The earliest inspiration for KVNF started back in the early '70s at the University of Denver where station founder Campbell Stanton got his start at KCFR (now Colorado Public Radio). In 1978, after moving to Paonia, Stanton and a core group of volunteers distributed a survey in the North Fork Valley to find out whether the local community wanted their own radio station. The response was positive and fundraising began. The station was first incorporated as North Fork Valley Public Radio, Inc., on January 27, 1978. Stanton and friends converted his garage on Garvin Mesa, northeast of Paonia, into KVNF's first studio and located the original, used 10-watt transmitter that first put the station on the air.
On October 5th, 1979, after FCC approval, KVNF officially broadcast its first show. Starting from just 10 watts of power, KVNF grew to 500 and then 3000 watts, with a small network of translators and full powered repeaters spouting up in Delta, Montrose, Ridgway, Ouray, Lake City, Nucla, Norwood, Grand Junction and throughout the Grand Valley.
As KVNF grew so did the informational needs of Western Colorado and the demand for programming from NPR. KVNF could not afford NPR's full membership dues, but after some negotiating, KVNF was instrumental in convincing NPR to create a new category of NPR membership, the "auxiliary membership," making NPR programming affordable to many small and rural stations.
Today, KVNF includes local, regional and national news. A robust local news effort has gained speed since 2006 when KVNF moved into a state-of-the-art “green” radio station facility in a newly renovated 6,000 square foot building on Paonia’s Grand Avenue. In addition to the news efforts KVNF has created a signature musical sound characterized by wide ranging multiple genre music shows which are programmed by more than 80 community volunteers.
KVNF continues to grow and in 2019 KVNF started construction on Studio M, a satellite studio located in Montrose, Colorado. Studio M will connect with the main station in Paonia, to allow members from the Montrose and Ouray areas to be volunteer DJs in their community.
KVNF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and receives its revenues from three primary sources: membership donations, underwriting, and grants.