Expansion project to send KRCU radio signal north to St. Louis area

Monday, June 27, 2005

The station will be able to reach 1.9 million people according to figures from the 2000 census.

The KRCU expansion that has been in the works since the late 1990s has now become a reality.

Southeast Missouri State University president Dr. Ken Dobbins signed a contract earlier this month authorizing construction of a repeater in the Farmington, Mo., area that would allow the station's signal to reach all the way to the St. Louis area.

Installation of the repeater, which will include a transmitter building and a new 195-foot radio tower on Simms Mountain, seven miles south of Park Hills, will allow the station to transmit its broadcast originating in Cape Girardeau to the northern market. The new station will be called KSEF 88.9 FM.

With the repeater KRCU programming can be received by listeners from New Madrid, Mo., in the south to the southern part of St. Louis County in the north. The station will be able to reach 1.9 million people according to figures from the 2000 census.

KRCU general manager Dan Woods said the installation of the repeater will allow the station to reach into an area already served by the university.

"This is going to expand our coverage area substantially and reach into the university's northern service region," Woods said.

KSEF will also serve a large population that currently doesn't have access to public radio programming.

"It's critical for a couple of reasons," said Woods. "The station is providing service to some 30,000 people that don't get a public radio signal at all. The other thing is for recruiting, and Southeast will have a presence there, offering the educational programming that will help expand the university's reach."

The station will have a bit of overlap with a public radio station out of St. Louis, KWMU. Woods said that station, however, has primarily a news/talk format, whereas KRCU offers programming featuring classical and folk music, so the two will serve different markets.

The project comes at a cost of $380,568, $220,568 of which will come from a grant with the university picking up the other $160,000, to be repaid over 10 years by underwriting and fund raising.

Operating the repeater will cost $30,000 to $40,000 per year, while KRCU's operating budget is around $500,000.

Even though cuts could be looming in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the federal agency that helps fund National Public Radio stations like KRCU, it won't affect the installation, said Woods.

"Even if there were some significant cuts, the project will go forward," he said.

Currently KRCU receives about 18 percent of its funding from the CPB. If that money declines, cuts will be made in operating costs, such as programming cuts, Woods said.


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