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1922-2022 A yearlong celebration marking WKAR's 100th anniversary of service to the mid-Michigan and Spartan communities

WKAR Begins a Century of Service on August 18

Amanda Pinckney

EAST LANSING, MI; Aug. 19, 2022 – To kick off a yearlong celebration of a Century of Service, this week WKAR hosted a special event featuring congratulatory remarks from MSU President Samuel Stanley, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger, NPR President and CEO John Lansing and other prominent media leaders.

On Aug. 18, 2022, WKAR Public Media marked its 100th anniversary. As one of the oldest public radio stations and the second-oldest educational television station in America, WKAR has decades of history dedicated to service through public broadcasting.

“The station’s first college-sponsored broadcast was a 15-minute speech from the College President, David Friday, on May 13, 1922,” said Shawn Turner, interim general manager of WKAR. “Six days later, authorization was granted for a radio station. When final licensing was completed, the station officially went on the air August 18, 1922.”

In celebration of this monumental anniversary, leaders from Michigan State and public broadcasting visited the WKAR TV and radio studios.

“In my 16 years as CEO, this is the first time I've had the opportunity to celebrate a station marking a centenary milestone,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS via video message. “From fine arts to public affairs, WKAR embodies the best of the spirit of public media to use its platforms, to educate, engage and inspire your community.”

WKAR began as an AM radio station, broadcasting agricultural news and information, and has grown into a robust media organization that includes WKAR TV, WKAR Radio, wkar.org, Radio Reading Service, WKAR Digital Studios and WKAR Family.

“WKAR’s mission to connect people to powerful ideas that inspire personal growth, exploration of our world, and positive change is evergreen,” said Patricia de Stacey Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “As a station, it has led by example.”

With the founding of PBS on November 3, 1969, and the founding of NPR on February 26, 1970, WKAR became part of a growing network of TV and radio stations dedicated to informing, educating and inspiring viewers and listeners with an ever-broadening scope of content.

“WKAR was one of the original founders of NPR,” said John Lansing, president and CEO of NPR. “On behalf of our 1,200 employees, 700 journalists, 17 foreign bureaus, 17 national bureaus, and 265 awesome member stations, we all say to you, congratulations on 100 years and a century of service.”

During the speeches, the station was honored with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. Also showcased at the event was a Special Tribute to WKAR, signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

“It is with genuine pleasure and deep gratitude that we recognize WKAR Public Media for their 100 years of extraordinary service to the state of Michigan,” the governor and lieutenant governor wrote in their tribute. “Over the course of their history, WKAR has provided thousands of Michiganders with vital resources for information, education, and inspiration.”

Members of the public are invited to join WKAR’s Century of Service Community Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., taking place at WKAR studios on the campus of Michigan State University. Complete with free ice cream and a chance to meet local on-air personalities and PBS KIDS® characters, visitors will get an inside look at WKAR television, radio, and digital studios.

MSUFCU is the lead underwriter of WKAR’s Century of Service. Additional support is provided by Consumers Energy. 

For more station news from WKAR, visit wkar.org/station-news/.    

About WKAR Public Media    
WKAR Public Media is the Michigan capital region source for award-winning original television and radio, and the best from PBS and NPR. WKAR is part of Michigan State University College of Communication Arts & Sciences and includes WKAR TV, WKAR Radio, wkar.org, WKAR Radio Reading Service, WKAR Family, and WKAR Ready to Learn.

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