KCHU incorporated as a 501(c)3 October 12, 1980 as Prince William Sound Public Broadcasting, Inc. In 1982, the corporation changed its name to Terminal Radio, Inc. (TRI) and began receiving funds from the Alaska Public Radio Commission. A construction permit, frequency allocation and a transmitter site lease with the City of Valdez were donated to TRI in 1984. Work on the transmitter site began in September 1985. KCHU signed on August 2, 1986 at 1,000 watts as a repeater for KSKA in Anchorage. Independent broadcast began in October 1986. KCHU upgraded to 10,000 watts in 1990.
The Mission of KCHU is to make public radio available to everyone in the Prince William Sound and Copper River regions through the most appropriate technology. VALDEZ is unique, the station chose AM to better serve the maritime operations in the region as that frequency carries more effectively across the waters of Prince William Sound. KCHU provides news stories from all our communities, regional call-in shows and statewide information from the Alaska Public Radio Network. National and international news is available from National Public Radio and other national networks and local affiliates. KCHU supports local non-profit organizations with announcements several times a day. Public Service Announcements provide information about services and events. We broadcast messages and announcements for remote listeners who do not have phones or other methods of communication. Because we are the only radio station available in some of our listening area, KCHU tries to offer a wide variety of entertainment, including diverse music options, humor, and talk shows. We also participate in the Emergency Broadcast System.
Over the years TRI has added sister stations in McCarthy and Glennallen and expanded throughout Prince William Sound and the Copper River Valley. We presently serve Valdez, Cordova, Tatitlek, Whittier, Chenega Bay, Glennallen, Copper Center, McCarthy, Tok, Chitina; in total an area approximately the size of the state of Ohio with a population that ranges from approximately 10,000 in the winter to 25,000 in the summer. Our membership is roughly 300, or 3% of the year-round population of our listening area