Leslie Thatcher with local firefighters

Leslie Thatcher with local firefighters

Image: Courtesy KPCW

On July 2, 1980, KPCW went live with Blair Feulner’s words, “This is KPCW 91.9 FM, the station that Park City built!” The dream of creating a local radio station had begun two years prior, in 1978, when the “founding five” gathered around a table in the now-defunct Car 19 Restaurant/Bar: Blair Feulner, Dan Wilcox, Tom Bock, Jay Meehan, and Rebecca Widenhouse, who between them had 60 years of radio experience. It took two years of raising thousands of dollars, submitting hundreds of pages of applications, and pulling countless numbers of volunteers together to enable the very first moments of airtime.

KPCW’s first home was constructed at the top of the bleachers in what used to be the projection booth in the old War Veterans Memorial Building gym at 427 Main St. Because KPCW was a noncommercial station, the city was able to offer the space for free, and Feulner and his army of volunteers took it from there. Nicknamed the “broadcast bunker,” the space was small and artsy. It was equipped with microphones, turntables, and a variety of donated albums, most of them scratchy. The air was thick with cigarette smoke, and a volunteer showing up for early-morning duty might have to step over a few empty bottles and sleeping bodies.

In 1985 the station transitioned to the lower level of the historic Marsac Building, still rent-free, and from there to its current location adjacent to China Bridge parking structure in 2009. In 2019, a renovation and expansion added 1,400 square feet of new space.

Randy Barton

Randy Barton

Image: Courtesy KPCW

KPCW has been dedicated to informing its audience with local news interviews from day one, and Feulner established a reputation for being a tough but fair interviewer. Leslie Thatcher, who joined the station as a reporter in 1990, carries on Feulner’s interviewing legacy on The Local News Hour every weekday. Randy Barton, current host of The Local View, came on board in 1986 as a volunteer, and Rick Brough joined KPCW from The Park Record in the late ’80s and has covered local planning commissions and county council meetings for the past 30 years. The station has been an NPR affiliate for decades, carrying Morning Edition and NPR headlines at the top of every hour.

Over the years, KPCW’s freewheeling army of volunteers has become a polished, professional staff supported by a well-trained volunteer air force. The station’s ability to stream via the internet allows it to provide that hometown connection whether listeners are in Summit County or farther afield. Still, no matter what changes have occurred in location, staff, programming, or technology over the past 40 years, KPCW remains the station of locals serving locals—the most important community connector in Park City.

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