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At Kent State, a Six-Year Digital Project Finishes

WKSU looks ahead to geographical diversification and even an HD4 channel, BE says

An HD Radio initiative at Kent State University has been completed. Five broadcast sites and 15 program channels were involved when the WKSU radio network finished the digital job this summer.

Broadcast Electronics said it provided more than a half-million dollars’ worth of transmission, STL and multicast gear.

Ron Bartlebaugh is director of broadcast engineering for WKSU, which is a noncommercial network of stations operated by the university.

According to BE’s summary of the project, “In addition to updating three of WKSU’s four repeater stations with broadband BE FMi Series transmitters, which range in power from 2,100 watts TPO to 12,000 watts TPO, BE configured and supplied a complex MDOUK AudioTX STL-IP audio-over-IP link connecting all four repeater stations and WKSU’s main transmitter site to the campus-located WKSU Broadcast Center.”

Each channel of each station, including the main, HD2 and HD3, can be programmed independently and simultaneously from the WKSU Broadcast Center, according to BE’s Tim Bealor.

WKSU originates programming from the main campus to WKSU(FM) and repeaters in Thompson, New Philadelphia, Wooster and Norwalk. The repeater in Thompson became the final station in the network go air digital. HD Radio multicast channels in the network share the Folk Alley format on HD2 and a classical format on HD3, though each can broadcast unique and location-specific content originated from the Broadcast Center, BE said.

Bartlebaugh said the theoretical ability to have 15 programs on the air at one time from the center fits the organization’s plans to offer geographically specific content later.

BE stated, “The network is also broadcasting song title and artist data on each HD Radio program channel as well as through RBDS, and anticipates the addition of an HD4 all-news channel when the technology becomes available.”

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