Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


More alternative radio is better

In 10 years, we can hopefully celebrate a de-cade of two local alternative radio stations.

Until recently, the University-funded Radio K, AM 770, was the only radio station of its kind on Twin Cities airwaves. The student-run station plays an array of delicious alternative music. Last week’s launch of 89.3 FM The Current has given Radio K competition and a very different outlook.

All interested parties should facilitate a reality where listeners can enjoy both stations.

The Current features an alternative rotation including that which can be heard on the University’s Radio K, but goes further by including a much wider selection and variety of music. The two stations are likely to compete for underwriting dollars, noncommercial radio’s version of advertising, as they serve almost identical audiences.

Radio K has other reasons to worry about its rating. The station’s signal is inconsistent. Also, being an AM station, Radio K has to power down or even turn off at nighttime to avoid clashing with frequencies from protected AM stations. This means that in the winter, the station is almost impossible to tune in as early as 4:30 p.m. Radio K is working on establishing an FM frequency, but has a number of negotiations to deal with before the process can be pushed along.

Because Radio K is so hard to tune in and does not do enough to promote itself, not as many students, who might enjoy it, know about it. Because it is run by Minnesota Public Radio, The Current will be easier for people to come across while flipping through channels.

But the best scenario is one where both stations succeed and thrive in the long term. The further spreading of alternative music across the Twin Cities area is good for both stations, but more importantly, the competition will be good for the listeners.

As such, Radio K must get its FM station running as soon as possible and learn to promote itself better on and off campus.

The University also has an interest in seeing this through. Radio K is a point of pride for much of the community and a training ground for students. Finally, while it’s hard to tell at this early date, it seems The Current’s programming is not as edgy as Radio K’s. If push comes to financially shove Radio K, the University should step up and increase its support of Radio K.

Hopefully, Radio K will see its audience increase as The Current pulls new listeners in. For the listener, there will finally be twice the amount of alternative music to choose from. The competition between the two stations will most likely cause each station to become better at serving their own audiences.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *