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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU?s student-run station KRUX celebrates new antenna and College Radio Station Day

It was 10 years in the making, but the KRUX radio station at New Mexico State University had a new 3,000-watt directional antenna installed on the Corbett Center Student Union roof Oct. 1.

Tall antenna with two workers climbing
A new 3,000-watt antenna was installed on the Corbett Center Student Union Oct. 1, 2015 for the student-run KRUX college radio station. (courtesy photo)

Replacing the previous 1,000-watt antenna, the new antenna has significantly greater power and reach. In Las Cruces, the student-run station has a clearer and stronger signal. Now, listeners as far as Fort Bliss, Texas, and approximately 52 miles north of the NMSU campus can enjoy the station with the ?swimming against the mainstream? motto.

?We?ve wanted to increase our power to cover more of the El Paso area, as we have a lot of commuter students from El Paso,? said general manager Joe Pestovich. ?We?ve been trying for a few years now to reach that area with our airwaves.?

KRUX 91.5 FM is still in the testing phase to determine exactly how far its airwaves reach.

In past years, efforts to install an antenna on A-Mountain or at the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds were unsuccessful due to financial and location issues.

This past fall, however, KRUX received approval to proceed with applying for a construction permit.

?It was a pretty huge process,? KRUX fiscal assistant Ignacio Salcido said. ?We first had to apply to the FCC to undergo construction, so this is a big deal.?

According to KRUX programming manager Austin Martin-Likes, the signal strength and fewer dead spots are not the only benefits of the new antenna.

?It also helps us bring in additional revenue,? Martin-Likes said. ?It affords us more value to the university and to the sponsors. The university became more valuable as a result of the new antenna, and it may generate future revenue. To say that we have a 3,000-watt antenna that can reach into El Paso may attract more people willing to fundraise with us.?

In addition to the 10-year effort of previous KRUX leaders, the antenna cost approximately $35,000. While the majority of the funding came from student fees over a period of two fiscal years, $5,000 was allotted from the NMSU student technology advisory committee.

KRUX staff members say it is worth the investment, especially in regards to attracting potential students to NMSU.

?Having the new antenna gives more opportunity to students,? Pestovich said. ?Having the station be heard in El Paso allows prospective students in El Paso that might be interested in journalism, broadcast journalism, media production, business or marketing to say, ?Oh, wow, I heard this radio station at NMSU, and that?s something that UTEP doesn?t have, a student-run radio station.? It adds value, as far as prospective students are concerned.?

The installation of the antenna came at the perfect time. Just one day later, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez proclaimed Oct. 2 as College Radio Station Day in the state. Nationally, it was the fifth annual celebration of College Radio Station Day.

The College Radio Day Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with college stations across the United States to bring solidarity among stations.

?Because we?re the headquarters for New Mexico, the foundation wanted to see us get some recognition,? Martin-Likes said. ?So they contacted our state government, and Susana Martinez responded in-kind by recognizing the whole day through a proclamation. It?s important that our government is highlighting this.

?It hadn?t been recognized by our governor before, and the College Radio Day Foundation is trying to bring more legitimacy to the movement. ?

KRUX combined College Radio Station Day with the station?s birthday bash this year by featuring on- and off-air interviews, promotions and concerts.

Also this year, KRUX was one of 24 stations across the country chosen by the College Radio Day Foundation to be featured on a 24-hour nationally syndicated program to highlight the yearly event.

?Something CRDF did this year that was very interesting was a 24-hour College Radio Day broadcast,? Martin-Likes said. ?They picked 24 stations to fill in each hour of the day, and KRUX did get selected to be one of the featured stations. We were able to get New Mexico on the map.?

The only student-run FM radio station in the state, KRUX has about 25 employees. Staff positions include a general manager, programming manager, chief engineer, music director, production director, underwriting manager, promotions director, fiscal assistant and numerous disc jockeys.

?In addition to our current staff, we are working with athletics to hire color analysts and board operators to manage the Aggie athletics games,? Martin-Likes said.