KRFH is the student run radio station of Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. We are 70+ student Disc Jockey's keeping the dream alive of a non-commercial, free-form radio station. From 7am until 2am every day of the week, we have DJ's live in the booth pumping out constant music (both live and recorded), newscasts, public affairs programming, local sports coverage, and so much more. With so many unique personalities and formats hitting our airwaves every day, it's hard to foresee what you'll hear next on KRFH unless you check out the schedule here on our website, which is precisely why KRFH is great.
We started back in 1990 when Dr. Gary Melton and Professor Emeritus Mark Larson convinced the College Dean to fund the beginning of a student run radio station at Humboldt State. This development came following the loss of student involvement at longtime campus broadcaster KHSU as the station "reached a new plateau in its evolution". KHSU broke ties with the Speech Communication Department and became it's own independent entity under the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. While the mission of KHSU continued to grow in a different direction than students desired, it was these steps in their evolution that necessitated the need for a station managed by the students, for the students.
Since our humble beginnings in a Journalism Department basement at the Brett House on campus, there have been several very important developments in the past 25 years that have brought us to where we are today. We weren't always FM, and while we were one of the first in the country, we weren't always streaming online to the world at KRFH.net either. In fact, when we first began, we were broadcasting only on-campus through the carrier current!
From 1990 until 1997, KRFH was only accessible through special radios installed at key points on campus that were able to tap in to the telecommunications lines on campus and pick up our signal on 610AM. It was a direct and obscure connection, but there was a box in every dorm room on campus, as well as the gym, bookstore, and central eating area. KRFH was very popular. Unfortunately, as buildings were remodeled over the next decade, these radios capable of picking up our signal were phased out in all but the "The Depot", the main campus food lounge, which has not seen a renovation in close to 30 years. As such, 610AM signal can still be heard there today, and everyday! With a major remodel planned in the next year, advocates from KRFH have been attending University Center board meetings in order to encourage planners to keep the 610AM carrier current system in place, as it one of the last remaining pieces left of our early history.
In 1997, we successfully launched our internet stream. For the first time, we were now accessible outside of campus, and moreso the entire world. While we were still cutting tape and saving to floppy disks, we had made our first giant leap in to the 21st century. KRFH continued to prosper for many years until the death of the Stations Faculty Advisor, Dr. Gary Melton. Generally considered the heart, soul, and guiding light of KRFH, Dr. Melton ultimately succumbed to a long battle against terminal brain cancer in 2005. His death struck alumni and current staff to the core. Soon after, journalism professor Zoe Walrond was brought on to lead KRFH through this time of transition. For the next 5 and a half years, Zoe breathed new life in to the station, emphasizing student leadership and hard work.
In 2010, local free-form radio entrepreneur Cliff Berkowitz was brought on as the new faculty advisor for KRFH. After a long career as a consultant and on-air personality in commercial radio, Cliff moved to Humboldt County and started KHUM just over 2 decades ago. Zoe Walrond stayed as the KRFH Radio News faculty advisor, in which she spent the next few years propelling the news program to greatness before her retirement in 2013. During that time, KRFH news placed first in nationwide in many College Broadcasters Association awards categories.
In 2013, work began on acquiring a low power FM station construction permit from the FCC, a new kind of radio classification that sought to fit small stations on the dial in between big stations with the hope that this reduced cost and increased accessibility would allow previously underrepresented populations to get their voices on the air. Alex Fest, longtime KRFH DJ and general manager, spearheaded the mission to get the station on-air. The license was available to any non-profit, educational institution which had been established for 2 years; and after a long process of determining legal eligibility, the technical feasibility of the project, and finding funding to construct our transmission, we received our official construction permit.
Orders for equipment were sent out right away and work began in February 2014. By April of the same year, with help from our friends at KHSU, the President's Office, Telecommunications, Information Technologies, Six Rivers Communications, and Facilities Management, we had installed our antenna on the top of the Van Duzer Theatre building on campus and configured the fiber optic link between our studio in Gist Hall and the KHSU equipment rack across the street. After the quick flip of a switch, our 100 watt broadcast on 105.1 FM was finally a reality! Our official launch date was April 18th, 2014 at 5pm. You can now pick up KRFH on 105.1 FM all over Arcata as well as most of Eureka, Mckinleyville, and Blue Lake. You may even hear it as far North as Trinidad and as far South as Ferndale!