Your Public Radio Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

History of KCCU FM

Beginnings and Establishment (1970s-1985)

  • The idea of establishing a public or educational radio station in Lawton had been a priority for several citizens and Cameron University administrators since the 1970s. Equipment bids and notes were found in the files of Dr. J.C. Hick, Chairman of the Communications Department, but the idea was considered too expensive and tabled.
  • In early 1985, Dr. Don Davis, President of Cameron University, Dr. Jack Bowman, Dean of the Fine Arts Department, and Mr. Tony Allison, Chairman of the Communications Department, decided to hire a broadcast instructor to build a broadcast program and establish a public or educational radio station.

Hiring and Initial Steps (1985-1986)

  • Mark Norman was hired in 1985 as an instructor and the Director of Broadcasting. He developed a series of broadcast courses and initiated the establishment of a radio station.
  • Cameron University applied for the 90.3 FM frequency in January 1986, competing with Lawton Christian School. Both parties wanted the frequency, but sharing was not an option.

Securing the Frequency and Funding (1986-1988)

  • Lawton’s location within the operating contour of Channel 6 in Wichita Falls limited available frequencies. Cameron University negotiated with Lawton Christian School and applied for the 89.3 FM frequency, which was awarded to them by the FCC in early 1988.
  • The university secured $50,000 from the McMahon Foundation and applied for a National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) grant, receiving $111,000 to fund the station’s construction.

Construction and Launch (1988-1989)

  • A tower east of town, owned by the Higher Regents, was secured and the studio space in the basement of the administration building was built.
  • With equipment ordered and construction completed, Mark Norman, with the help of Dan Bigbee, built and prepared the station for operation.
  • KCCU-FM began broadcasting in July 1989 as a non-profit station licensed under Cameron University, initially providing the Lawton/Ft. Sill/Duncan area with classical music. NPR programming was beamed to the Lawton/Ft. Sill and Duncan communities via a satellite dish.

Early Operations and Growth (1989-1993)

  • Initially, KCCU operated 18 hours each day with Mark Norman as the only full-time staff member, supported by students of the Communication Department.
  • The station gained community support and received several awards, including being listed as one of the top ten events of the year and decade by the Lawton Constitution.
  • In late 1990, Mike Leal was hired as the full-time Program Director. Charles Thurston joined as the campus media engineer around the same time.
  • In 1993, Doug Swanson became the full-time News Director, leading local news efforts and teaching broadcast courses.

Expansion and Technical Advancements (1993-1996)

  • Translator stations were established in Altus (1992) and Ardmore (1993) with the help of local communities and organizations.
  • In early 1995, KCCU converted to a digital audio vault system, allowing for more efficient operation.
  • KCCU received support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, increasing from $12,500 in the step grant program to an $88,000 annual allocation by 1995.

    Network and Programming Expansion (1996-Present)

  • KCCU expanded its programming to include jazz, variety shows and NPR news as the station's support and reputation grew.
  • The KCCU network now has full-power stations in Lawton/Ft. Sill, Altus, Ardmore and Wichita Falls, Texas.
  • KCCU produces a unique local program called "Mary McClure's Slice of Life" and continues to offer a diverse range of programming.

Educational Opportunities and Current Operations

  • As an operating unit of Cameron University, KCCU provides broadcast students with internship and scholarship opportunities. One of its educational projects is 'CU News,' a student-produced newscast highlighting Cameron University.
  • Current personnel include Mike Leal as the Director of Broadcasting/General Manager, Cynthia Sosa as Station Manager/Operations Director, Joy Chapman as the Underwriting Director, and Nelson Grimmett as the Administrative Assistant II.

Mission and Values:

  • KCCU aims to satisfy listeners and serve the community with high-quality information, entertainment, and music programs.
  • The station upholds professional standards, responsiveness, mutual respect, community support, and a collaborative work environment.

KCCU remains dedicated to its mission and as a valuable asset to Southwest and Southcentral Oklahoma.