Almost 50 years ago, on Oct. 1, 1962, KUAC-FM 104.7 signed on the air, broadcasting from Constitution Hall on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As the strains of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto filled the airwaves, local residents heard a new voice in the wilderness allowing Fairbanks to listen in on the rest of the world.
Just nine years later, before the end of 1971, KUAC-TV 9 signed on the air between the hours of 5 and 10 p.m. each evening, introducing Alaskans to Big Bird and his pals from Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, William F. Buckley’s Firing Line and Masterpiece Theatre, opening a window onto the world.
Following in the Alaskan tradition, both KUAC-FM and KUAC-TV were the first public radio and television stations in the 49th state. They were established so that Alaskans would have access to the same opportunities as other Americans. Connecting Alaska to the world was a challenge for broadcasters in those days. Over the years, many people have given their best efforts, their volunteer time, and their financial support to make it happen.
More than 40 years later, much has changed. However the core purpose remains the same: Improving lives through broadcasting.
Today, KUAC-FM 89.9 broadcasts at 38 kW from Ester Dome near Fairbanks and is heard on translators throughout interior Alaska. KUAC FM is also a member of Community Radio of Alaska with individual programs repeated around the state via satellite.
KUAC-TV 9 broadcasts at 47 kW from Bender Mountain and is also seen on translators and cable systems statewide as the programming center for AlaskaOne Public Television. On June 1, 2004 KUAC-DT (digital television) began broadcasting the state’s first High Definition Public Television service 24 hours each day. Digital Television presents even greater opportunities for service to Alaskans.