Radio station’s tower pushes student success

Kernel Editorial Board

In some fields of study, hands-on experience trumps traditional classroom learning. For those working at WRFL, UK’s student-run radio station, the experience is about to get a little more real.

For the last three years, the staff of WRFL has held numerous benefit concerts and fundraisers and to finance the upgrade to the their 250-watt tower to a 7,900-watt tower.

Over Spring Break next week, the old tower, sitting on top of Patterson Office Tower will be replaced, according to a March 8 Kernel article.

With the new tower, WRFL — Radio Free Lexington — will reach audiences all across Central Kentucky, including Frankfort, Shelbyville and Lawrenceburg.

Previously, the station was only available in the Lexington area, severely limiting the number of listeners.

Along with the expanded audience comes expanded responsibility for the radio station and its student workers. The group should relish in this opportunity and use it to continue the programming that makes it one of the top college radio stations in the country. The station could also use the extended audience as a reason to further diversify its programming.

Any way you look at it, the WRFL expansion is positive — it gives the student disc jockeys a wider audience, increases their on-air responsibility, better preparing them for a career in radio, and lets UK showcase its talented students to a larger area of the state.

To commemorate the new tower and the station’s 22nd anniversary, WRFL is holding a free concert downtown called “Baby Let Me Upgrade Ya: A Celebration of WRFL’s 7,900 watts.”

“I want it to be a celebration for everyone who is involved with WRFL and Lexington,” said Ainsley Wagoner, the station’s general manager. “ … I’m working with [UK new media professor] Kakie Urch to set up a media project for people to record their memories, thoughts and feelings about WRFL over the years.”

They should have a lot to share. Students and Lexington residence have tuned in and supported WRFL since its inception in 1988. The station provides an invaluable learning experience for the student DJs and quality entertainment for Central Kentucky.

Here’s to 22 more years.