“Anyone who works here is just obsessed and in love with WKNC. That is something that has not changed. That is our tradition — an undying, unwavering love for college radio.”– General Manager Emily Ehling, as published in the Nov. 3, 2016 Technician
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In 2016, WKNC reconfigured its antenna pattern to increase its signal coverage further south and east to include another 24,000 potential listeners. WKNC also expanded its non-indie rock programming, giving more hours to Underground and Afterhours to better balance the radio’s primary formats.38 To celebrate its 50th anniversary as an FM radio station, WKNC launched its HD-1 channel on Oct. 9, 2016. The station continued to upgrade its equipment, converting one of its production studios to a second on-air studio and launching WKNC HD-2 on January 9, 2019. WKNC’s HD-3 signal, leased to Wolfbytes Radio, went on air on May 3, 2019.
By the end of 2019, WKNC had completed a seven-year, $288,000 upgrade that also included creating a climate-controlled space to house WKNC’s transmitter and renovation of the station’s three studio spaces.
In March 2020, like many other college students across the country, WKNC DJs went home for spring break and didn’t come back. The global COVID-19 pandemic closed Witherspoon Student Center to non-essential personnel for months. A handful of DJs continue to produce pre-recorded programming remotely, while others pivoted to sharing Spotify playlists in lieu of air shifts. Staff worked from home reviewing new music, creating podcasts and writing blogs. DJs returned to the station in early July with strict safety guidelines39. Fall 2020 and spring 2021 training classes took place on Zoom, with in-studio training components.
38. Crabtree, Kelly. (2016, Nov. 3). “WKNC celebrates 50th anniversary, switches to HD.” Technician.
39. Dunlow, Austin. (2020, July 8). “WKNC to begin reopening with emphasis on staff safety.” Technician.