University of Southern California: Celebrate Classical KUSC’s 75th anniversary with a journey through its history

At about the time the first commercial FM radio station started up in the United States in 1941, USC bought its own FM transmitter and installed it on the Hancock Foundation Building. The university had grand plans for radio.

World War II soon got in the way, though. The government requisitioned the transmitter, and USC would have to wait for another. No matter. USC trustee and alumnus Capt. G. Allan Hancock — an oil magnate and cello player with the L.A. Symphony Orchestra — provided a replacement.

On Oct. 24, 1946, student-run radio station KUSC sent out its signals for the first time to those within a 10-mile radius of the University Park Campus.

Today, KUSC lives on as the nation’s largest classical music station, and it’s celebrating its 75th anniversary. Now known as Classical KUSC, it delivers high-quality classical music to communities from San Diego north through Orange County and Los Angeles, to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo and east to Palm Springs. Its airwaves also transcend geographic boundaries thanks to digital technology: Music is available through the click of a mouse on its website. You can also download the KUSC app on your smartphone or listen through a smart speaker. KUSC’s friendly hosts welcome all to enjoy the music.

With KUSC’s birthday in mind, cue up some Chopin and settle in with Debussy while you cruise through key (and sometimes colorful) moments in the radio station’s long history on the KUSC website.