Looking Back with Gratitude: 40 Years of HPPR

June 9th through June 25th (Published Online)

Join High Plains Public Radio for Looking Back with Gratitude, an historical retrospective of 40 years of making a dream come true: public radio on the High Plains. Stay tuned for our series of eleven tiny stories from the early days, including the 510 "KANZ Pioneers" whose time, toil, and talents led to the station network you enjoy today. 

High Plains Public Radio honors these founders, as well as all of our member-listeners whose continued dedication has been the cornerstone of keeping access to NPR News, regional programming, specialty music, and community voices across our five-state region.

Posting on weekdays from Tuesday, June 9 through Thursday, June 25, you can view these “history bites” on our website and Facebook page. 

Thank you for powering public radio on the High Plains for 40 years!

High Plains Public Radio Day- Saturday, June 27, 2020. 

Thank you Mayors and Cities/Towns for recognizing HPPR 40 years of service to the High Plains. We celebrate Looking Back with Gratitude and together we will Look Forward with Hope.

Participating Mayors and Cities/Towns:

Gary Adrian - Colby

Joyce Warsaw - Dodge City

Looking Back with Gratitude: There Was Always Hope

Jun 24, 2020

Chapter Eleven

“Two Join Hall of Fame” read the headline from the Garden City Telegram, Monday, May 19, 1986.One inductee was Quentin Hope, Class of 1972, Garden City High School.

The article continued “Hope, from Pierceville, is the executive director of KANZA Society, the non-profit organization to which public radio station KANZ-FM is licensed. He generated community interest, federal and local funding, location,

facilities and staff during the formative stages of establishing the station.

Chapter Ten          

From Chuck to Chuck, 1980-2020. The minutes from May 25, 1980 reflect the board’s awareness of the importance of the station’s engineer by marking the technical staff as one of the highest priorities. Chuck Lakaytis, the first engineer, discussed those duties as including maintaining existing equipment, designing new equipment, and fulfilling the FCC guidelines and regulations.

Looking Back with Gratitude: HPPR Needs A New Home

Jun 22, 2020

Chapter Nine            

Jam-packed and the roof leaks, too – read the Sunday, April 25, 1987 headline in The Garden City Telegram. The lengthy article pointed out the need to find a new home – roomier and drier quarters. Some offices had two wastebaskets – one for paper and one for water. The only space available for private conversation was the restroom – the girls, as the boys had been converted into a studio.

Chapter Eight

Roping in the Dollars for KANZ

Who could resist? An offer to have your picture taken as Wolfgang and Mrs. Mozart (Steve Olson, the first music director, felt Mozart’s genius was undeniable). And there would be a volleyball tournament, a flea market, auction, bands, and performers - all to help KANZ-FM mark five years on the air. Summerfest, July 20, 1985, at the Pierceville station also offered food and drink and a chance for listeners to meet the faces behind the voices heard on air and to raise funds for the station. 

Looking Back with Gratitude: The Mail Bag

Jun 18, 2020

Chapter Seven—The Mail Bag: Letters to the Station ~ The Mail Bag reported two letters of special interest – both mentioning the Wall Street Journal article, November 29, 1982, p.1:

Dear Mr. Hope,

I recently had the pleasure of reading an account of KANZ’s accomplishment in the Wall Street Journal.


Chapter Six: Chautauquas—a popular adult education movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Chapter Five

First Anniversary program listings carried a message from the station director – “We’ve dedicated ourselves to offering a listening schedule which is as diverse and interesting as the people of Southwest Kansas.”

Chapter Four

How Does It Work? In an early issue of “KANZAN, the Guide to Community Radio for Southwest Kansas”, readers were treated to an explanation – “Here’s How It Works”. A reminder -  FM radios were not standard equipment in cars in 1980.

Looking Back with Gratitude: The Pioneer Spirit

Jun 12, 2020

Chapter Three: I’m ready for KANZ FM Public Radio! Bumper stickers bearing this message began appearing on cars, trucks, tractors, and saddle bags on highways, byways, and farm and ranch land as news of what is coming spread – a new community resource that will be a combination of school, library, concert hall and Chautauqua.

Looking Back with Gratitude: Radio Ray Returns

Jun 11, 2020

Chapter Two  

How did it all begin? Like most impossible things, it began with a dream. In July 1975, college student Quentin Hope shared his dream with friends, who had gathered for dinner at the home of his parents Dolores (Dodie) and Clifford Hope, Jr.

Looking Back with Gratitude: Saddling Up For KANZ

Jun 10, 2020

Chapter One

On a sunny Sunday afternoon June 29, 1980, in an abandoned schoolhouse in Pierceville, Kansas (population 85), KANZ signed on as the country’s first community-licensed, rural public radio station; to the sincere, noble, and hopeful music of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

Looking Back with Gratitude: 40 Years of HPPR

Jun 9, 2020

A native son of Garden City, Kansas had a dream that he shared with friends. And - true to the spirit of Pioneers, it was not long before hundreds joined him in bringing Community Radio to western Kansas. The year was 1975.