From AM to FM: Radio K plans acquisition of new frequency

Monica LaBelle

Campus AM radio station 770 Radio K, KUOM, plans to gain an FM frequency this December, but the University campus won’t be able to receive it.

Radio K staff say the new low-power FM frequency will only be available in St. Louis Park and Minneapolis’ Uptown area.

“It won’t be heard on campus, certainly not in St. Paul,” station manager Andy Marlow said.

The 106.5 FM frequency would be shared with the St. Louis Park school district allowing Radio K to broadcast when St. Louis Park High School is not in session, Marlow said.

The station will broadcast simultaneously on FM and AM in addition to its current Web stream, allowing for 24-hour-a-day radio broadcasts. The FM signal should sound better than the AM frequency and should take care of reception problems in steel-framed buildings, Marlow said.

The FM station will commence once Radio K is able to find a system to move audio equipment to the transmitter in St. Louis Park, said Karla Klaustermeier, programming director at Radio K. The station will also need to put together software that will allow music to play without a human announcer for late-night broadcasts, she said.

“Ideally it would be a live DJ, but it takes time and training to get DJs in. We haven’t really had a lot of time because of the fund-raiser,” Klaustermeier said.

Radio K is in the midst of its fall fund-raiser, the PowerSurge.

Marlow says there is no special urgency for the fund-raiser this year because the money needed to transport equipment and develop new software comes from the station’s reserves.

“The fund-raiser is strictly to maintain our regular operations,” Marlow said.

Also, the station will not be affected by recent regulations under the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel established to negotiate agreements between record companies and Web radio stations such as Radio K.

Radio K will not have to worry about paying the new royalties per song because it’s eligible for funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Radio K’s small staff, annual budget and educational training value makes it eligible for the corporation to pay all of the fees under the new regulations.

“I suspect they negotiated a really low fee,” Marlow said of the corporation.

Radio stations with 10 or fewer full-time employees are exempt from reporting the IP addresses of every listener for every song.

The college station is run by a full-time staff of six with 13 part-time student employees and an estimated 110 volunteers.


Monica LaBelle welcomes comments at [email protected]