21 March 2008

Schleuss Travels to College Station in Ruston, KLPI 89.1 FM [Road Trip]

Today I ventured to Ruston Louisiana, home of the Frothy Monkey and KLPI 89.1 FM, Louisiana Tech's College Station. I met general manager Blake Hosli and he gave me the grand tour. KLPI's setup is a bit more advanced and larger than what KSCL has. It's nice to see an alternative setup. In this business students really only have time to see their station, rarely anyone else's.

I found many similarities with Centenary's campus. As radio stations, we both have a lot of the same problems and achievements. KLPI is looking into internet streaming, as are we. They're struggling with finances, like us. And our staff numbers are about the same.

When I was the Music Director and talked to promoters, I heard one quote that's still with me today. "College Radio is the bastard child of the college." Ha! I don't know whether that makes me proud or peeved. I must say, however, that college radio struggles with the same issues, but mainly being understood by the "adults" in the administration. KSCL is extremely fortunate to have people like Michael Laffey, Kathy Fell, and Jerry France. I hope others are as fortunate.

I was a little lame-in-the-head today and didn't bring my camera. So, I stole one of their orientation pics.

KLPI was the product of a thesis paper in 1966. It grew at a slow pace, garnering more and more attention, much like KSCL. A lot of people don't know that KLPI helped the students at Centenary understand the rules and requirements of the FCC, back in KSCL's early stages. Currently, KLPI is listed as broadcasting with 4000 watts, but Blake tells me the physics department complained interference problems. So, the station operates at a lower frequency. The antenna sits atop Wyly Tower. "The tallest building in Ruston," John Ramsey tells me.

I found inspiration in my trip, hopefully bringing more things to KSCL's future. I hope the KLPI returns the visit to us. We will most certainly welcome them!
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just thought you'd like to know that KLPI actually began as WLPI, a carrier current station fed into the dorms only. I don't know why they picked those call letters because it was west of the Mississippi River. But I joined the station while it was WLPI and was there for the addition of the FM station KLPI.

Anonymous said...

Having joined WLPI in the fall of 1971 I was fortunate to have known many of the founders of the station. The call letters were picked starting with a W since it was the first letter of the early broadcasters call signs (according to R. Rhett McMahan who told me the history). LPI was from Tech's nane at the time, Louisiana Politechnic Institute. The carrier current AM station was on 770 as a tribute to WABC, 770 AM, New York. When the FM call letters were selected our firts choice was KLTU (for Louisiana Tech University). That was rejected since it was then in use by another station. Our second choice of WLPI was rejected as non-complient although it was our registered carrier current station call. Our third choice of KLPI was granted. The FM frequency of 89.1 was selected as a tribute to another major station, WLS 890 AM, Chicago. This frequency choice is the root of the lab interference issues. When the station started FM broadcasts the bandwidth of the test equipment in the labs was well below this frequency. Once it rose to 100 MHz our broadcast signal became very hard for them to filter out successfully. A fix was difficult to find that was good or affordable. We could no longer switch to a higher frequency (all authorized ones in the region were in use) and alternate transmitter locations were too expensive. Although we got the ok from KGRM to see if a move to their tower might solve the problem it quickly was seen that the interference to lab equipment would simply move to their campus and that idea was scrapped.