By Tim Leeds
Anyone trying to tune into Yellowstone Public Radio on 90.1 FM Thursday evening might be in for a surprise.
"If they tune into KNMC they won't hear public radio," said Bob Bentz, director of information technology services at Montana State University-Northern and advisor for the university radio station.
Bentz said they will be testing KNMC for four hours that night to see if the equipment will work for local programming.
Local radio stations have been extremely helpful, loaning a mixing board to use and sending a technician to check on and hook up the equipment for the test run, Bentz said. He said university students will be doing some simple broadcasting to test the equipment in a preliminary to see if a more permanent broadcast is possible. He said the station really isn't ready for permanent broadcasting yet.
"Before we could go full-time we have some issues, and we're not really there," Bentz said.
Most of the equipment in the station is from the 1970s and early 80s, and is nowhere near the modern technology needed, Bentz said. He said one of the purposes of the trial run tomorrow is to get an idea of what equipment they need to get to have more modern technology to run the station.
Yellowstone Public Radio installed a new translator in Havre last December, broadcasting at 91.7 FM. The new translator, located at the AT&T Broadband facilities west of town, were installed to provide a larger transmission area.
Bentz said this freeing up of the university transmitter gives them an opportunity to turn the radio station back into a student program. He said the Associated Students of Montana State University-Northern are currently investigating the support and possibility of staffing and funding such a student station.