Prior to the 1970s, WSRN operated as a carrier signal broadcast to the campus of Swarthmore College only. Following efforts by the FCC to take over such low power frequencies, a campaign was raised by the students of the college, and in the late 1970s, the FCC granted a licence for a 110-watt, directional, transmission. According to the regulations in force at the time, any station with a signal wattage of 100 watts or less was considered to be a low-power station and subject to limitation in favor of larger stations. Programming was eclectic from the 1970s on. A prime example was the classical music program by Maureen Cavanaugh ('75) who played Alan's Psychedilic Breakfast by Pink Floyd alongside Mozart. Station programming is diverse; music spans "world," hip hop, blues, folk, rock, pop, R & B, and classical. Talk and comedy programs comprise much of the weekend line-up. "Strong Eliza" is the only scripted sitcom currently on the air.
In 1986, the main on-air studio was completely refurbished, with a new control panel, turntables, microphones, and wiring installed. 1988 saw the rewiring and modernization of the production studio and the construction of an acoustically isolated sound studio connected to the production studio.
Students have always manned the soundboard and so on most summers the station is dark.