This year, Cal Poly’s radio station, KCPR 91.3 FM, will upgrade its studio and expand its coverage area. The station, which began broadcasting in 1968, is one of the only nonprofit college radio stations and is completely run by student volunteers.
The current studio is located on the second floor of building 26 and will be moved to the third floor next to the CPTV room.
The station is also looking forward to moving its transmitter from “Radio Hill” at Cal Poly to the top of Cuesta Peak. The transmitter currently only broadcasts to the San Luis Obispo area and the move would allow coverage throughout San Luis Obispo County and beyond.
“Everybody in San Luis Obispo County will be able to hear us, including Santa Maria and 20 miles out to sea,” journalism department chair George Ramos said.
Cal Poly had to get permission from Clear Channel, which owns the transmitter, in order to move it, he said. Because more people will be able to hear the station, it is important that the sound quality and programming are good, Ramos added.
Graham Culbertson, co-general manager of KCPR and journalism junior, said that the music played now is mostly “indie rock” bands. There are also a variety of shows including punk, rasta, metal and Democracy Now.
During the school year, journalism students will also broadcast news and sports shows. The station also plays music from local bands and used to even allow bands to play live on the air, Culbertson said.
“We have a lot of involvement with local bands,” he said.
Culbertson was a disc jockey for KCPR before he became co-general manager with civil and environmental engineering student Meghann Chell.
Erik Olson, one of KCPR’s music directors, said the move upstairs in building 26 will allow more room in the control area so it is easier to teach in. However, Olson is a little skeptical about when the actual move will happen.
“I don’t think anyone expects this to happen this year,” he said. “There is always something getting in the way.”
Ramos said that construction was due to start in August but has yet to begin. The idea of moving the station started back in 2003 and has been slowly progressing ever since, he said.
“Just because it doesn’t happen right there on the spot, it doesn’t mean it is going to go away,” Ramos said. “Slowly but surely, it is going to happen.”
Culbertson said that KCPR is also looking into podcasting and Web streams this year. Although the station’s volunteers come from all majors, it is trying to bring in more rising journalists.
“One of the things we are working on is to try and integrate more journalism students,” disc jockey Chad Fischer said.
At the beginning of each quarter, KCPR holds a meeting and anyone interested in being on the air or working at the station can apply, Culbertson said.
Music director Diego Baptista said the key to being involved in KCPR is a love for music and not the student’s major.
Anyone interested in KCPR can check out the Web site, www.kcpr.com, or visit the station in building 26.