Friday, October 2, 2009

Radio K Goes FM

Yesterday was a big day for Radio K (KUOM) at University of Minnesota. After more than 80 years of broadcasting from University of Minnesota (under various call signs), the station has finally ventured onto FM. In recent years they've been on AM and online, with terrestrial broadcasts ceasing when the sun went down.

As of October 1st, they will be broadcasting 24/7, utilizing three different FM channels reaching various parts of the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. They will still broadcast online and over AM.

A piece on City Pages points out:

"It's a big leap for the college radio station, who has gradually grown over the years from a daytime AM station to one that would move to the FM dial after the sun went down to allow continuous broadcasting.

'This is a huge milestone for us because we've always been a daytime-only AM station and have been waiting to get a full-time FM signal since Radio K formed,' says programmer Amy Daml."

It's impressive to me that radio is still such a strong force at University of Minnesota after all of these years. Radio experiments began on campus in 1912, an experimental radio license was granted in 1920, and a radio broadcast license was issued in 1922.

According to Radio K's website:

"The University received the first radio broadcasting license in the state of Minnesota on January 13, 1922 for the call sign WLB. The station is the 10th oldest station still on the air, beating out WHA at the University of Wisconsin Madison by a few hours. That also makes Radio K the oldest licensed non-commercial broadcast station in the country."

So I guess they are yet another contender for the "oldest college radio station" title.

To see a bit more about the history of college radio in Minnesota, take a look at my profile of the Carleton College radio station KRLX.

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