On Oct. 9, 1966, WKNC switched
from an AM to FM radio station. Fifty years later, the station had upgraded to
an HD radio signal.
“We chose October 9 to flip the switch because it’s symbolic as our
50th anniversary as an FM station,” Jamie Lynn Gilbert, associate
director of NC State Student Media said. “We’ve grown enormously in the past
fifty years and chose that date to highlight the transformation of the station
from a carrier current station built in someone’s dorm in Watauga Hall to a
25,000 Watt operation which, in terms of wattage and coverage pattern is one of
the top ten largest student-run radio stations in the nation.”
Will Patnaud, chief engineer at Capitol
Broadcasting in Raleigh, performed the operations necessary for WKNC to
broadcast in HD. The station can now be picked up on HD radios, which means the
sound quality will improve as well. WKNC’s broadcasting will now sound like “CD
quality,” instead of “radio quality” to listeners with HD radios.
“The benefits of broadcasting in
HD are the overall sound quality improvement and the fact that we will eventually
be able to multi-cast,” Emily Ehling, general manager of WKNC said. “Only about
a dozen or so college radio stations broadcast in HD, which makes us even
cooler since we’re ahead of the curve!”
WKNC began the process of
upgrading to HD in 2008, but the project was stalled due to budget constraints.
When the need for a new transmitter became evident, Gilbert knew it was time to
upgrade to HD radio
Listeners will still be able to
hear WKNC 88.1 on their FM radios and will eventually be able to hear WKNC’s
HD-2 sub-channel on HD radios and online.
WKNC 88.1 FM HD-1 is 25,000-watt
student-run non-commercial radio from North Carolina State University featuring
indie rock, electronic, metal and underground hip-hop. WKNC’s programming also
includes podcasts and a public affairs program, “Eye on the Triangle.”