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Posted: Thursday, July 26th 2007 at 6:35am

Brenau’s ‘Eclectic’ WBCX-FM goes digital

By from staff reports
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GAINESVILLE – Brenau University’s radio station WBCX-FM (89.1), recently added digital technology to improve the quality of its signal to its listeners surrounding the northeast Georgia campus.

Dr. Stewart Blakley, chair of the Department of Mass Communications said the installation of the digital Studio to Transmitter Link (STL) puts WBCX well ahead of many other commercial and non-commercial radio stations in signal quality and clarity.

The installation and use of a digital STL is the first step to a High Definition broadcast. “Ultimately, we will be broadcasting all-digital signals, which will improve the experience for our listeners,” Blakley added.

In the past WBCX relied on a line-of-sight STL from an antenna atop the three-story Jacobs Business & Communication Arts Building to transmit the analog signals produced in the studio to the antenna and transmitter that are about a mile away. Unfortunately, according to Blakley, wind, weather, a tree growing into the path of the signal and equipment failure caused frequent distortion and threatened permanent interruption. Consequently, the station began losing its audience.

With the new equipment, the analog signal in the studio is converted to a digital audio format; it is sent to the transmitter site over a high-speed T-1 fiber-optic line, where it is converted again to the analog format and broadcast to listeners.

“Overnight we went from a very shaky signal to a very clear signal,” says Scott Fugate, WBCX station manager. “That, coupled with the new, eclectic programming that we instituted in January, is winning our little station a whole lot of listeners from the Atlanta suburbs to the North Carolina border.”

Although WBCX primarily exists as a learning laboratory for communication students, its program staff and ‘on-air’ personalities are largely comprised of volunteers from the community who prepare and manage their own content. Fugate says the rotating schedule of 10 different programming formats changes daily and attracts a wide audience. Because it is not a commercial station, WBCX is “blending demographics”, trying to cater to all cultures.

“We’re not light classical or easy listening,” says Fugate, “We’re a pleasant diversion without annoying distractions. We are radio for people who are sick of radio.”
Associated Categories: Local/State News

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