Middlebury

November 6, 2000

College Radio Station to Increase
Broadcast Range Nov. 12

 

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Middlebury College
radio station WRMC 91.1 FM, the only independent, student-operated
station in Addison County, will enlarge its listening range
considerably when it begins broadcasting from a newly installed
transmitter at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12. A new antenna was
mounted on the smokestack of the College’s heating plant on Oct.
25 and provides higher elevation than the current location at Proctor
Hall. The improved equipment will increase the station’s
frequency from 100 to 2,900 watts, extending the broadcast range from
a 20-mile radius to one that is more than 40 miles.

"We’re excited because, for the
first time, listeners from as far away as Burlington and Rutland will
be able to tune into the station," said Jenny Marder, manager of WRMC
and a student at the College.

The new broadcast range will be
dependent on geographical area. While the signal will be blocked by
the Adirondack Mountains to the west, it will often reach farther to
the east. In good weather, the station’s range to the north may
extend all the way to the Canadian border.

This upgrade marks the culmination of
an 11-year, $60,000 project. The idea for the improvement was
proposed in 1989 by WRMC’s original founder, Middlebury College
alumnus John Bowker, Jr., a member of the class of 1952. Since that
time, the WRMC staff has been setting funds aside for the equipment
and its installation out of the station’s budget.

Founded in 1949, WRMC celebrated its
50th anniversary last year. For roughly the last two years, in
anticipation of the upgrade, the station has been increasing its air
time and providing a more structured schedule for announcers. Now
more than 100 staff members operate the station 24 hours a day, seven
days a week. "We currently plan to buy the equipment necessary to
operate the station automatically in time for our break in December,"
said Marder.

WRMC’s programming is oriented
towards the community during the day and College students at night.
The station airs all types of music, including world, folk, jazz,
blues, rock,

punk, hip hop, techno, industrial,
ska, reggae, and classical. It also offers the only source of
alternative programming in Addison County, with most of the rock
music that is played on the station coming from independent
labels.

News and sports are also regular
features of WRMC’s programming. Seven-minute newscasts from the
Associated Press wire air every other hour on the hour. A daily news
show covers international and national news, political and sports
commentary, and local and college issues. On Sundays, evening
programs include talk shows, game shows, interviews, and a preview of
the station’s "Album of the Week." WRMC is currently airing all
of the College’s football games. The station’s staff plans
on alternating with Middlebury-based WFAD Radio to cover the
College’s hockey games as well.

New WRMC announcers are required to
serve as interns for six months by working under the guidance of an
experienced announcer, and to attend a comprehensive training session
before broadcasting on their own. Even then, it is sometimes
difficult for a new deejay to obtain a time slot since so many
students are interested in working at the station.

This summer WRMC began streaming its
signal through www.nibblebox.com,
a Web site which broadcasts about 80 college radio stations using
real audio. Through this site, the station can be heard from anywhere
in the world.

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