SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA — Cupertino-based community radio station KKUP celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend with a “psychedelic marathon,” playing music from artists like The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd.
The station was launched in 1972, when a group of local students applied for a license after a private school in Los Altos abandoned its educational radio station.
It took three years of bake sales and car washes to raise funds. The father of one of the students helped them obtain a non-commercial license. The city of Cupertino gave them a studio site. And a friendly local engineer found them a broadcast site on Mount Umunhum.
“And we went on air in 1972, and at the time I had no idea it was going to last 50 years,” Dana Jang, one of the founders, told Patch.
The station, which plays a variety of music, is staffed by volunteers and 100% listener supported. He started playing a lot of folk music, with jazz, blues and reggae tunes that many commercial stations didn’t play, according to Jang.
Over the past half century, the station has built a community of loyal listeners and remains strong on 91.5 FM to this day.
“There were ownership changes, personnel changes, program changes,” Jang said. “But KKUP has evolved and always kept the same theme of eclecticism and diversity.”
One of KKUP’s calling cards is that it was among the first community radio stations to launch without being affiliated with a school. After the launch of KKUP, other community stations sprang up across the country, according to Jang.
“We kind of broke the ceiling there,” he said.
Click on here for more information on KKUP. The “psychedelic marathon” runs from Friday to Sunday.