On Oct. 1, 1962, KUAC-FM 104.7 signed on the air, broadcasting from Constitution Hall on the campus of the University of Alaska. 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.
Nine years later, 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.
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. Since the beginning, many people have given their best efforts, their volunteer time, and their financial support to make it possible.
Over the last decades, much has changed. However, the core purpose remains the same: Improving lives through broadcasting. Today, KUAC-FM 89.9 broadcasts from the Fine Arts Complex of the University of Alaska Fairbanks at 38 kW via Ester Dome near Fairbanks. It is heard on translators throughout Interior Alaska in Nome, Tok, Eagle, Healy, Nenana, Delta Junction and Bettles.
KUAC-TV 9 broadcasts at 47 kW from Bender Mountain and is also seen on translators in Delta, Glennallen, Healy and Nenana and on GCI Cable and Dish. 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 with five channels of television programming (KUAC 9.1, KUAC World 9.2, KUAC Create 9.3, UAFTV 9.4, KUAC PBS Kids 9.5) and one station of audio only (KUAC1 9.6).