Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
KFAI (90.3 FM Minneapolis and K294AM 106.7 FM West St. Paul) is a community radio station in Minnesota. The station broadcasts a wide variety of music, and airs programming catering to many of the diverse ethnic groups of the region. KFAI has frequently been honored by local media critics for its shows and musical diversity. It is somewhat unusual for a broadcast station in that it offers public access services, so anyone in the community can make their own show and have it broadcast over the air. The station is part of Minnesota's Independent Public Radio network and, despite relatively weak transmitters, is considered by many to be the group's flagship station. The call sign stands for Fresh Air, Inc., the non-profit organization that owns KFAI.
The station first went on the air on May 1, 1978 after drawn-out deliberations with the Federal Communications Commission, which was licensing a few low-power FM stations at the time. In 1984, the primary transmitter was moved from the Walker Community Church to the top of the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis and upgraded from ten to 125 watts. The studios didn't move out of the church until two years later. The 170-watt West St. Paul transmitter went up in 1994.
The station's programming is highly eclectic and uses block programming, so that, for example, one might find a country music program followed by an hour of news about GLBT issues, or a reggae program followed by an hour of spoken word readings or an hour of Hmong programming. Although programs almost always occupy the same blocks from week to week, programs often have little or nothing to do with what precedes or follows them, and the station prides itself on being a "different radio station every hour".
KFAI's limited power means that it really targets the core communities of the Twin Cities region. However, an Internet radio stream is also available. Three other IPR stations exist in Minneapolis-St. Paul: KBEM (jazz), KMOJ (urban), and KUOM (college/eclectic). KVSC, another college station in St. Cloud, Minnesota, can also be received by some area residents.
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