As the term enters fourth week, KRLX, Carleton’s completely student -run radio station, remains limited to broadcasting on air between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., though it continues to stream shows 24/7 on the station’s website, KRLX.org.
This new inconsistency in the KRLX programming is due to construction on the Willis rooftop, where the station transmitter resides. If all goes according to plan, the construction will be finished by the end of October. Yet, for the time being, the KRLX team is faced with the challenge of how to retain listeners and its reputation as a highly professional station despite the broadcasting changes.
As the biggest student group on campus, KRLX boasts over 170 student members and hosts 136 different shows ranging from Indie rock to news programs. Although easily accessible to most students via online streaming, a poll conducted last spring revealed that KRLX is popular amongst many Northfield businesses as well. The availability of KRLX on air is critical for retaining these listeners. “The appeal of radio is in its constant availability,” explained Gabe Silberblatt ‘11, station manager for KRLX. “In not being able to provide consistent programming, we are effectively alienating our audience,” Silberblatt said.
The KRLX team was not given much of a choice in the matter, its board of directors was only informed of the construction mere days before the beginning of school. Though the station possesses a second transmitter that could potentially have been employed to keep the station on air, by the time they learned of the Willis construction it was too late for a back up plan.
Despite the challenges KRLX has faced this fall, the station has been undergoing considerable positive changes as well. Thanks to the approval of a grant from CSA, the station was able to purchase new equipment, which will allow around 120 people to stream online at once. Previously, if more than 20 listeners tried to stream a program, some would lose access to the station.
Additionally, KRLX will soon be going international, as the station has been requested to provide pod-casts for a radio program called OH! ZONE. The program is based in Taiwan, and its goal is to provide Taiwanese students with the opportunity to practice their English while simultaneously eliciting interest in study abroad programs by giving students a glimpse of American college culture.
Carleton is one of several college campuses in the U.S., Australia and Canada that have been asked to provide programs.