KNCT radio going digital

KNCT-FM, the local public radio station, announced today it is moving up its plans to convert to digital radio. Originally scheduled for January, the conversion to high-definition (HD) radio will now take place next week. During the week, listeners in the Round Rock, Austin and Waco areas can access simply beautiful KNCT online at http://www.knct.org. Listeners in the Killeen, Temple and Georgetown areas will still be able to listen on their radios.

“Due to recent problems with our existing transmitter, we have decided to move up the conversion date for the benefit our listeners,” noted Max Rudolph, KNCT general manager. “The holidays are a peak listening time and we want to continue providing our listeners the holiday music they enjoy.”

The installation of a new HD transmitter will begin Tuesday, December 6 with a proposed completion date of Thursday, December 8. During this time, KNCT will use a low-power temporary transmitter emitting approximately 10,000 watts enabling the station to be heard in the immediate Killeen area and reach as far as Georgetown to the south and Temple to the north. Listeners in Waco, Round Rock and Austin are encouraged to tune in online during the two-day conversion period. Updates on the conversion process will be available on the KNCT website as well it’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Once complete, listeners will not have to purchase a new radio to enjoy the HD technology on KNCT-FM. “Those listeners currently using a digital radio will notice a difference in the sound quality,” said Rudolph. “Those continuing to listen on their analog radios should also notice a clearer sound quality, but again, they do not have to buy a new radio to continue listening to KNCT.”

The digital upgrade was made possible through a Digital Radio Conversion Fund Grant from the Corporation for Public Radio. The grant provided a maximum of $85,000 per transmitter or 70 percent of the entire eligible digital conversion cost. The remaining 30 percent was funded by KNCT and through listener support.

KNCT, which operates on the campus of Central Texas College (CTC), will then be one of more than 550 public radio stations across the country already transmitting with digital signals. “Once we are digital, we will be able to access more useful data services such as artist information and traffic” he said. “The technology will also provide us the opportunity to broadcast a second or third channel along with the main HD channel of programming.”

Currently there are more than 2,100 HD radio stations reaching more than 250 million listeners in the United States. Of the 550 public radio stations transmitting digital signals, 180 of those are multicasting with more than 230 multicast streams.

The station operates non-commercially with the majority of funding provided by donations from viewers. The mission of KNCT public radio is to provide quality programming to its listeners and serve as a laboratory facility for students enrolled in the Radio/Television Broadcasting Program available at CTC.

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