KUCI started off in a closet of one of the University of California, Irvine's engineering buildings in 1968 and was the brainchild of student Craig Will and was later turned over to Earl Arbuckle, who became KUCI's first Chief Engineer. At first KUCI was a pirate radio station, gaining its offical FCC license on November 25, 1969, transmitting 10 watts of power at 89.9 FM.

In August of 1981, the Santa Monica station KCRW planned to increase its broadcasting power, effectively knocking KUCI off the air. Efforts, led by Station Manager Sue Simone, allowed KUCI to move to its current frequency of 88.9 FM on August 9, 1981. However, a scant 2 years later, KXLU, at Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles and sharing KUCI's frequency, had intentions to move its antenna to a higher location, which would essentially wipe-out KUCI's signal. This forced UCI to convert to a "Class A" power, 100 watts.

In the autumn of 1986, KUCI began efforts to replace its aging transmitter. A campaign was initiated to raise $7,000 for a new solid-state transmitter including a concert at a Los Angeles Club, the Music Machine, as well as a Jazz/Fusion concert at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. All of this was a success, and with some lobbying by KUCI management, was able to aquire a new transmitter. Several years later, in September 1991 the station recieved FCC approval to increase the broadcast power of KUCI to 200 watts.

Today, KUCI prides itself on being a independent, commercial-free, student-run station that plays only non-mainstream music.

University of California Radio Stations

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