KWSB is a noncommercial-educational radio station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to the Trustees of Western State Colorado University. Students operate and manage the station and program it to serve the student body of Western, the community of Gunnison, and the broader Internet audience.
KWSB is a member of the Colorado Broadcasters Association . Every year KWSB competes with other members of the CBA in small market radio for awards in various areas. KWSB also has memberships in the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Association and the College Broadcasting Association.
The Western Student Government Association (SGA) funds KWSB. All students are required to pay student fees. Some of those fees go to SGA, which divides the money between many on-campus groups including subcommittees like the Council for Creative Expression (CCE). KWSB, along with Mountaineer Media, Top 'O the World, Pathfinder Magazine, Wordhorde, and student groups from the Art and Music departments, receive a portion of the CCE budget. Once divided between these groups, KWSB generally receives a budget of approximately $24,000 to use at the discretion of the General Manager and Station Manager. The money is used to fix or replace equipment and to pay for the general running of the station.
KWSB was originally licensed by the FCC in January 1968 and operated with a 10-watt transmitter atop Taylor Hall Auditorium with a staff of eight students. Now it averages a volunteer base of 30-40 students and operates at 100 watts with a transmitter atop “W” mountain.
In the mid-80s, the broadcast studios moved from the Union to Taylor Hall. In 2008, Colorado lawmakers approved funding for a $23 million renovation of Taylor Hall. Included in the plans are new studios for KWSB. The building is finished, and the Penguin is now settled down in it's awesome new home.
What started in 1968 as a small but serious operation in the Union basement blossomed into a campus powerhouse. It's estimated over 2,000 Western Alumni have worked in the station while earning their degrees, and of course staff, faculty and community members have been on-air talent.
Countless KWSB graduates have gone on to build successful careers in media and elsewhere, from coast to coast. Many of them (of you!) credit the radio station for instilling fundamental principles in media production, management, business, and group interactions.