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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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KMSU helps Austin sister station develop programming

KMSK Austin getting its own voice, thanks to campus station KMSU.

By Grace Webb, Free Press Correspondent [pulished in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 3/25/2011]

After years of simulcasting KMSU Mankato’s radio content, KMSK Austin is about to get a voice of its own.

Equipment is being moved into a conference room at Riverland Community College in Austin, which will serve as a radio station for KMSK to broadcast live and pre-recorded volunteer-run shows locally. Jim Gullickson, KMSU’s station manager and program director, said it should only take about 10 days to finish installation, which will be a simple but practical set-up. By mid-April, Gullickson said it’s possible the local programming could go live.

Currently, KMSK’s signal in Austin is a very modest 135 watts, re-broadcasting KMSU’s programs on 91.3 FM. The signal only reaches Austin proper, and few listeners are tuning in.

Now, KMSK will have its own studio, two computers, five microphones, a console and some other equipment. Volunteers will be able to host, tape and edit shows. However, Gullickson said for the first year the station will likely have just one or two hours of local programming, as it takes time to recruit volunteers and get an advisory board together, among other tasks.

The rest of the day, the station will simulcast KMSU programming just as it does now.

The hope, Gullickson said, is that KMSK will eventually stand alone with 100 percent local programming.

KMSU has worked with KMSK since the 1980s, when the Mankato radio station was gifted the Austin station by the Austin Public School System. KMSU gained the ability to enhance KMSK a few years ago, when it and other public broadcasting entities were awarded funding from the state Legacy Amendment.

Gullickson said the goal became to offer local programming run by Austin volunteers who know the arts and culture scene there. While he said he isn’t sure KMSK will become a stand-alone station in his lifetime, he said it will hopefully happen eventually.

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