AM College Radio: Thoughts - Page 2
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Thread: AM College Radio: Thoughts

  1. #11

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    We had an AM here at the University of Central Arkansas until recently.

    KCON 1230 AM was removed from the air on March 10th and the license was returned to the FCC so the tower and transmitter site could be transformed into a parking lot. The school still has its non-commerical educational station KUCA 91.3 FM.

    KCON went out of business as a commerical operation in 1998 and the ownership decided to transfer the license and equipment to the university to use as a student operated station, which it did until March 10th of this year.

    What we basically did was our first and second year students spent time on KCON learning their skills and then we would move them over to the FM their final two years.

    KCON had its purpose while at the university. Attempts were made to save it, but to no avail.

    Monty Rowell
    General Manager of Broadcast Services
    University of Central Arkansas

  2. #12

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    WBTN Bennington VT
    WDCR Hanover NH
    Last I heard, WBTN (AM) sounded just like any other boring commercial AM station. I mean, Bill O'Reilly? Snore. At least their web site indicates they have some locally-programmed material too. And the other day, when I passed through the area, WDCR was simply repeating its boring cookie-cutter active rocker commercial FM sister station, as it apparently always does in the summer. I wonder if they do anything more interesting when school's in. At least Yale's WYBC (AM) was playing something vaguely interesting, but still pretty commercial-sounding -- I think I heard some early '90s modern rock or some such.

    I live just outside a college campus which had a low-power AM. In fact, I could only pick it up because my radio was plugged into the wall. I was told a portable radio wouldn't work.
    This is called a "carrier-current" station if I'm not mistaken. It's not a "real" AM station that broadcasts over the air -- its signal is only carried through the electrical power system of the dorms (and not always all of the dorms either, because they have to spend more money to get it out to all dorms' electrical systems).

    Lots and lots of colleges have carrier-current AM stations, sometimes as training grounds for the "real" (FM) station at that college, and sometimes just because there's no room on the radio dial for a "real" station for that college.

    One benefit is that a CC station doesn't need to be licensed by the FCC and doesn't have to follow FCC language restrictions. Intense profanity? No problem.

    Last I heard, lots of schools in NYC had carrier-current stations, because how could these stations fit onto the actual broadcast dial with the incredibly crowded NYC landscape?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_current

    (I think that's a pretty incomplete list of CC AM stations, unless an enormous number of them have ceased to exist in the past 10 years, which is entirely possible.)

    Incidentally, my alma mater, Drew University in Madison NJ, had a carrier-current AM station way back in the early '80s, before they got a 10-watt FM station. They story was that the CC AM station was called WERD and supposedly it leaked out to the surrounding community somehow, and offended a lot of the townies, presumably due to lots of cursing. I was at Drew in the '90s and we coveted those WERD call letters. "Drew" spelled backwards is much funnier than boring old WMNJ. In any case, lots of abuse was heaped upon WMNJ (one DJ used to say, on the air, something like "I can get up on the roof and whiz farther than our signal goes, and that's our new motto!") but I used to try to tell them, "Hey at least we're not stuck with carrier-current!" But nobody at Drew knew what that was.

    I wouldn't mess with an AM signal. Not even if it was free. Its still a major power bill.
    True, a real AM broadcast signal eats up gigantic amounts of power, and most modern music doesn't sound very good on AM. Oldies, some classic rock, classic country, nostalgia, etc., sound OK on AM, but most college stations aren't playing a lot of that (except for some classic rock). But webcasting is getting way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way more expensive (see the "Save Internet Radio" link above) and so broadcast AM may NOW look more attractive after all.

  3. #13

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    I think it is basically a matter of opinion. To me, the AM signal is a weakness if you are looking for something that is more polished, but for college radio I think it can still work but I also think adding talk to the format helps.

  4. #14

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    URH (University Radio Hilo) in Hilo, Hawaii, has a low-power AM station at 1640. Unlike the other AM college stations, University Radio Hilo doesn't use conventional call letters, i.e., K??? or W???. Instead, they use URH.

  5. #15
    bub
    Guest

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    In addition to WYBC AM 1340 in New Haven, Ct., there's also WQUN AM 1220 in Hamden, Ct. at Quinnipiac University. It's used mainly as a training ground for the school's communications and journalism students; although they are the New Haven market home of the Red Sox.

  6. #16

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    The U of Delaware had a carrier current AM station back in the late 60's -early 70's (640 WHEN). Today they have an FM station WVUD 91.3 that covers about 1/2 of the metro area. I'd find it hard to believe that today's college student would tune in to an AM station, especially in a town where there are other popular radio music choices on FM. One of the other posters makes a good point about Universities focusing more on Ipods, and Internet broadcasts, etc, that would seem to be where the 18-22 aged crowd has their ear's today.
    An older person is a younger person, on the inside, wondering what the heck happened???

  7. #17

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    KPSU broadcasts at 1450 in the Portland/Vancouver WA area on 1450 Monday through Friday 9am to 2am as well as Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2am. Albeit, this station shares time with KBPS. Someone posted a link to this station, but I'll repost it here: http://www.kpsu.org/. It is shall we say an 'interesting' listen with a wide variety of music.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikefromDelaware
    The U of Delaware had a carrier current AM station back in the late 60's -early 70's (640 WHEN). Today they have an FM station WVUD 91.3 that covers about 1/2 of the metro area. I'd find it hard to believe that today's college student would tune in to an AM station, especially in a town where there are other popular radio music choices on FM. One of the other posters makes a good point about Universities focusing more on Ipods, and Internet broadcasts, etc, that would seem to be where the 18-22 aged crowd has their ear's today.
    The problem with many commercial FM stations is that they will not play music that does have some sort of appeal. If you're lucky to live in an area which has a decent pool of non-comm FMs to choose from that play a wide variety of music, then you're in luck! Otherwise you're SOL! I live in the Washington area, cannot get WMUC out of college park and the only truly run college station around is WTMD out of Towson State U. Frankly, you can call me someone who lives in the past but I think an AM station (particularly a small operation) these days could be a good avenue for someone trying to get their feet wet in broadcasting! You mentioned northern Delaware in your piece and I think that Newark's 1260 would be an excellent station for a college to take over.

  8. #18

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by klutch00
    The problem with many commercial FM stations is that they will not play music that does have some sort of appeal. If you're lucky to live in an area which has a decent pool of non-comm FMs to choose from that play a wide variety of music, then you're in luck! Otherwise you're SOL! I live in the Washington area, cannot get WMUC out of college park and the only truly run college station around is WTMD out of Towson State U. Frankly, you can call me someone who lives in the past but I think an AM station (particularly a small operation) these days could be a good avenue for someone trying to get their feet wet in broadcasting! You mentioned northern Delaware in your piece and I think that Newark's 1260 would be an excellent station for a college to take over.
    Speaking of WMUC. With the recent power increase by WYPR, a co-channel station out of Baltimore, WMUC is now only listenable for maybe two or three miles away from the transmitter at most. That said, I'm thinking that what UM might want to make Radio-One "an offer they can't refuse," buy WYCB and have it be the voice for the college. If they were to drop the power to, say 250 watts unlimited time in an effort to save costs, that may be an option to consider.

  9. #19
    carlvenorden
    Guest

    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    Why not try a part 15 AM operation?
    Providing you have some audio equipment, mostly cd players or if you are lucky, a cheap mixer, you can put out a high fidelity signal on a clear high AM frequency.

    It's affordable. Check out sstran.com for the transmitter; it is about $100 bucks, built. It's high quality and wide bandwidth.
    I build the antenna and ground system/coil for it, and you are talking about a nice AM station for way under $1000...way under.

    Research and find a clear AM frequency near your school that is between 1500 and 1700am.
    I build coils that will work down to 1300AM, but your best bet is to keep as high as possible for clearer frequencies.

    email me at wcrv977fm@aol.com for more information........subject line, "antenna for low power AM".
    Get into broadcasting legally: it's a kick!
    Carl

  10. #20
    cyberdad's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
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    Re: AM College Radio: Thoughts

    I was part of a carrier current college radio station that broadcast on 570 am. Small town Iowa/late 60s. (If you saw "Animal House", you pretty much get the picture). Audio quality was actually quite good....even when only hooked up to a PA amp and turntable. You also didn't need to plug into ac power to hear it....the signal was just fine with battery-operated units. The signal leaked out quite nicely (even though it wasn't supposed to) and covered most of the town for a range of about a mile or two. Lots of townies could...and did...tune in. Car radio reception in the general campus area was no particular problem, either.

    When remodelling took down our studio-transmitter link, we went down to the local hardware store, and with five bucks worth of speaker wire, we were back in business....moving to temporary quarters in a vacant dorm room.

    I especially liked our on-air slogans...

    "Radio Free Iowa"
    "Broadcasting from Between the Johns" (we were located between the men's and women's restrooms of the student union)
    "The only radio station to have been campused" (given the leakage of the xmtr, we didn't really live up to that one)
    Owner of a radio receiver

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