Mission / History


We champion building a more socially engaged Utah through locally-driven programming that promotes music discovery and civic participation.


KRCL is community oriented, locally focused, independent, diverse and transformational. We are an inclusive, giving voice for the underrepresented. We do this in an entertaining, engaging, inspiring way that connects the community.

History - Broadcasting since 1979

More than forty years ago, well-known community activist Stephen Holbrook and many of his friends were having conversations. Late evenings were spent in kitchens and living rooms filled with ideas, dreams, and hope. How could Utah become the place they truly wanted to call home?  The group agreed they wanted live in a true community – an open, inclusive place where opinions were welcomed. 

At its inception, it was really just a glimmer of an idea. A flicker. A spark. Taking their cue from other communities, they came up with an elegant concept: Create a “town square” for Utahns. A centerpiece for information. A home for fair-minded political dialogue. A place to promote local cultural and social happenings. To enhance the relevance of the platform, and give a nod to the increasing importance of music and the spoken word in youth culture, they thought to embed this town square in a body of music from around the country and around the globe. They decided to start a community radio station.

The concept sounded simple, yet many things had to be put into place: equipment, programming, staff and finding a physical home. It turned out that putting a radio station on the air would take a lot of cash.  Where would they find the financing and managerial expertise necessary to make such an endeavor a success?

Holbrook and his friends got busy. One of the first connections they made was with actor, director and well-known activist, Robert Redford. Through Redford’s connections and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, Holbrook and a host of others found the experts they needed secured the funding necessary to put the station on the air and run it for the first three years.

On December 3rd, 1979, 90.9fm KRCL was born – broadcasting from its first home above the Blue Mouse Theater. That was only the beginning.

A Goal.  A Concept...

KRCL had a goal – to be a megaphone for all Utahns. KRCL had a focus. In order to accomplish the goal, the small staff achieved a series of manageable actions – stepping stones of accomplishments.

In those early years, KRCL made continuous improvements to the on-air sound quality, the physical plant, and the product. With these accomplishments came dozens of awards and community recognition.

With successes there were also set backs and lean years. The station weathered many storms, financial struggles, programming, and technical issues.

In 2001, through several years of hard work of staff and volunteers and the financial support of the community of listeners and benefactors, the station took a major step and purchased a new facility on West North Temple.  KRCL truly became a legacy project.

Relevant… Essential... Focused…

Following the move to the new building, the next phase in KRCL’s journey was to move further along a path to sustainability. Financial security required some tough choices. In 2009, while volunteer hosts continued to be heard every evening and on weekends, the station made the move to create a consistent, professional sound and brought in a paid weekday air staff.

While controversial at the time, the strength this change brought to the station sound substantially expanded KRCL’s listening audience, enhancing the ability to effectively provide value to local businesses and reach new donors. It helped stabilize the station’s financial foundation. 

Today, KRCL is a thriving community institution heard by more than 75,000 listeners each week on the radio and online across the world – on dozens of devices that would have been considered science fiction in 1979.

KRCL listeners, donors, underwriters and the community confirm that radio not only continues to be relevant in the digital age, but that it is an essential means of communication. We remain focused on encouraging improved communication, inclusiveness, and access to diverse ideas.

Quality of Place…

Dr. Richard Florida, one of the world's leading experts on demographic trends and author of The Rise of the Creative Class, writes about the importance that quality of place plays in people’s decisions about where to live and work.

Communities seen as being inclusive, supportive of diversity, and with a climate of cultural variety attract skilled and innovative workers. Communities that have highly developed cultural and environmental amenities (like a community radio station) enjoy long-term success in retaining talent that generates and sustains regional economic health.

KRCL is an important element of creating a climate of cultural variety and an environment of diversity in Utah. Listeners from near and far say we are part of what makes Utah a great place to work and live.

And Then There’s the Music...

KRCL’s music programming entices listeners with the right song at exactly the right time. It’s the next song a listener might fall in love with, the song that must be shared with a best friend...or the kids in the car.  KRCL reveals a new masterpiece and then a classic that hasn’t been heard in ages.

These musical feats would not be possible without truly great DJs who, for just a moment, can make a whole room fall in love. DJs who put everything together in a way that takes listeners to a better place.

The on-air hosts at KRCL know the right song at the right time will give you a chill, make you pull someone close, nod your head, sing in the mirror, roll down the car window, and crank the volume to eleven.

KRCL has changed the way Utahns listen to music.

An Unconventional Path…

At KRCL our success boils down to inspiration, passion, and enthusiasm.  The most powerful inspiration comes from pursuing an unconventional path. That’s the only way to truly break away from the pack. We are passionate about inspiring positive change for our listeners by delighting them with a unique blend of music and community programming that engages our audience and creates positive change.

KRCL is unique, there’s not another radio station like it anywhere.