Jan 24, 2014
Humboldt County’s radio dial is about to get a bit more crowded. Thanks to recent FCC approval of campus radio station KRFH’s application for a low-power FM license, the student-run radio station will soon be broadcasting over the air to a radio near you.
KRFH – which previously offered an Internet-only broadcast – will transmit its signal locally, allowing broader access to programming and additional opportunities for students to hone their radio skills.
“The ability to broadcast adds legitimacy to the student’s efforts,” faculty advisor Cliff Berkowitz said. “It also means they will be able to garner a much broader audience from not only the student body but from the citizens of northern Humboldt County.”
Already involving 60-85 journalism students, the educational opportunity widens with the station’s new capabilities, Berkowitz said. “The students will have an actual broadcast radio station that will no longer be a simulation of a broadcast,” he said. “It will be real.”
Lending itself to the FCC’s approval was the station’s reputation for cutting-edge, content-rich production. Since its inception in 1990, KRFH has won a variety of awards for its programming, which ranges from creative newscasts to music, and more recently, live webcasts of selected Lumberjack sporting events.
“No format change is expected,” Berkowitz said. “KRFH is a free form student-run station, and it will remain that way. However, I do expect more public interaction, including live broadcasts from campus events.”
While the evolution of broadcasting has seen radio transmissions become accessible online, KRFH will take advantage of a directly converse route. One major plus of being on the airwaves is the ability to reach radio listeners during peak time slots, Berkowitz said.
“In-car listening is one of radio’s biggest draws,” Berkowitz said. “ We expect this will enable KRFH to interact with the community much more.
Berkowitz expects construction to be completed in a few weeks, allowing radio listeners from McKinleyville to parts of Eureka to tune in via the 100-watt frequency.
Helping cover construction needs – which include installation of antenna bays – is a $12,000 award from Humboldt State President Rollin Richmond generated through a Presidential Lottery grant. An already-existing transmission tower installed on the Theater Arts Building will be used to send out the signal.