Wildcat 91.9-FM is a non-profit, student run radio station serving Kansas State University and the city of Manhattan. Wildcat 91.9 provides original and diverse programming that aims to educate and entertain its listeners. Students are provided the unique opportunity to learn professional broadcasting skills in an engaging, hands-on environment. Wildcat 91.9 will work to foster the unique perspective and skills of all involved students. They will use these skills to positively affect the student body at Kansas State, the Manhattan community, and beyond.
Wildcat 91.9 is Kansas State University‘s campus radio station. A non commercial radio station located in Manhattan, Kansas, Wildcat 91.9 is staffed by about 100 student volunteers who gain valuable experience in all areas of radio broadcasting. It plays alternative/independent rock, hip hop, jazz, and local music and is under the jurisdiction of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
The station has been broadcasting on the FM band since spring of 1950, and from its current location in McCain 316. Previously, the station broadcast on the campus carrier current AM system, and had studios located in Nichols Gymnasium. When Nichols burned down in 1968, Wildcat 91.9 operated from temporary locations until McCain Auditorium was completed. The station still maintains studios and offices there.
Wildcat 91.9 broadcasts at 91.9 mHZ on the FM dial in and around Manhattan, KS. It can also be streamed online at wildcat919.com, or through the mobile app Radiowave, available on android and apple devices. Live requests can be made by calling (785) 532-0919. Wildcat 91.9 can also be found at: Wildcat919FM on Twitter, Wildcat919fm on Instagram, and on Facebook at Wildcat919FM.
How To Get Involved
Interested students should check out the Join Wildcat 91.9 page for more information regarding the process to become a DJ or to join the Wildcat 91.9 Executive Staff. Questions regarding student participation may be directed to:
Station Manager/Program Director: Claire Todd
Wildcat 91.9 began as an experiment on the third floor of Nichols Gymnasium in 1949. The first broadcasts began in earnest in March, but Wildcat 91.9 was a commercial station by June. Wildcat 91.9’s commercial status allowed it to be self-supporting. Instead of a tower, the station broadcast over the campus power system. Broadcasting as a wired-wireless (or carrier current) station meant the signals never went more than a few hundred feet from power lines. This was within the maximum distance allowed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). At this time, the station was a member of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System and under the direction of the Speech Department and Prof. George L. Arms.
Wildcat 91.9 initially broadcast at 560 kilocycles. At this frequency, “practically the only way to hear the station was to sit on the steps of Nichols gym with a portable radio.” The station switched to 660 kilocycles in December, 1949, which “resulted in a marked improvement in reception.”
Programming for Wildcat 91.9 in the first year went from an hour of music
at first, to about four hours of music, talk, and sports by November 2, 1949. The schedules for Wildcat 91.9 and KSAC were printed in the Kansas State Collegian. Wildcat 91.9 was on the air for 6 hours each weekday by November 20, 1950.
A television workshop established in 1948 gave radio-television students experience in another medium. Programs could be televised into two TV classrooms in Nichols Gymnasium.
Wildcat 91.9 was licensed by the FCC in November 1949, and FM broadcasts began the following spring. At least some of the new equipment was provided by U.S. Senator Arthur Capper. Wendall Wilson was the first K-State student to broadcast on Wildcat 91.9 in 1950.
The Nichols Fire
On Friday, December 13, 1968, Nichols Gymnasium was hit by arsonists. The fire “completely wiped out” Wildcat 91.9, along with the Music Department and Physical Education. The only piece of music to survive the fire was the Wabash Cannonball, which became one of K-State’s main fight songs. The Wildcat 91.9 disc jockey on the air reportedly said “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are leaving the air early.”
In 1987, Wildcat 91.9 upgraded to a 1,400 watt transmitter which is still in use today. KAKE-TV in Wichita donated a tower for the transmitter. Wildcat 91.9 purchased automation equipment in 1997 which allowed it to broadcast 24 hours per day.
Wildcat 91.9 moved into its new studio in the K-State Student Union on July 1, 2002 under the leadership of Candace Walton. The studio was fitted with all-new digital equipment. In the spring of 2013, Wildcat 91.9 was awarded 14 undergraduate radio awards, the most awarded to any institution in the state. In the fall of 2015 Wildcat 91.9 moved back to McCain due to the renovations at the K-State Student Union, which is where it remains today. On September 19 (91.9 day) Wildcat 91.9 reopened the station in the Union, where they record Open Mic, weekdays from 12-1pm.