CSU Northridge -- November 12, 2003

CPB Grant Lets KCSN to 'Go Digital,' Expands Potential Audience

Cal State Northridge’s award winning public radio station soon will “go digital,” joining the nationwide movement toward digital programming over the airwaves.

KCSN 88.5-FM, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will receive a portion of $3 million in grants distributed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to 42 public radio stations in 13 “seed markets” across the country.

CPB President and CEO Robert T. Coonrod said the grants will help stations use digital technology to deliver a new level of service and sound to their listeners. KCSN will use its grant—nearly $110,000—to equip both its main transmitter and a new booster with HD (high definition) Radio digital technology, according to general manager Fred Johnson.

“No one had ever applied for HD Radio booster technology before KCSN,” he said. “We were extremely pleased that CPB decided to accept our application, enabling us to make the leap into digital.”
The booster will give KCSN the potential to reach 400,000 new listeners on Los Angeles’ westside. Currently, it broadcasts to a projected audience of 1.5 million in its coverage area, principally in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.

A necessary go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission, required to proceed with the experimental project, is expected at the beginning of the new year, Johnson said. The payoff in what Coonrod calls a “richer” sound will come later, Johnson noted. “This is a first phase technology, an injection of digital technology within our existing analog technology. But it is a step towards the enriched sound that will come when 100 percent digital technology is available in home and car radios everywhere.”
KCSN’s eclectic programming ranges from classical to surf music as well as informational formats and student-produced newscasts.

Cal State Long Beach’s KKJZ and three other public radio stations in the Los Angeles region also received first round funding from CPB.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu

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