Journalism Professor Tom Riegel founded WLUR as a laboratory for teaching news writing and reporting. Some classical music was played as well. WLUR's studios, offices and transmitter were built on the third floor of Reid Hall.
Richard E. Gooch '30 established an endowment for WLUR. Gooch, a former W&L journalism major who made his career in broadcasting, left the endowment in the form of an insurance policy. The Richard E. Gooch Endowment stills funds a portion of WLUR's operations.
Throughout the 1970s WLUR's programming expanded to include jazz, rock, and other styles of music. By the mid-1970s WLUR's effective radiated power (ERP) had also increased from 10 watts to approximately 175 watts.
Throughout the decade, the station's music collection and the size of its staff continued to grow. By the mid '80s it was the one of the largest extracurricular activities on campus. In the meantime, the broadcast journalism curriculum became more television-centered. As was the trend at many college radio stations during this time, the overall emphasis of WLUR shifted towards music.
By 1992 the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications had discontinued the last remaining radio class. Although WLUR remained under the umbrella of the department, it became a strictly extracurricular activity.
In July of 2001, direction of WLUR was transferred from the journalism department to the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. The WLUR studios were relocated from Reid Hall to the Early-Fielding Center while a new transmitter site was erected at the Student Activities Pavilion. The station remained silent while construction took place.
The station resumed regularly scheduled broadcasting in October. For the first time in its history, WLUR was provided with a full-time General Manager. Under Ben Losi '02, WLUR was completely restructured in regards to facilities, organization, and programming.
WLUR moved to a new facility in the John W. Elrod University Commons in October 2006. In January 2007, the station began a 24-hour format with the addition of BBC news and NPR talk programming from Radio IQ, a service of WVTF public radio in Roanoke.