Honolulu’s College Radio Station Shifts Frequencies for the First Time in 40 Years

Listen to KTUH Island-wide on 90.1 FM.
Photo: Gary Saito 


Student-run radio station KTUH this month leaps forward in two ways: changing its frequency to 90.1 FM and more than doubling its power from a new transmitter and antenna atop Tantalus.


In 1969, KTUH became Hawai‘i’s first FM-licensed noncommercial radio station, broadcasting live from UH Mānoa. It has thrived with an alternative music mix, and some might say cultlike following, among listeners, and a mix of student and community DJs (disclosure: including this author). Listeners can find everything from Italian pop to Motown to delta blues to drum and bass, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


​KTUH has been broadcasting at 90.3 FM in Honolulu and 91.1 FM for O‘ahu’s North Shore. “Currently, the two FM frequencies lack the strength necessary to give listeners the opportunity to listen islandwide,” says KTUH general manager Nick Ciuffetelli. “There are pockets throughout O‘ahu where our signal struggles to stay clear or is absent entirely.” 


The new gear will boost signal strength from 3,000 watts of power to 7,000. That puts KTUH among the strongest 1 percent of college radio stations across the United States. However, it requires KTUH to shift frequencies for the first time in more than 40 years, from 90.3 FM to 90.1 FM.


In this era of free music-streaming services—Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud—it’s encouraging that KTUH is growing. Let’s hear it for old-school radio!


For more info or to tune in, visit ktuh.org.