After 50+ years, KRNU remains pivotal in hands-on learning

· 4 min read

After 50+ years, KRNU remains pivotal in hands-on learning

KRNU Excellence Fund a beneficiary of Glow Big Red
Ryan Luetkemeyer, a sophomore from St. Louis, does the afternoon broadcast from the booth at KRNU. November 9, 2022.
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing
Ryan Luetkemeyer, a student from St. Louis, does the afternoon broadcast from the booth at KRNU Nov. 9, 2022.

Broadcasting over the airwaves and through livestreams from the second floor of Andersen Hall, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s award-winning student radio station 90.3 KRNU has provided more than 50 years of experience and opportunities for students.

Supporters looking for a way to positively impact students can donate to the KRNU Excellence Fund at any time, but can be a part of something bigger by donating during Glow Big Red — 24 Hours of Husker Giving Feb. 14-15. The first $990 dollars donated will be matched.

The station first signed on in 1970, and since then has given Nebraska students — from as early as their first week on campus — the chance to hone on-air personas, audio production skills, news and entertainment script writing, play-by-play sports broadcasting, and more.

“The station provides one of the first experiential learning opportunities in the college because KRNU symbolizes the college’s motto, which is ‘Do from Day One,’” said Rick Alloway, associate professor in broadcasting and KRNU’s general manager. “We have historically allowed students to get on the air right away. They can take a shift on-air, record a specialty program, or call play-by-play, and really start to cut their teeth in an industry they aspire to work in down the road, even before they’ve finished their first semester.”


Helen Howard, a senior journalism major from Lincoln, has been KRNU’s music director for two years, which has helped her land internships in the music industry, including one internship with a music and radio promotion firm, one with a label, and one with a magazine. She hopes to work in music promotion following graduation, something she hadn’t even considered when choosing her major.

“Even though a lot of it is virtual, I’ve been able to network with a lot of people in the business, especially with promotional companies,” Howard said. “Working for KRNU has been, by far, my favorite thing in college. It opened up a whole new part of the industry that I didn’t even know was possible. It’s made my college experience more fulfilling because I’ve taken the skills I’ve learned in school and used them to work with something I really enjoy — music.”

Howard is charged with listening to, selecting and digitally prepping new music for the station’s playlists, but KRNU also broadcasts everything from live radio shows and Husker basketball games to pre-produced news audio packages and podcasts. To make more room for student-produced content, a second livestream, KRNU2 was added in 2008.

“The station is a blank canvas, and it’s meant to be the soundtrack of campus. There are opportunities for students in all four majors to get involved,” Alloway said. “But we’re also open to all students on campus.”

Hailey Ryerson and Geoff Exstrom broadcast a Husker basketball game at Pinnacle Bank Arena February 20, 2022.
Jordan Opp | University Communication and Marketing
Hailey Ryerson and Geoff Exstrom broadcast a Husker basketball game at Pinnacle Bank Arena Feb. 20, 2022.

The kaleidoscope of opportunities gives students a chance to try new things and shape a future career.

“There are legions of people who have been through the station as part of their educational experience, and a lot of them have gone on to do very well,” Alloway said. “There are a lot of folks whose names you’d recognize who got their start at KRNU. The most gratifying part of being a teacher is seeing that experiential opportunity paying off when students are able to go out and get an internship or a job because they got that hands-on work here.”

The KRNU fund plays an important role in advancing those opportunities, by paying licensing fees for the station, purchasing updated equipment, and supporting student workers.

“We’re a non-commercial educational FM, so we can’t go sell advertising the way a commercial station can, but we still have to pay BMI, ASCAP and SoundExchange to play music,” Alloway said. “It costs a lot to run a radio station 24 hours a day, but it’s a commitment the university made back in 1970 and we take it seriously. It requires some funding, the kind of funding we get from the good folks who contribute to Glow Big Red.”

KRNU can be found on the dial at 90.3 FM, or online.

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