About WFSU Radio
A Fixture for 50+ Years
WFSU radio provides Tallahassee, Panama City and the surrounding communities with daily up-to-date news and information on both 88.9 FM and 89.1 FM. Programs include National Public Radio news favorites such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace, as well as entertainment and documentary programming such as Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, A Prairie Home Companion, and This American Life.
WFSU also produces local radio news, information, and programming. Local long-format programs include:Perspectives - a weekly local affairs talk show, 411 Teen - a program that deal with teen issues, and Capital Report - a weekly (weekdays during Legislative Session) magazine-style program highlighting news and information from around the state (produced in conjuction with Florida Public Radio Network).
On 91.5, WFSQ-FM (Tallahassee)/90.7 WFSL-FM (Thomasville) listeners will find Classical music and music programs 24 hours a day. On Cultural Notes, local host Dan MacDonald will keep you up to date with the latest cultural happenings from our area. Jim Chion will keep you swinging to your jazz favorites on Saturday evenings with Sounds of Swing.
- 88.9 (WFSU-FM) [93.7 - Downtown Tallahassee | 96.7 - Apalachicola | 97.1 - Carrabelle]
News & Information, Tallahassee, FL (View Interactive Coverage Map)
- 91.5 (WFSQ-FM) [92.7 - Northeast Tallahassee | 90.7 (WFSL-FM) - Thomasville, GA]
Classical, Tallahassee, FL (View Interactive Coverage Map)
- 89.1 (WFSW-FM) [106.1 - Marianna | 91.1 - Port Saint Joe]
News & Information, Panama City, FL (View Interactive Coverage Map)
The Florida Public Radio Network
Established in 1975, the Florida Public Radio Network is the oldest public radio network in the United States. Its mission is to provide public radio listeners with in-depth coverage of the Florida Legislature, state government and issues that affect the state. FPRN serves thirteen public radio stations across the state. Each week these stations provide public radio services to over one million listeners and these stations span Florida from Pensacola to Miami, leaving virtually no Floridian out of reach of the FPRN signal.
In May 1948, the concept WFSU radio began when the new Florida State University Men's Government Association allocated funds for a campus radio station. On January 21, 1949, with call letters approved by the FCC, WFSU aired its first program as WFSU - 660 (AM). Broadcasts included 3 hours per evening, Monday through Friday, of campus news, drama, interviews and a disc jockey.
Initially WFSU was a student run and student oriented station - its FCC license only allowed it to broadcast within the confines of FSU's campus. To encourage student listening, radios were put in each dormitory.
Programming expanded and the station grew, but in April of 1953, complaints from the surrounding community had forced WFSU temporarily off the air. The signal had been leaking off-campus and in the 1950s this was a 'no-no' for campus radio stations. Campus advisors hoped the station would return for fall semester.
For fall of 1953, WFSU applied for a low-power FM educational license to broadcast within a fifteen-mile radius of the FSU campus. The station, to feature cultural entertainment and music, was approved. Beginning in July of 1954, the new station, WFSU-FM 91.5, broadcast from 2 to 6 p.m. daily. Soon after, WFSU moved to an 80-hour broadcast week. The station joined the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, gaining access to a national network of educational programming as well as the BBC and French Broadcasting Service.
The big break for WFSU-FM came in 1954 when station managers learned that no local commercial station would carry FSU football games. WFSU then carried an exclusive broadcast, prompting sports fans to buy FM receivers to receive the station.
In 1970 the station became one of 90 charter members of National Public Radio and later carried the inaugural broadcasts of All Things Considered. However, during the 1970s, budget cuts and changes in local broadcasting caused WFSU to cut back from a then 24-hour station to 20 hours per day. There was also a change to an all-classical format, with mixed reaction from the community.
In March 1975, WFSU-FM inaugurated live coverage of the Tallahassee City Commission. In March 1976, it reactivated the Florida Public Radio network earlier headquartered in Jacksonville. FPR, authorized under a contract granted by the Department of Education, still originates from the Tallahassee studios.
Throughout its history, WFSU occupied area across campus. From the top of the Longmire building in 1949, to the basement of the music building in 1954 to the fourth floor of Diffenbaugh Building in 1972. In 1982 WFSU-FM followed WFSU-TV to the new five-and-a-half-million-dollar broadcast center near the FSU golf course.
By 1986 WFSU continued to grow, but with no back-up power for its signal, listeners suffered frequent outages and poor service in the hilly regions of NE Tallahassee. A new broadcast tower NE of town became available, but WFSU was in competition for the 91.5 position on the dial with Georgia Public Radio. To find a solution, the station made an application for 88.9 FM. The new 88.9 signal would broadcast at 95,000 watts from a tower 1,248 feet high. However, the lower power 91.5 was still in WFSU's possession. By spring of 1991 news and information migrated to 88.9 and 91.5 held onto the classical music format. A half million citizens at this point in time could receive one of these stations.
Throughout its history, WFSU has been honored with numerous prestigious awards for journalism, professionalism, reporting, documentary and news: proof of which adorn its walls today. Additionally, WFSU proudly remembers the period from 1981 to 1991 when Red Barber, a regular Friday feature on NPR's Morning Edition, hosted directly from WFSU's studios in Tallahassee. In 1993, a year after Barber's death, the entrance to WFSU was dedicated to Red Barber by Bob Edwards, Barber's NPR cohort.
In the early 1990s an informational program, Capital Report, began to cover the Florida legislative session. In 1994 radio began the Radio Reading Service for blind and physically handicapped persons in our local area, which continued until 2009 when the legislature cut funding for the program.