A New Standard of Service

Minnesota Public Radio has never been stronger. Since our humble beginning as a college station at St. John's University, we've grown to a 38-station network serving nearly 800,000 regional listeners a week. Our national programs from American Public Media reach more than 14.3 million people across the country. And our new, expanded headquarters is now-after a remarkable show of public support-one of the finest media centers in the world.

"To enrich the mind and nourish the spirit" is our guiding phrase. It inspires our approach to news programming and classical music, to mpr.org and to our newest music service, The Current™. It also inspires exciting new initiatives like Gather.com, The UBS Forum and our groundbreaking Public Insight Journalism program.

Together, we've built a far-reaching legacy over the past 40 years. With your support, we will continue to deliver on our mission and push the boundaries of public radio, now and for decades to come.


Saint John's University grad Bill Kling and professor and future college president Father Colman Barry envision radio as a way to extend the liberal arts nature of the university to communities beyond Collegeville. They lay the foundation for Minnesota Public Radio's beginnings as KSJR.

After completing the final connection for the control board just before the launch, KSJR starts broadcasting on January 22. A prerecorded concert by the Cleveland Orchestra becomes the first official piece of programming to hit the airwaves. A low-power booster station (KSJN) is built to bring KSJR to the Twin Cities, except on Saturday afternoons when a janitor unplugs the radio receiver in favor of a floor polisher.

1968 Gophers chew through underground power lines, putting KSJR off the air for hours at a time. Fourteen years later, porcupines eat the plywood walls of Minnesota Public Radio's network relay station WGGL, located in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. KSJR and the Minnesota State Services for the Blind establish Radio Talking Book—a service that broadcasts readings of current newspapers, books and periodicals using a subchannel carrier of KSJR and KSJN.

Garrison Keillor is hired as a classical music announcer on KSJR in Collegeville.


Minnesota Public Radio provides leadership to found National Public Radio. President Bill Kling serves on NPR's first board of directors. All Things Considered is the first NPR program.

Thirty seconds before airtime, workers complete the technical installation for Minnesota Public Radio's initial Minnesota Orchestra live broadcast. The series would later win top industry honors for its technical excellence. Saint John's University, which had built and funded KSJR, helps establish Minnesota Educational Radio and donates KSJR and KSJN to the new non-profit entity.

Using only four phone lines and testimonials from local celebrities, the network meets its $20,000 goal on the second night of its first Fund Drive. Insomniacs and third-shift employees rejoice as round-the-clock programming begins with the debut of Music Through the Night classical broadcasts. KSJN increases its power to 100,000 watts on a new tower in Shoreview. The highest antenna site in the Twin Cities ensures that Minnesota Public Radio programming reaches the outer fringes of the metro area.

Host Garrison Keillor starts a regular Saturday evening variety series. Keillor names his program after "A Prairie Home Cemetery" in Fargo. Minnesota Educational Radio officially becomes Minnesota Public Radio.

Preview, the Minnesota Public Radio program guide since 1967, changes its name to Minnesota Monthly—a magazine that would grow into one of the Upper Midwest's leading arts, culture and lifestyle publications.

Forty Minnesota Public Radio employees operate a statewide network of six stations.


A former savings and loan building in downtown St. Paul becomes the new state-of-the-art, satellite-ready home for Twin Cities-based employees. The Leonard Parker and Associates design is constructed after Minnesota Public Radio's first capital campaign. Minnesota Public Radio uses mobile satellite uplink technology to provide public radio's first live remote satellite broadcast from the Aspen Music Festival.

Minnesota Public Radio is the lead partner in the founding of American Public Radio and its corporate parent (later renamed Public Radio International), which distributes Minnesota Public Radio programming, including A Prairie Home Companion, to affiliate stations nationwide. Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, gives Minnesota Public Radio its station, WGGL, launching a second wave of network expansion that would increase the number of stations to a dozen by 1985.

Minnesota Public Radio begins to use compact discs for music programming. The CD library eventually grows to some 60,000 titles.

The World Theater—owned by Minnesota Public Radio since 1981—gets a $3.5 million makeover and reopens with gold leaf handrails, a red velvet curtain and a functional balcony.

With funding from the Blandin Foundation, Minnesota Public Radio creates a news unit dedicated to covering the people and issues of rural Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio creates Greenspring Company to oversee for-profit operations, including Rivertown Trading Company (catalog sales), MNN Radio Networks (commercial radio) and Minnesota Monthly Publications (magazine publishing).


The BBC visits Minnesota Public Radio to co-produce the world's first live marathon international remote broadcast from the United States. Nearly 120 million worldwide listeners hear about Minnesota culture, politics, business and arts during the 33-hour broadcast.

The purchase of the 99.5 FM frequency in the Twin Cities solidifies Minnesota Public Radio's "dual channel" FM network, offering separate services for classical music and news and information programming.

Minnesota Public Radio premieres its State Fair booth, acquired in the purchase of 99.5 FM. A tradition of live broadcasts, music performances and political debates begins at the corner of Judson and Nelson streets.

The World Theater is renamed after St. Paul's favorite literary son, F. Scott Fitzgerald. The home stage of A Prairie Home Companion becomes a place for audiences to gather for concerts, debates and author readings.

1995 Minnesota Public Radio launches it's online platform with a 14-page Web site. It quickly expands to include thousands of documents, streaming audio, and interactive spaces at www.mpr.org.

The Minnesota Public Radio regional network grows to 30 stations, covering virtually all of Minnesota, parts of surrounding states and even Sun Valley, Idaho. The network's coverage area includes 98 percent of Minnesota residents. 1998 Minnesota Public Radio sells Rivertown Trading Company to Dayton Hudson Corporation and establishes a major permanent endowment.


American Public Media Group becomes the parent support organization for Minnesota Public Radio and related businesses. The acquisition of California-based Marketplace Productions—now housed in American Public Media's Frank Stanton Studios in Los Angeles—solidifies Minnesota Public Radio's position as the industry's largest station-based producer of national programming.

American Public Media Group establishes Southern California Public Radio to operate 89.3 KPCC in Los Angeles as a professional news and information station.

A documentary on Bosnian Serb war crimes wins Minnesota Public Radio its first duPont-Columbia Gold Baton—broadcast journalism's highest honor.

To better serve audiences across the country and to better reflect its place as the industry's second-largest producer of national programming, Minnesota Public Radio launches a new national production and distribution arm: American Public Media. Programs are heard on 700 stations across the country.

"Shh" by Minnesota hip-hop artists Atmosphere is the first song played on The Current. Minnesota Public Radio's third FM service in the Twin Cites and Rochester is committed to engaging new public radio audiences. In the first week, 62,000 online users listen to the station's live Web stream.

The Next Standard, a four-year, $46 million capital campaign and the largest in Minnesota Public Radio history, comes to a highly successful close. The result is a new expanded headquarters and programming initiatives that will push the boundaries of public radio for years to come.

From Vision to Visionary

In 1967, Minnesota Public Radio was little more than a Collegeville vision. Today, our single low-power booster station has become the second largest public radio organization in the United States. As the country's most complete statewide public network, Minnesota Public Radio is also a premier producer of national programming, a Center for innovation in Journalism, and an online leader—streaming our content and connecting virtual communities across the state and around the world.