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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Two Towers

With the expansion of urban development, radio stations are constantly working hard to expand coverage and improve communication through their broadcasting network in metropolitan areas.

Both KDVS 90.3 FM and Capital Public Radio are moving forward in plans to expand their broadcasting signal and reach a larger radio audience in both Davis and the greater area of Sacramento.

Back in 2004, the ASUCD senate allotted a budget of $60,000 in reserve for the KDVS’ installation of a standalone radio tower. The current tower, which is located on top of Kerr Hall, poses a gamut of problems for KDVS and other local radio stations.

The location of the tower itself, which was moved from the top of the MU for reconstruction back in 1997, was relocated to the center of campus. The Kerr Hall location has since caused interferences with local radio stations in receiving signal on campus.

As well as the location, the height of the tower tops at about 100 to 120 feet, limiting KDVS’s coverage to Davis and areas only slightly beyond.

“If we were able to move the tower even as little as a mile or two east of Davis, we will have significantly better coverage,” said KDVS general manager Kevin Corrigan.

The expected height of the new tower will be 335 feet, tripling the ability for KDVS to broadcast into Sacramento.

“The process of bringing in the new tower has been long and difficult,” Corrigan said.

After receiving endorsement from the Davis City Council, KDVS along with KMJE 101.5 FM, a commercial radio station who has offered a spot to KDVS on their tower, was scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 10 with the Yolo County Planning Commission to review and approve the application for the new tower.

“We are currently seeking a construction permit along with KMJE to relocate the tower somewhere in South Davis,” Corrigan said. “We are hoping to receive a yes or no from the Yolo County Planning Commission, or at least an alternative placement in the east-end of the city for the tower to be built there.”

However, much of the planning has been met with opposition. The El Macero homeowners’ association and the Yolo County’s Willowbank Service Area Advisory Committee (WSAAC), has opposed the proposal of the new tower due to the red and white strobe lights that are required to be put on by FAA regulations. Consequently, the hearing to retrieve the construction permit has been moved to early March.

The construction of a radio tower in South Davis off of Mace Boulevard is controversial due to the violations and inconsistencies the tower will pose with the County’s Zoning regulations. During the Dec. 10 hearing, it was discussed that the commercial usage would violate the zoned agricultural land.

Results Radio representative Ron Castro has been meeting with local community groups in order to gather support for the new tower. The proposed location of the tower was said to impact the community much less than any other area in Davis.

Built to open a gateway of communication for students, if approved will broadcast beyond the UC Davis campus and into Sacramento.

Capital Public Radio

In recent development, Capital Public Radio is also planning to install a new translator. When installed, it will strengthen the broadcasting signal in Sacramento, Groveland/Sonora, Sutter/Yuba City, Merced, South Lake Tahoe and Davis.

“The translator rebroadcasts the signal of our classical music service KXPR onto a different frequency to improve the coverage in that general area,” said Rick Eytcheson, president and general manager of Capital Public Radio.

The translator will rebroadcast KXPR 88.9 to 99.7 FM in Davis. With the new installation of the translator, the weak signal around Russell Boulevard will be expanded to include other parts of Davis.

“It will take us another year or two to strengthen the signal of 88.9 but in the mean time, we are fully licensed by the FCC to use the translator for as long as we need,” said Jeff Brown, Chief Engineer of Capital Public Radio.

KXPR has been broadcasting in Davis for over 30 years and is one of the only classical music stations in the greater area. Capital Public Radio will not only offer more areas around the county to access it but a clearer broadcasting signal.

“Classical music needs to be listened to on a really good signal to devoid interference,” Eytcheson said. “This will clearly give it a much better signal to the immediate Davis area and beyond.”

Listeners can tune into 90.3 FM for KDVS and 99.7 FM for KXPR.

KAREN SONG can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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