Humble Beginnings: A Training Ground for Students

KLRC was announced in August 1983 as a 100 watt station serving only the John Brown University campus and the immediate community. Named for the Learning Resource Center building in which it was housed, the station began broadcasting at 90.3 FM on the dial on October 1st, 1983. Its primary purpose was serve as a training ground for JBU Broadcasting students.

A New Purpose: Opening up to the Community

In the fall of 1988, the FCC approved a long-awaited power increase to 3,000 watts. With the higher power, the FCC also changed the frequency of KLRC from 90.3 to 101.1 FM. KLRC was privileged to have Paul and Lynne Harvey host the ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate the new and improved station. Paul Harvey spoke on the importance of Christian young people going into the field of communication. Ten dedicated Christians in the right journalism positions could change the world, he observed.

OurStory Harvey2

Late 1990 brought another improvement in the KLRC signal. A power increase from 3,000 watts to 6,000 watts doubled the effective power of the station, allowing fuller coverage of Northwest Arkansas. The estimated audience after the increase was 10,000 people.

1990 also served up another landmark for KLRC. It was the first year in the station's history that a fundraiser was held to help fund the growing station. The three day event netted $10,500 in listener pledges, which was used to cover the cost of the power upgrade and pay for summer announcer salaries. The "Sharathon" became an annual spring tradition at the station.

The fundraising event was actually the result of overwhelming listener support of the station. In May, 1990, KLRC was down to its last $1,200 in operating funds. The station announced to its listeners that the management had decided to shut down the station for the summer in order to save on expenses. According to the June, 1990 edition of the John Brown University Bulletin, the station received over 100 telephone calls from listeners saying they wanted to help keep KLRC on the air.

Turning the Corner: Early Growth

1996 brought additional milestones for the station. In January, KLRC began broadcasting 24 hours a day. KLRC also launched its website in January of 1996. KLRC.com was one of the first websites in the area, and holds the honor of being the first Christian radio website in the state of Arkansas.

By 1997, the spring Sharathon netted over $100,000 during three days of giving by the KLRC audience. The total number of listeners to the station passed the 20,000 mark. Ratings hit a new high, placing KLRC as the #21 Contemporary Christian station in the entire nation in 1997.

The year 2000 turned out to be a record-setting year. The 60+ year old tower that KLRC had been broadcasting from was allowed to fall as the station began broadcasting from a new tower and transmitter. In September of that year, KLRC debuted worldwide with its live internet stream. KLRC had received its highest ratings ever with 35,000 people tuning in weekly.

National Recognition: The Radio Station of the Year

2001 was yet another big year for KLRC, which received the Gospel Music Association's small-market "Station of the Year" Award. This national award was the most prestigious honor in Christian radio. In 2002, the station repeated this accomplishment by winning the award in back-to-back years.

In September of 2002, KLRC moved out of the Learning Resource Center and into a building on the west end of the John Brown University campus. Another big step for the station was accomplished in November of 2003, as KLRC purchased its first station vehicle. This allowed for a larger visual presence at events around Northwest Arkansas.

OurStory CampusBuilding2

2005 brought many changes to the station. Residents of Bentonville, Bella Vista, Rogers, and surrounding areas could hear KLRC better than ever thanks to a brand new translator that signed on in February, broadcasting at 99.1 FM. This was KLRC's first major signal expansion in over a decade.

KLRC was now the most popular Christian station in the area, and one of the top stations overall in the market with over over 46,300 individuals tuning into KLRC each week. Sharathon's growth continued as well. In 2005, the station raised an amazing $365,000 in sixteen hours, almost nine hours faster than was planned.

Expanding the Vision: Major Additions and Upgrades

The success carried over into 2006, when KLRC was yet again chosen as the Radio Station of the Year from a national pool of small-market Christian radio stations. The station followed that up with another win in 2008. The award was the station's fourth in seven years, and KLRC continues to be the only student-staffed college station to ever win the award.

A long-dreamed vision for launching a music outreach for a younger audience became a reality in 2008. KLRC launched a new online station station called MyPositiveEdge.com. Run by KLRC staff and JBU students, MyPositiveEdge.com broadcasted Christian alternative and rock music with a focus on teens and young adults.

In 2009, KLRC further improved signal strength by adding a new translator at 103.5 FM in Springdale, AR. This was the first signal enhancement since 2005, and helped KLRC come in loud and clear for residents of east Springdale.

In May of 2011, KLRC announced that it had purchased a new facility in historic downtown Siloam Springs. The new building doubled the square footage of the previous one, allowing for larger studios for both stations, plus additional office and storage space.

OurStory NewBuilding

But perhaps the biggest change for KLRC was still to come. In June of 2012 KLRC officially announced the first major upgrade to the station's primary signal in over twenty years. The station would move from 101.1 FM to a new 100,000 watt signal at 90.9 FM. The new signal was finally launched on February 18th, 2013, and KLRC also continues to simulcast on 101.1 FM and on its translators at 99.1 FM in Bentonville and 103.5 in Springdale.

Into the Future: Continued Growth

In 2013, KLRC won the Marconi Award for Religious station in the year, and in 2016, KLRC would notch its fifth Christian Music Broadcasters "Station of the Year" award. During this time, KLRC launched its first mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices, and the station also debuted on smart speakers.

In 2018, MyPositiveEdge.com was rebranded and relaunched as Real FM, an online radio station app playing hip-hop and pop music. And in 2019, KLRC launched The KLRC Podcast Network, serving listeners with a lineup of six on-demand shows.

Thanks to the growing population of Northwest Arkansas, KLRC was moved to a new market category by the Christian Music Broadcasters, and won two "Medium Market Station of the Year" awards in 2019 and 2023.

OurStory TheTeam

Today, KLRC has a staff of fourteen people, plus JBU students and part-time announcers. The station is rated as one of the top overall in Northwest Arkansas, and one of the top Christian radio stations in the United States. Over 60,000 weekly listeners enjoy the station, and God continues to work through the generous support of Team KLRC, who consistently donate over $1 million each year to fund the ministry.

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