The radio started broadcasting its programme in 1969, when it was founded by the Association of Students of the University of Ljubljana, which was eager to present an outlet for local students, who had also woken up during the turbulent year of 1968. However, from its beginnings Radio Student has been one of the few local asylums of alternative independent journalism and the only electronic media open to new aesthetics and approaches in various fields of arts and culture.
The explosion of punk rock and independent musical production of the late 1970’s and the beginning of economical and political crisis in Yugoslavia in the early 80’s strongly shifted the focus of Radio Student to more controvert social and political issues. This was a period of the quick rise of the widely respected Radio Student school of journalism, which still lays a strong emphasis on bringing down the walls of taboos and on practising freedom of speech and thought.
Today, the radio daily broadcasts 17 hours of its own programme during the week and 14 during weekends. About 200 regular contributors are involved: journalists, art and music critics, D.J.s, announcers (who have always added strong personal flavour to the programme moderated) and technicians (who also give significant personal touch to the programme by their hilarious use of radio jingles and their interest in radio puns), etc. The majority of them are students, and a number of them are highly respected intellectuals, journalists, artists and university lecturers.
Four different editorial departments make up the radio – for culture and humanities, for university and science, for current politics and for music. The latter is characterised by a heartfelt and absorbed presentation of edgy, marginalised and provocative music from around the world, ranging from alternative rock, jazz and improvised music, avant-garde and folk music, to experimental electronica, musique concrète and techno, together with its other clubbing derivatives.
In between these departments are radio shows run by and for the Roma population and other ethnic minorities, shows on drugs, video games and technology, 'live radio comics', radio art and many other, often very unique radio emissions.
A public assemblage held in support of Radio Študent (RŠ) in the autumn of 2013, when drastic cuts to its budget were proposed
RŠ programming policy fuses community radio and public service concepts. From its earliest days the station has promoted civil society initiatives, particularly in connection with urban lifestyles, freedom of speech, cultural diversity, tolerance, social solidarity and human rights. Due to the variety and range of its contributors, many innovative cultural, political and social initiatives have sprung from the activities of Radio Študent in itself.
Music-wise, a very important project is the Club Marathon. Set out to discover and encourage young and relatively unknown Slovene musicians that show originality, creativity and the potential to evolve, the main part of the Marathon is a six-week tour by six selected bands to 20 clubs in Slovenia. The station also offers a recording studio service for young bands and runs its own publishing programme – the Radio Študent Records. With regards to that, RŠ organises the TRESK Festival, a two-day event dedicated to record labels.
RŠ was one of the founders of the AMARC Europe – the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. It collaborated with non-commercial community radio stations from Banja Luka, Belgrade, Mostar, Novi Sad, Sarajevo, Sombor, Skopje, Zrenjanin, Zurich, and Basel on the Crossradio Initiative project.
The educational mission of Radio Študent is also important; during 2004/05 Radio Študent participated in the EU-funded European Pilot Model for Practical Training for an All-Round Broadcaster, a training project for young people interested in journalism and broadcasting.