In 1940, the Fine Arts building of the Southwestern Louisiana Institute (S.L.I.), Burke Hall, had an “ill-equipped radio facility” maintained by various speech departments (1). During this time, KVOL acted almost as a radio station for S.L.I. and broadcasted campus related activities (2). In 1959, S.L.I. President Joel L. Fletcher formed a student committee to establish an official campus radio station. The following year, S.L.I. was renamed the University of Southwestern Louisiana (U.S.L.) and a student election voted for a campus radio station. In 1963, the station finally went on air as KRVS (Radio Voice of Southwestern).
KRVS’ earlier programs included opera, jazz, progressive rock, and broadcasts of U.S.L. sports events. Starting in 1973, CODOFIL (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) provided funding for KRVS in exchange for the station to produce French speaking radio programs (3). The influence of the relationship between CODOFIL and KRVS can be seen in many of KRVS’ current shows including, Bonjour Louisiane, Zydeco Est Pas Sale, and Encore. In the early 2000s, Burke-Hawthorne Hall (formerly Burke Hall) was expanded, relocating KRVS from the front of the building to the addition where it is located today.
KRVS is an unsung hero that has played an important part in the history of U.L., Lafayette, and national college radio. KRVS’ mission in providing quality radio programs for Acadiana as a non-profit, non-commercial radio station has more than stood the test of time. The station today is a part of a legacy whose airwaves, permeated with Cajun and Zydeco music to up and coming indie musicians, now reach listeners locally and globally.
1. Roy D. Murphy, “KRVS-FM,” November 10, 1971, Call Number: C 05 D, box 1, file 3, University Archives and Acadiana Manuscripts Collection, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA, accessed February 15, 2022.
2. See also tour location “KVOL: Voice of Lafayette.”
3. Megan Constantin, interview by author, KRVS, February 16, 2022.