Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary, KUNC!

July 24, 2008 marked the first anniversary of KUNC's signal improvements, which added a potential 800-thousand listeners in metro Denver to their service area. The changes greatly improved the signal quality of the station in downtown and across the rest of Denver, as well as other sections of metro, particularly on the northern, and eastern side. Better reception is also attainable in sizable portions of Northern Colorado; in Longmont, Broomfield, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, and throughout Boulder.

Along with its blend of music heard weekdays between 9 AM and 3PM, KUNC is the only public radio station along the front range where you will hear several top notch syndicated programs on Saturdays and Sundays, including:
These offerings, along with their local news efforts which are inserted into the drive time NPR news programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered -- especially their solid reporting from the Colorado State Capitol -- sets the station apart from other public radio offerings available across metro and the Colorado Front Range.

KUNC Has Done Its Homework

Some public stations do their homework better than others. In Boulder, less than a week following KUNC's signal improvements last July, the station provided a clear signal with a recently-licensed translator at 99.9 FM. This addition became necessary when KUNC's 91.5 FM broadcast antenna was moved from the prairie of northwestern Weld County to Buckhorn Mountain, northwest of Fort Collins; the move which gave KUNC much better coverage for most of metro, but not in Boulder, where KUNC's main signal became much more shaded from KUNC's new Buckhorn location.

Hats off to KUNC Manager Neil Best (a 35 year veteran of public radio management) and a cracker jack engineering department for thinking ahead and securing the 99.9 FM frequency for their Boulder translator, an effort which can take months and even years to navigate through the bureaucratic maze known as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The KUNC proactive approach to covering and even improving its signal in Boulder, Colorado illustrates the way to keep on top of thing technical, unlike the Boulder train wreck that continues to unfold for the KVOD classical music service provided by (see previous articles Colorado Public Radiohere and here on this page).

Trying to locate an FM translator frequency for the crowded Denver metro market is tough. But the area around Boulder, tucked up against the foothills, is shaded enough from Colorado Springs, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming radio signals to sometimes make it possible to install a limited power translator for Boulder on a frequency used by Colorado Springs and/or Cheyenne FM stations). But, it takes planning, and above all else -- caring to make such improvements happen.

In recent weeks, we have also seen KUNC move ahead with efforts to return its service to Grand County, Colorado (see previous article on this page here); an area where public radio signals come at a premium. Again, hats off to a public station interested in serving ALL Colorado residents with a solid signal, including blue-collar places away from the Colorado Front Range places without ski resorts, like: Sterling, Yuma, Wray, Holyoke, Buena Vista, and Salida. Too bad KUNC's delivery system can't reach hamlets like Meeker, Colorado where frustrated public radio listeners continue to put up with on-again-off-again service from CPR, our supposed state-wide radio service.

Congratulations KUNC! You are not only an achieving public asset -- from your relatively modest home in Greeley -- you are also a model for Colorado and regional public radio service. In the shaky financial times seen in the public radio world since 1981, such operations need skill and luck to thrive, expand, and continue. You possess the skill; here's hoping for all public radio listeners within your reach that you have continued luck as well.

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