Winona’s Radio Alternative

KQAL 89.5 FM

KQAL radio - WSU radio stationKQAL is Winona’s radio alternative. KQAL is the only full service, independent radio station in Winona and has been serving the area since 1975. There is something for everyone on KQAL: jazz and rock music, public affairs, educational, arts, and culture programs, and WSU Warrior play-by-play action.

KQAL is operated by the Mass Communication department at Winona State University and is staffed primarily by student volunteers. It has a dual mission: to provide career training for students interested in radio broadcasting as well as to provide the residents of southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin with quality educational and entertainment programming.

Check out KQAL today at 89.5 FM! -or- Listen online at


KQAL-FM, 89.5MHz, at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota went on the air in December 1975 as a ten watt station. An alternative independent radio station from the beginning, broadcasting began from the roof of the Performing Arts Center. KQAL was started by faculty members Jacque Reidelberger and Brice Wilkinson and student manager, the late Bruce Hittner. A laboratory for the Speech Department at WSU, KQAL has been staffed primarily by students from the very beginning.

In 1980 KQAL, Winona’s alternative music radio, was placed under the jurisdiction of the newly created Mass Communication Department at WSU. KQAL increased its power output to 1,100 watts in 1981 and it became a member of the Associated Press.

1989 saw the power output increased to 1,800 watts and the transmitter moved from the roof of the Performing Arts Center to a 400 foot tower leased from KWNO on Garvin Heights. Also in ’89 two satellite receiving dishes were installed at the Performing Arts Center.

The entire studio complex was remodeled in 1991 with new state of the art equipment and the newsroom went computerized. 1995 was the year for computer based digital audio editing equipment to be installed and when this website debuted.

In 1997 KQAL became the first radio station in Winona to broadcast using the RBDS standard, allowing KQAL to transmit data to the new generation of RBDS radios. Today in addition to being an alternative independent radio station, KQAL is still the only RBDS station in Winona.

KQAL continued the transition to the digital era in 1998 when computer based, hard drive audio storage and automation was introduced, virtually eliminating the use of tape at the station. The original system was replaced in 2002 with a new, more robust and reliable system.

In the summer of 2009 Phelps Hall on the WSU campus was extensively remodeled and new radio and TV studios were constructed. KQAL began broadcasting from those new studios in January 2010, forever abandoning our home of some 34 years in the Performing Arts Center.

In 2011 KQAL was forced to find a new home for its transmitter when the owner of the Garvin Heights tower announced the tower would be razed. A new site was found just across the river in Buffalo County, WI. It turned out to be a good move since the new tower was taller and allowed a power increase to 2,500 watts.


Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the technical operation of KQAL-FM, as well as some facts about Winona’s other radio stations:

Call Sign: KQAL
Licensee: Winona State University
City of License: Winona, Minnesota
Frequency: 89.5 MHz
FM Channel: 208
FM Class: C3
Transmitter Location: Rooster Ridge Lane, Buffalo County, WI
44° 04′ 26″ North Latitude, 91° 34′ 38″ West Longitude
Transmitter: (Primary) Nautel VS1
(Secondary) Nautel V1
(Tertiary) McMartin BF-1K
Telemetry can be seen here.
Exciter: (Primary) Nautel VS1
(Secondary) Nautel M50
(Tertiary) Continental 802D1
Licensed Transmitter Power Output: 900 watts
Effective Radiated Power: 2500 watts
Antenna: Shively, 6810-3R-DA, 3 bay with radomes, directional (azimuth 263°), circularly polarized, power gain 3.358
Height of Radiation Center
Above Ground:
413 feet
Height of Radiation Center
Above Average Terrain:
688 feet
Overall Tower Height: 466 feet
Transmission Line: Andrew, HJ7-50A Heliax, 1-5/8 inch diameter, air dielectric
Transmission Line Length: 427 feet
Transmission Line Efficiency: 83%
Aural STL Call Sign: WLP-351
Aural STL Frequencies: 949.3625 MHz (left channel), 949.6125 MHz (right channel)
Audio Processor/Stereo Generator: Omnia One FM
RDS Generator: Inovonics 730
Modulation Monitor: Inovonics 531
Remote Control: Sine Systems RFC-1/B
Remote Control Link: dial-up telephone line
Remote Pickup Call Sign: KA-74942
Remote Pickup Frequency: 161.76 MHz
Studio Location: Room 104, Phelps Hall, Winona State University
Studio Equipment: Axia Element console with Axia Livewire IP audio distribution, Audioarts D-70 digital console, Tascam CD players, Technics turntables, BSI Simian hard-drive-based automation system, Yamaha digital effects processor, JK Audio telephone hybrid, Sage and TFT EAS equipment, Dell computers, AudioScience sound cards, Tieline codecs
Major software used: Associated Press NewsDesk, Adobe Audition, BSI Simian, BSI Speedy, A-Ware MusicMaster for Windows, Orban Opticodec PE
Satellite Technology: Two antennas looking at AMC-1 and AMC-3
Streaming Technology: Orban Optimod PC 1100 sound card feeding an Orban Opticodec PE encoder driving an Apple QuickTime Streaming Server. A 100% digital path from CD to your speakers.

Here is some information about Winona’s other radio stations:

Station Effective
Radiated Power
Antenna Height
Above Average Terrain
Owner Notes
KAGE-FM 95.3 11,000 watts 495 feet KAGE, Inc.
KAGE-AM 1380 4,000 watts N.A. KAGE, Inc. daytime only
KHME-FM 101.1 5,000 watts 741 feet KAGE, Inc. directional antenna
KQAL-FM 89.5 2,500 watts 688 feet Winona State University directional antenna
KSMR-FM 92.5 4 watts (-)141 feet St. Mary’s University
KWNO-FM 99.3 11,000 watts 495 feet KAGE, Inc. directional antenna (Rushford is actually city of license)
KWNO-AM 1230 1,000 watts N.A. KAGE, Inc.
K203BR 88.5 62 watts 400 feet Faith Sound translator for KFSI-FM Rochester
K232CZ 94.3 104 watts (-)213 feet St. Mary’s University translator for KSMR-FM Winona
K270AB 101.9 8 watts (-)118 feet Minnesota Public Radio translator for KZSE-FM Rochester
K280EI 103.9 140 watts 348 feet Family Radio translator for KQYB-FM Spring Grove, directional antenna
W297AW 107.3 235 watts 688 feet Minnesota Public Radio translator for KLSE-FM Rochester, directional antenna

Find any other radio station in the world with radio-locator.