October 19, 2014

Galaxy Radio looking to acquire low-power FM radio license

Webster University’s radio station, The Galaxy, is hoping to apply for a low-power FM (LPFM) radio license that would allow it to broadcast farther from campus. The license would also give the station a low-power FM frequency and its own FM channel in the Webster Groves area.

A Federal Communications Commission survey in October 2013 will decide whether the station qualifies for this license.

“Our main goal for The Galaxy, before we get on the air, is to reach out to more of the students and their interests,” said Jim Singer, Galaxy media coordinator. “That’s our biggest goal — to make everything more localized; find out what students are interested in and give it to them.”

The LPFM license is still in an exploratory phase by the station. A site survey is being conducted to see if an FM frequency would interfere with other stations. Along with this, Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of the School of Communications, has to approve the plan, and campus bandwidth has to be tested before further steps can be taken.

Once these steps are completed, Galaxy radio managers can begin to gather the final paperwork for the survey.

“There will be a lot of work to be done and adjustments to be made by everyone,” said Ryan Jecha, Galaxy general manager. “But we’ve got a great group and a very committed management staff who are just as excited about this opportunity and want to make this a successful reality.”

The Galaxy Radio is hoping to branch out from solely playing music if the license is approved. Possible additions include broadcasting news from The Journal, doing more live-radio broadcasts and using the station as a lab for classes with radio involvement.

“I think it’s real important that we utilize (the) station as best we can and in as many ways as possible,” Singer said. “And not just use it as a vehicle to play music — there are other things we can do with this. We’re a creative college; we’ve got tons of talent around here. There’s so many ways I’d like to see it exposed.”

Criteria for the LPFM license include being an educational, religious or nonprofit establishment, according to fcc.gov. To ensure the station doesn’t jam the signal of other stations, an FM transmitter would have to be three units away from other frequencies, which is referred to as a “third adjacent.”

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