Reviews | Need a radio to listen to? Try KRUI

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University of Iowa radio station provides both journalistic and creative outlet for students

Daniel McGregor-Huyer

A KRUI sign is seen in the Iowa Memorial Union at the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.


Due to a very severe case of homesickness, I spent most of my freshman year trying everything I could find on campus to see if there was somewhere I belonged. Thanks to my RA, I came across the campus radio: KRUI, 89.7. I fell in love, instantly, despite the hatred of being in front of an audience.

KRUI has given me the opportunity to express myself and express my creativity which I did not know existed before. More students should either listen to all the diverse shows we have on campus or even try to make one of their own while they’re on campus.

Before creating my specialty show – named Overbooked at 9:30 am on Thursdays – I followed other radio shows and worked for an hour in what was called “general rotation”. I had an hour to play music, but only music that fit certain parameters that KRUI had in place.

KRUI is an alternative theme campus radio station. A creative rule is that we cannot play a song that has appeared on a top 100 hits list within the last twenty years. We can now play the 90s, but my joy of pop rock songs will have to wait a little longer. It gave me the opportunity to explore the countless cabinets of CDs contained within the studio, as well as find new artists on other streaming services.

Once your observation period is over and you have proven yourself well worth knowing the soundboard, you have the choice of either developing your own specialist show or joining one of the main shows – the KRUI News Show at five o’clock. The opportunities are endless. You just need an idea that others should hear on the radio.

For example, a now-retired show, Rainbow Hour, spent an hour talking about all things LGBTQ+. The show included everything from queer coding villains, awareness weeks, or breaking news involving an LGBTQ+ actor or athlete. There are many niches to fill on the radio.

As for those who wish to listen instead of perform on the airwaves, college radio has many advantages that typical stations do not offer. Due to KRUI’s alternate title, there are new songs being played by unknown artists and upcoming hits. There is specifically a page dedicated to submitted works – including student groups.

Many artists have had their songs played on college radio before moving into the music industry. I remember one of my first laps included Lizzo right before she took off, and I felt like I was part of something big because I was playing her music.

Along with a different array of music, KRUI brings student-written pieces to the music scene. Due to its origins, KRUI focuses on all aspects of its station—including commercials—for Iowa City residents. A major benefit is that it gives students the opportunity to test their broadcasting skills before moving on through life and other careers, including former KRUI Diablo Cody, who won an Oscar for writing the Juno script.

So please give radio a chance. Whether as a listener or contributor. The radio does not die. Not now, never. It just needs a little love from creative students.


The columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the editorial board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations with which the author may be involved.


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