strategic partnerships. Enable listeners to learn about issues and ideas that affect our communities, our nation, and our world.

Our Vision:

We will build a stronger community-centered broadcasting organization by focusing the station’s new and existing resources where our listener and membership base is the strongest. Our goal is to build a more effective service emphasizing national and local programming that deepens the relationship between us and our listeners.

Station History:

Boise State Public Radio is southern and central Idaho’s connection to NPR news programming, classical music, and jazz. The station’s 18 transmitters and translators reach about one million listeners from Boise and Twin Falls to McCall and Sun Valley.

Boise State Public Radio’s news station is KBSX 91.5 FM. Here, you’ll find NPR’s cornerstone programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered, plus fan favorites like Fresh Air, The Best of Car Talk, and This American Life. KBSX is also home to local and regionally-produced in-depth news features and interviews.

The Boise-band Sherpa stopped by the KBSU studio in 2013 for a live performance.
The Boise-band Sherpa stopped by the KBSU studio in 2013 for a live performance.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

KBSU 90.3 FM is Boise State Public Radio’s classical music service. Don’t let the name fool you, in addition to hearing world-class symphonies perform great works by composers like Mozart, Dvorak, and Bach, KBSU is also where you’ll hear jazz, folk, rock, and alternative music. KBSU 90.3 FM broadcasts nationally-distributed programs like A Prairie Home Companion, From the Top, and Mountain Stage. A handful of local hosts produce a range of music programs, from Open Range Radio and Idaho Music to Private Idaho and Shakedown Street.

Here's a meeting of Boise State's radio club back in 1965.
Here's a meeting of Boise State's radio club back in 1965.
Credit Boise State Archives

Boise State Public Radio’s journey to a robust dual-service station can be traced back to a Boise State University – then Boise Junior College – amateur radio club that began in the 1930s. By 1967, and a handful of call letters and frequencies later, the radio club had become KBSC and broadcast various programs to the campus area. In 1974, once the university changed its name to Boise State University, the radio station again changed its call letters, this time to KBSU.

Boise State Public Radio marks its inaugural year as 1976 when the station manager at the time applied to the FCC to change the station's license from an AM broadcaster to a non-commercial FM broadcaster. Broadcasts began on 90.1 FM in the fall of 1976.

By 1986, Boise State Public Radio had begun its transition from a student-run college station into a professionally-operated public radio station. The station hired its first non-student manager and secured its first Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant. In 1988, KBSU again increased its reach by growing to 19,000 watts and becoming an NPR affiliate.

Today, Boise State Public Radio’s KBSX and KBSU broadcast from 18 locations with staff headquarters in Boise. The signals can be heard in parts of eastern Oregon, most of southern and central Idaho, and northern Nevada.

Historical information in this post was researched by a Boise State University student.