WKUF-LP 94.3 FM History
Many students worked hard for this effort in the past, even though they knew they would never see the results in their time as students. This is a short description of the roots of the LPFM Effort.
Kettering University (formerly GMI) has never had a licensed radio station in its 84 year history. The current student media club, WKUS, can be traced back to the WGMI AM 530 broadcasts. The AM broadcasts were only available in the dorms, and therefore WGMI did not require any licensing. From what we can gather from faculty, the students ran the old AM broadcasts, but as AM radio’s popularity died the broadcasts died out with it. By 1997 there were no more AM broadcasts from WGMI AM 530. Despite this, there was still enough interest in radio from the students to keep the media group alive.
When GMI changed its name to Kettering University in 1998, the club went from the name of WGMI to WKUS (Kettering University Station), and interest in a more official radio broadcast grew. Believing that Kettering should have a radio station due to its inevitable positive impacts on the University, WKUS made it one of their main goals to bring such a broadcast to campus. In effort to prepare for a radio station, a small broadcast booth was created in BJ’s lounge, and possible licensing was researched.
Low Power FM was introduced to the public for the first time by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in January of 2000. It was created as a way for small organizations to start FM radio stations. Before LPFM the only way to do this was to buy an existing frequency, or illegally pirate radio. LPFM licenses are only available for noncommercial educational entities and public safety and transportation organizations.
In September of 2000, WKUS submitted an application to the FCC for an LPFM building permit at a broadcast frequency of 96.7 MHz. LPFM stations were then allowed to operate as long as they had at least a 400 kHz frequency buffer with stations in the same geographic area, but the required buffer size was increased shortly after our application was submitted. Our application was not processed because of close proximity to 96.3 and 97.1 (the so called “3rd channels”).
96.3 96.5 96.7 96.9 97.1
For about two years, this adjacency issue remained unchanged and there was nothing that could be done by the students of WKUS because the FCC did not allow changes to be made to the application. During those two years, WKUS operated as a group comprised of those students interested in music and Disk Jockeying (DJ’ing). Our activities began with DJ’ing student events held in BJ’s Lounge and have grown to include Compass Weekend, Homecoming Week, Greek Open Parties, IFC Philanthropy events, and entertainment in the great court during lunch. The club’s only outlet for real broadcasts was to set up play lists and do live broadcasts as background music on Kettering’s Channel 10.
Turn your radios on Flint, and turn them to 94.3, because the bulldogs are finally broadcasting!
As of 12:30 PM this afternoon, WKUF-LP officially kicked off its broadcast with the Station Manager, Scott Porter, giving a speech over the airwaves. As the speech was being read over the air, a radio received it in the Great Court, where it was connected to two huge speakers, pumping out Scott’s words for everybody to hear loud and clear.
After Scott spoke, Steve Proper, one of the people who originally pushed for the creation of the station, spoke a few words, as did Melverne Mills, the Program Director and Steve Schwartz. Finally, Alan Delos Santos jumped on the mic, introducing the first official song broadcasted by the Station…Video Killed the Radio Star.
TV12 was there to record the exitement as the station finally grew its wings and officially went on air. The reporter was suprised at the calm demeanors of the crew, although everybody in the small studio knew it was because we still did not believe it was finally happening. Years in the making, now it finally was here.
In addition to TV12, the Flint Journal and the Uncommon Sense stopped by to cover the official opening of the station. TV5 also stopped by before the official first broadcast to see the station.
So Flint, listen up because we are going to make some noise. The bulldogs will jam, but we still need community support. If you want to help bring unity to the Flint community, step up and show you got what it takes.
The tower is up….I repeat, the tower is up.
The foundation for the tower is in! A huge 10′ X 10′ X 7′ hole was dug in the ground last week for the foundation, but construction was halted due to uncooperative weather. But, thanks to the perserverance of Great Lakes Tower and Antenna Company, the foundation was poured today while TV12 interviewed our own Alan Delos Santos, AKA DJ Phoenix. The foundation pouring also attracted curious Kettering Students, Faculty, Professors, and nosy crows. The foundation seemed to pique the interest of some students, some so much that they wanted to do some shows. The crows, however, seemed indifferent.
The Kettering radio club known as WKUS will eventually cease to exist. In our transition to moving onto a real radio platform FM 94.3, there was a need to change the station name. The web site’s address itself, www.wkuf.fm, along with other web pages and logos will be updated. The radio station organization at Kettering University is now referred to as WKUF, which stands for Kettering University Flint. Please bear with us during this transition and we hope this clarifies any confusion with regards to the station call name.