February 28, 2000 Vol. IV, No. 11

KCSN to the San Fernando Valley: Loud and Clear!

Campus Public Radio Outlet Debuts Year with New Transmitter and Theme

In a move that should significantly strengthen its signal to San Fernando Valley residents, Cal State Northridge public radio station KCSN (88.5 FM) has launched a new transmitter that will boost the station's signal with a sixfold increase in operating power.

"The station, the university and our listeners are pretty ecstatic. This is the culmination of a 10-year project," said Rene Engel, station general manager. "We already know the main goal, to improve our signal in our main service area, seems to be working," Engel added.

KCSN also began the new year with a new slogan, "The Best of Public Radio," which gradually will supplant the station's recent slogan, "Radio for Music Lovers." Engel said the new theme better reflects KCSN's focus on offering exceptional programming, often not available elsewhere in Los Angeles.

Even though the station now is housed on campus in the University Park Apartments, KCSN's signal to its San Fernando Valley market for the past decade has been inconsistent at best. With the new transmitter site that went into service last week, Engel said the station now should be coming in loud and clear.

The old transmitter, operating at a meager 52 watts power, was located in Loop Canyon in the east San Fernando Valley, which allowed the station to reach the Santa Clarita Valley. The newly installed transmitter, on Oat Mountain in the Santa Susana Mountains, will run at 320 watts and cover both valleys.

Getting the new transmitter was a decade-long process that cost up to $150,000, said Engel, a former KCSN staffer who returned to head the operation in 1997. Part of the delay was due to opposition from KSBR, the Saddleback College station in Orange County that shares KCSN's frequency.

With all the logistical changes completed, Engel said he hopes the station can increasingly focus on building both its reputation and audience in the crowded Los Angeles radio market. One chief appeal will be that KCSN listeners can get high-quality public radio programming not available elsewhere in L.A.

KCSN local exclusives include "Performance Today," one of National Public Radio's flagship programs; "American Routes," a survey of American vernacular music from Public Radio International, and "A Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor, brief five-minute segments that air twice daily.

In addition, Engel said KCSN during its overnights is airing more hours than any other local station of the BBC World Service, which incorporates news, information and arts programming. All of that is in addition to a still-significant classical music format during weekdays, and other station-produced programming.

"I think we still have an unfulfilled level of success and awareness within the university community," Engel added. An annual subscription to the station runs $40 and includes mailings of KCSN's quarterly program guide. The station is on the Internet at www.kcsn.org and can be reached at (818) 677-3090.


February 28, 2000

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