KSDT Hopes to Buy FM Frequency

After launching plans to purchase an AM radio tower last Spring Quarter, student-run radio station KSDT is now looking into purchasing a FM station.

“It’s a more feasible option,” KSDT General Manager Meredith Wong said. “FM is not as likely, but it would be better.”

With the help of a consultant from a non-profit organization called Common Frequency, KSDT identified an FM station near campus that has recently stopped broadcasting. The FM station is not currently for sale, but KSDT hopes to purchase it if it becomes available in the future.

“We couldn’t find an AM signal and then the FM possibility came up,” KSDT Operations Manager Anabel De La Parra said. “Because of the nature of getting a radio signal, it’s hard to get one that’s not already taken and that broadcasts here in the area. So now we are really just waiting to see if they are going to sell the signal.”

Consultant Todd Urick — who found the FM radio station and will help with its purchase — is providing assistance free of charge until KSDT acquires the frequency.

Wong said a FM frequency would take less work to put together since KSDT would have a tower and an open frequency instead of needing to purchase a $100,000 tower. The station is working on obtaining a license.

According to Wong, the sound quality of an AM frequency is not as good as an FM frequency.
FM frequencies are in higher demand by music stations because of superior sound quality. She said they also cost more and are regulated more extensively.

Currently, KSDT is an Internet radio station accessible at www.ksdt.ucsd.edu, or downloadable on iTunes.
Wong said that if KSDT obtains an FM frequency, its content would focus on the UCSD community instead of a global community.

“It would be a resource on campus to use as a communication tool,” Wong said.

KSDT also hopes to expand by implementing online video streaming, as well as iPod application software that would be written by the station’s sound engineers. These new aspects would enable performers to reach a larger audience since they are new outlets through which students can reach the audience.

“We’re trying to make KSDT more smartphone-compatible and interactive,” Wong said.
KSDT Sound Engineer Eli Pechman said these new features would be beneficial to the station’s popularity.

“We are trying to change our function a little,” Pechman said. “Right now, we are strictly an Internet radio station, and lots of people who listen to us are not necessarily connected with the school. The new features would be outlets for students to expose themselves to a bigger audience.”

The KSDT managers do not know how much it would cost to purchase a FM frequency.

Additional reporting by Regina Ip.