Pioneer 90.1

Pioneer Radio KSRQ 90.1 FM set to expand local programming as 501c3

Transition to non-profit status opens up fundraising options to carry on local broadcasting legacy

APRIL 2, 2018 — With community roots dating back to 1971, Northland Community & Technical College’s Pioneer Radio KSRQ 90.1 FM is turning the page on an exciting new chapter of local public broadcasting. Already serving the Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks and surrounding areas, KSRQ will soon begin a transition into a full-fledged community based radio station — a 15-month long process that will conclude in July of 2019, when KSRQ will become its own 501c3 non-profit organization.

The changeover will allow KSRQ to carry on the proud Pioneer 90.1 legacy, while greatly expanding its access to valuable resources, fundraising opportunities and additional volunteer-produced programming. As cherished as Pioneer Radio is to NCTC, its status as a college-sponsored station has limited its growth potential in recent years. Giving the station a 501c3 status will open new doors and keep the tradition alive well into the future.

“We know how important Pioneer Radio is to its listeners and the community,” said Dr. Dennis Bona, President of NCTC. “This strategy has proven itself to be the best path forward for both the college and the station. It’s a win-win for all involved, and we will all get to continue enjoying the benefits of locally produced public radio.”

There's a lot of exciting potential for the station in this transition. As a 501c3, we will be able to do more of our own fundraising, have more flexibility in programming and develop new sponsors.

Launching in the early 70s, KSRQ 90.1 FM has been a member of the statewide Ampers public and educational broadcasting network since the early 1980’s, delivering a programing mix of news and current events, Americana and adult alternative music. With evenings and weekends featuring volunteer hosted programs ranging from classical, jazz, classic and alt country, to its ever popular polka programs. Pioneer 90.1’s currently estimated weekly listenership is roughly around 10,000, and listeners are able to tune in over the air on the FM dial or digitally via HD streaming, which has given KSRQ a truly global reach.

“There’s a lot of exciting potential for the station in this transition,” said Mark Johnson, KSRQ Station Manager. “As a 501c3, we will be able to do more of our own fundraising, have more flexibility in programming and develop new sponsors. By 2019, with an increase in support from our listeners and the local business community, our goal is to have KSRQ on a more sustainable financial model primed for the long term, preserving this valued community asset as far out as we can project. We hope to duplicate the success of other independent community-licensed stations, like KBXE in Bemidji and WTIP in Grand Marais.”

Now is definitely the right time to make this change. ... We're excited to be a part of this growth opportunity.

Though its legal status may be changing, KSRQ 90.1 will still make its home at NCTC’s two campuses. The college will continue to be an active partner and avid supporter of the radio station, providing a lease for services of its broadcasting space in Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks.

“When you combine the fact that NCTC is no longer able to offer academic programming related to broadcasting with KSRQ’s somewhat stifled growth due to the constraints of being a college station, now is definitely the right time to make this change,” Bona said. “If the community will notice anything, they’ll notice new programming and an expanded local presence. We’re excited to be a part of this growth opportunity.”

Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN, and East Grand Forks, MN. NCTC also has an aerospace site in Thief River Falls, MN, and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. NCTC offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year degrees (A.A.S., A.S., A.A.) in more than 80 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. NCTC is a member of Minnesota State, the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. NCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer. For more information about Northland Community & Technical College, visit or call 1.800.959.6282.