KSU Owl Radio Preparing for Transition to AM Radio

By KRISHONA FORD

Kennesaw State University’s own Owl Radio is working on transitioning to an AM platform for its listeners.

Various media outlets on campus as well as outside sources have gathered since 2009 to create a plan for the implementation of the change, which may finally come to fruition during the fall 2013 semester.

Switching to AM radio will allow students to listen to Owl Radio broadcasts daily from their vehicles, eliminating the need to utilize a computer or smart phone to view the shows as they have thus far. While the thought almost sounds complicated, according to Carl DeBeer, tech director of Owl Radio, making the switch to “low-powered AM” will not be very difficult at all. 

“These stations are not regulated by the FCC so anyone with the equipment may set one up,” he said. “Since we won’t have to fight the FCC to get a license like we would for AM or FM at high-power, low-power AM will be out first step in growing the reach of the station.”

So far, the equipment is in Owl Radio’s possession, but the right engineer is the only piece of the puzzle that is missing.  Once an engineer installs the equipment properly, the new AM station will be ready to broadcast. But do not expect to listen beyond KSU boundaries just yet.

“Legal says we can only broadcast on campus so we will have to lower the strength of our tower so we do not bleed off campus,” said DeBeer.

Student Media Adviser Ed Bonza, overseer of the conversion process, reached out to the Owl Radio staff last month, informing the staff that what he projected was the last meeting on the matter was complete, and that he determined that the roof of the student center was the best fit for an antenna.  He confirmed that plans are moving forward and even requested help locating the engineer, highlighting a strong desire for “a Georgia-based engineer or specialist with experience in AM or LPAM.”

Currently, Owl Radio broadcasts solely via U-stream, an online video cast that allows listeners to actually view the radio shows during their broadcast.  While the method has definitely been popular, the switch to AM has many at Owl Radio very excited about the changes to come.

“I’m sure the change won’t take place until after I’ve graduated,” said Kyle Smith, music director of Owl Radio and host of his own late-night show. “I still think it’s going to be pretty cool going AM because of the new exposure, and exposure is always good when it comes to media.”

Use of the new AM radio in conjunction with the U-stream, has yet to be confirmed.  However, given the popularity of simultaneous radio and Internet broadcast utilized by larger FM stations, it is a quite an exciting possibility to have the two.

“I hope they do keep both,” said Colette Thompson, part-time student at KSU.  “That would sure show an increase in listeners, because they’ve got more than one way to tune in.”

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