Student-run AM daytimer adds FM translators


Students at the University of Minnesota will finally have something to listen to at night. Their 87-year-old KUOM-AM St. Paul on Thursday fired up two FM translators. 

“Radio K broadcasting on FM 24/7 is what our listeners have been requesting for many years, and we’re thrilled to reach this historic milestone,” said station manager Sara Miller. “The FM signal will improve over time – our goal is to raise funds that will allow us to improve the sound quality as well as increase the height of the FM tower to increase our audience size,” she added.

KUOM, which has been on the air since January 13, 1922, claims to be the oldest radio station in Minnesota and the oldest college station in the nation. But it has been limited to daytime-only broadcasting on 770 kHz. Of course, it has been streaming on the Internet, but it is now available 24/7 over the air in the heart of Minneapolis and adjacent St. Paul.

One of the new translators is located in downtown Minneapolis, operating on 104.5 MHz. The other, on 100.7 MHz, is licensed to Falcon Heights and is located at the AM transmitter site on the university’s golf course. So, it covers much of St. Paul, including the campus.

Student-run Radio K describes its format as “an eclectic variety of independent music both new and old.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s not just commercial AMs which benefit from the FCC’s new translator rules. 

And we would use this opportunity to remind AMs that were using FM translators under special temporary authority (STA), you have to notify the FCC under the new rule to keep them legal. Check out the recent column in RBR-TVBR by Womble Carlyle Sandridge Rice attorney Peter Gutmann.