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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

KSTO seeks more funds

By Kristopher Follmer
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 5, 2004

KSTO seeks more funds By: Kristopher Follmer

Over the past few weeks the Student Government Association (SGA) has been trying to decide how to allocate the $100,000 budget surplus. KSTO 93.1 FM, St. Olaf's student-run radio station, has approached SGA for funding from the budget surplus.

KSTO is having budget problems, and the station is not able to run on its current budget of less than $10,000. As station employees pointed out, KSTO cannot afford to replace broken CD players or broken microphones, equipment necessary for broadcasting.

KSTO station manager Brian Strand 05 called KSTO's current budget constrictive.

"Its hard to go out and spend money on a new piece of equipment today when you dont know if a vital piece of equipment is going to break tomorrow," Strand said.

Poor funding has been a recurring issue for KSTO throughout the station's history. "Inside the KSTO office, there are proposals from the 70s, 80s and 90s that ask for funding increases," Strand said.

Plans for increasing KSTO's future funding include asking for part of the SGA surplus monies, as well as generating funding through renting out equipment and selling station merchandise.

Another important issue affecting the KSTO future is the lack of student listeners and the inability to receive 93.1 FM on campus.

In a KSTO-conducted poll of 30 students, only one listened for at least 30 minutes at some point during this year.

DJs reportedly plead over the air for listeners to call, just to prove that someone is listening. Despite small prize offerings, no one calls in to the radio station.

One of the biggest reasons for the lack of listenership is the lack of reception on campus due to the weak signal KSTO broadcasts with.

"Although our plan is really ambitious, we are currently trying to purchase a transmitter and antenna and to register a Low Power FM frequency with the FCC," Strand said. The Low Power FM frequency is a special service granted by the FCC that allows small, non-commercial educational entities to broadcast in a 3.5 mile radius.

"Expanding our coverage would allow us to regain sponsors that once helped fund our budget," Strand said.

KSTO employees believe the stations problems lie primarily in the lack of funding, and that added funding for the radio station out of the budget surplus would meet their equipment maintenance needs as well as their push to expand their coverage area.

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