KCOU to stop FM broadcast for at least two months

Friday, January 23, 2009 | 11:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:30 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 24, 2009

COLUMBIA — MU’s student-run radio station KCOU/88.1 FM will go off the air Monday at least through spring break. Renovation of Hudson Hall where the station's transmitter is based will eliminate its FM broadcast capabilities. However, the station will continue to broadcast music through its Web site.

A new tower will be installed in Schurz Hall pending approval of the location by Campus Facilities. John Dobson, KCOU general manager, said two months off-air is the best-case scenario. The more reasonable timetable for the station to build a new tower is four months, he said.

While waiting for the tower to be constructed, KCOU will rely on its online broadcast, which has been airing consistently since last spring.

Evan Jones, KCOU promotions director, said the decision was made to start up the online broadcasting before discovering the problem of relocation.

“Not broadcasting on our FM frequency isn't ideal because most of our listeners listen through the radio rather than their computers,” Jones said. “This is a great opportunity to showcase our online broadcast for our listeners who might have been unaware of it while our tower is unavailable.”

Listeners who migrate to the Web site for the online broadcast will find a link for supporting KCOU, which has been searching for funding.

Dobson has expressed concerns about raising enough money to keep the station going in the wake of the Missouri Student Association’s decision in October to withdraw funding over the next five years.

Since that time, KCOU has been developing ways to raise money, working with area businesses such as Mojo’s, The Blue Note and Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream. The station raised about $3,000 during the fall semester.

“We’re doing a ton of things to raise money. We want to make sure we’re doing our part to keep the station running,” Dobson said.

Sparky’s, which is normally closed November through February, held a fundraiser in December and gave a percentage of the money to KCOU.

During their time off air, KCOU will sponsor concerts with Mojo’s and The Blue Note, as well as host its annual Springfest in May, to help build momentum for the station when it gets back on air.

“My goal this semester is to make sure KCOU is as viable as possible on the MU campus and in the community with a variety of events,” Jones said.

Dobson said he has confidence in the station's future.

“We use to be a juggernaut here on campus, and I see that in the horizon,” he said.

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