Brookings radio stations go local

Amber Armstrong

Amber Armstrong

Four of the five Brookings radio stations, owned by Three Eagles Communications, are making the switch from satellite radio to local programming.

These stations were set up to play satellite radio, where professional disc jockeys prerecorded dozens of generic shows for smaller stations throughout the states. But, things are changing due in part to the well-known Janet Jackson half-time show that was aired live during the Super Bowl last year.

The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) is now forcing stations to become more localized and pay more attention to the city, which holds the station’s license. They do this by hiring local on-air personalities and covering more local events. By going local, listeners will have the opportunity to meet and greet on-air personalities. The disc jockeys will also have the chance to go out in public and promote their stations.

“One advantage of local programming is that local personalities are talking to local listeners about local events,” said K-Country102.3 station manager Bryan Waltz.

Waltz has already gotten a jump-start on turning his station into local programming. He has hired six local disc jockeys, half of which are SDSU broadcasting students. He has also started airing local programs.

Waltz says that while going local has its advantages, the quality of programming will see some changes. Local programming is run by disc jockeys that have little or no experience, such as students, while satellite radio hires all professionals. But Waltz said you have to start somewhere and that he is happy to hire broadcasting students to give them experience for their futures.

“I would rather train people who can use what we’ve given them in the future towards their major,” Waltz said.

Karla Grueb, a broadcast journalism major, was recently hired as a daytime disc jockey at K-Country. She says that going local has opened up several opportunities for her future.

“It gives students, like me, a chance to work at a local station and gain experience while learning more about media,” Grueb said.

The X107.1, KDBX, has been local for some time. Station manager of the X, Mike Risch, said he is hoping to expand listenership to a younger audience.

The four Brookings radio stations will run all local programming as of March 1, 2005.