KDPS Radio: Now Available World-Wide!

Who knows if the Muppets or MacNeil/Lehrer or Frontline or even Downton Abbey would ever have been viewed in the Des Moines area were it not for KDPS.

In many ways, the roots of public broadcasting in Iowa extend into Des Moines Public Schools, traced back to 1969 when the State of Iowa agreed to purchase Channel 11 and the KDPS-TV equipment from the Des Moines School Board.

Iowa Public Television has come a long way since then, but so has the DMPS Broadcasting and Film program and KDPS Radio, which first took to the airwaves more than half a century ago.

Last month the program added another chapter to its history when KDPS Radio became part of the “Live365” web-streamed broadcasting network, making the student-run station available around the world. In addition to listening on air at 88.1 FM, listeners can go to www.live365.com and search for KDPS. There is also an iPhone and Android app so you can listen to KDPS on the go.

“Live web-streaming of the radio content is an exciting and authentic way to give our students career experience,” says Kirk Johnson who, along with Tim Coleman, teaches in the award-winning program. “We love it when student DJs tell us they have family listening in places like Boston.  It’s mind-blowing to think that their audience now includes the entire planet instead of just the metro and surrounding communities.”

Live high school broadcasters are on every weekday from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

It’s just the latest in a long-running timeline of innovations dating all the way back to 1959, when Des Moines Technical High School was moved from the old West High building at 15th and Center Streets to the remodeled Solar Aircraft building at 18th and Grand, originally a Ford Motor Company plant. Now the oft-reinvented facility currently known as Central Campus is undergoing another facelift. 

KDPS-TV also went on the air when KDPS Radio moved into its new home. The original radio license was held by KCBC which used the transmitter to broadcast music to the city busses. But, there was too little commerce in the idea of a commercial FM station providing ambient music for bus riders, so the FM transmitter was given to the Des Moines Public Schools and used to put KDPS 88.1FM on the air.

Today, students create and market their own one-hour shows which include music, public service announcements, weather, and the 88 second news update. The program provides advanced career preparation with real world experience in the areas of radio, television, and film production.  Students in this program develop their skills in a studio environment while receiving high school and college credit.  The two-year curriculum is focused on the creative and communication aspects of the industry.  Considerable time is spent on the craft of planning, writing, equipment operation and production techniques.

The program serves students from up to 30 participating school districts in central Iowa. When school is not in session, programming is shared with the students of Grandview University which operates remotely from their own campus studio.

And now it’s all available “Live365”!

Published on