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KANW is a non-profit, non-commercial educational radio station owned and operated by Albuquerque Public Schools. KANW is the first FM station in the State of New Mexico. In 1949, Superintendent John Milne applied to the Federal Communications Commission for a license to construct and operate an FM station to serve the Albuquerque Public Schools.
The station was constructed and began operating from a small studio on the third floor of the old Albuquerque High School in 1951. The station provided classroom instructional programming operating only during school hours and was off the air during summer recess.
In 1969, KANW increased its transmitter power and moved to its present studio location and under a federal grant purchased a much higher power transmitter which is located on Sandia Crest. Another power increase was approved by the FCC in 1983. The station now operates with maximum legal power and serves a large portion of north central New Mexico.
KANW began expanding its program service with New Mexico Music as well as Top 40 music with student disc jockeys. Through the years, the weekday format was changed to include disco then urban in an attempt to serve underserved audiences.
New Mexico Music programming on KANW began on a Friday afternoon in 1973 with Serjio Herrera. The show moved to Saturday mornings a few weeks later and has since become one of the most consistently listened to radio programs in New Mexico history.
The New Mexico Music programming started as a unique service featuring music produced and performed by New Mexicans. KANW is proud to provide a venue to these artists that would otherwise never receive airplay nor recognition in the largest broadcast market of the state. Although the songs and lyrics have a Mexican influence, the sound is unique to the Land of Enchantment. The guitar and brass instruments take prominence in the sound of New Mexico Music. KANW's Saturday morning New Mexico Music and dedications is a New Mexico radio tradition and maintains the highest ratings of all KANW's programs.
In 1995, KANW became affiliated with Public Radio International and a full member of National Public Radio in 1999. Some of the most popular programs are Car Talk, A Prairie Home Companion, Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, and The Diane Rehm Show.
KANW aims to provide a balanced mix of entertainment and education, music and talk.