KCSN expands audience

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CSUN’s radio station KCSN has recently installed an HD Radio booster transmitter which will now enable KCSN to reach audiences in the West Los Angeles area.

According to Fred Johnson, managing director at KCSN, KCSN applied for a $109,700 matching grant from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting to upgrade and extended KCSN’s broadcast range.

The grant was awarded to radio stations in the top 13 markets in the country. CSUN was one of approximately 200 stations across the US to implement this technology, which is one of the first in the country Johnson said. The grant money, and $80,000 more that they had put up on their own, were used to install the new booster transmitter for West LA and to upgrade the main transmitter.

This technology now enables KCSN to reach an area that includes almost 400,000 potential listeners in West LA.

HD Radio is a technology that enables AM and FM radio stations digitize their broadcasts. Within the year the technology has been implemented Johnson said. It had been in the development stage for the past 10 to 15 years.

“The time was right,” Johnson said, “Let’s do it. The technology is out there. It’s a step towards the future. A move towards the digital.”

However, Johnson said that KCSN’s radio format would not be changed.

“(We’re) working hard on programming,” Johnson said, “(It’s) gonna be tweaked a little here and there but all in all, we’re right where we wanna.”

Among some of the qualities that set KCSN’s programming apart is that it offers a variety of music called “Arts and Roots Radio.”

Johnson explained that the arts part of the programming includes playing classical music in the weekday for 12 hours a day. Also included in the arts part of the programming is to feature and promote CSUN music and theatrical performances.

As for the Roots section of programming, KSCN has programs for Americana music that feature the roots of American music such as blues, bluegrass, country/western, swing and early jazz.

“(We’re set ourselves apart) by the quality of programming and the diversity of music we broadcast day to day,” Johnson said, “We’re all about the music. (The) music is picked by human beings. (There is) no pregenerated playlist. Every week (listeners are) gonna hear something new.”

In addition to that, Johnson said that KCSN’s programming is also different because KCSN is almost entirely live. It is almost always a live broadcast from 6am till 3am. At 3am till 6am, KCSN broadcast BBC news.

In addition to that, KCSN does not usually run syndicated programs. Most of all, the people who run the programs are almost entirely community volunteers. At KSCN, there are five paid staff and the rest, about 40 other people, are community volunteers.

“(We) basically entrust our air to the people who volunteer here,” Johnson said, “We trust them implicitly.”

He said that the volunteers who run the program have complete freedom over their programming, short of Federal Communications Commissions laws. Community volunteers who are interested in hosting a program can approach KCSN with a proposal and from there, the decision would be made.

Also, Johnson said that one of the things that set KCSN apart is the involvement of CSUN students at KCSN.

“(Students) don’t get this kind of experience anywhere else,” Johnson said.

KCSN is now staffed with two paid board operators who are CSUN students and two interns who are learning production at KSCN. In addition to that, KCSN being part of the College of Arts, Media, and Communications, runs news programs that are handled by CSUN journalism students.