Linfield’s student radio station, KSLC 90.3 FM, and a Portland-based classical radio station completed in January a three-year project to relocate KSLC’s broadcast tower. The project increased signal strength and quality for both stations and also saved KSLC thousands of dollars on new equipment.
All Classical 89.9 FM, KQAC, wanted to increase its coverage but doing so would create interference for KSLC’s listeners. The interference would arise because KSLC’s broadcast is so powerful in McMinnville, Larry Holtz, vice president of engineering at All Classical, said. The Federal Communications Commission would not have allowed the conflict in signal power.
“It turned out that there are some hilltops four miles southwest of the McMinnville campus that KSLC could broadcast from,” Holtz said. “It would actually take care of our problem, moving them farther away from town, but KSLC would be stronger overall and have more coverage.”
The nonprofit radio station approached KSLC in 2008 about relocating KSLC’s broadcast tower from behind Renshaw Hall to somewhere out of town.
“It’s less expensive for them to pay to move a small station like us than to engineer around us,” KSLC Faculty Adviser Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, said.
Huntsberger has been working on the project since he joined the Linfield faculty in 2009.
Moving KSLC’s tower to Meredith Mitchell Vineyards, which is about five miles from Linfield, had numerous benefits for Linfield and KSLC. KSLC General Manager, junior Eric Tompkins said the radius of the station’s coverage increased by about 15 miles but that he and Huntsberger are still testing the reach.
To Huntsberger, the principal perk was new equipment. The outdated equipment in Renshaw was the same gear carried over from Pioneer Hall, where KSLC was based until 2007. All Classical provided all of the equipment, such as a new antenna, transmitter and computer, and the tower and labor for the relocation project.
Holtz said the total cost was about $60,000.
Students will also have the opportunity to intern at All Classical in Portland.
The project took three years to complete because of setbacks such as obtaining land-use permits and contracts from the FCC, construction delays because of extreme weather and harvest season and equipment installation.
The stations continue to work together. Holtz said that All Classical approached Linfield about a deal to purchase HD broadcasting for 90.3 FM in December 2010. He said the Portland station would pay for $25,000 of equipment if the college would pay for the license to broadcast in HD, which Huntsberger said was made possible by a donation from President Thomas Hellie.
KSLC will be the first radio station in Yamhill County to have HD, Holtz said. It will mean a strengthened signal quality and allow both KSLC and All Classical to broadcast from 90.3 FM.
These changes come at a time during which KSLC is working to stream online. Tomkins and Huntsberger said this will hopefully occur before the end of Spring Semester.
But Huntsberger said there’s still a lot of tinkering to do with the equipment from the All Classical deal before streaming and HD are placed ahead on the priority list.
“I am looking forward to a kind of public day of celebration and appreciation for the campus, but for right now we’re just trying to make sure everything does what it’s supposed to do,” Huntsberger said. “Stay tuned.”
Kelley Hungerford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.