By Meghan Dundon
The Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) radio station, WKKL, could have its license revoked by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if it cannot make vital repairs to its transmitter tower by the end of the year. There are currently bids going out for the basic work on the radio tower repairs and the college intends on having the work done by the end of the year.
In late December 2019, Naomi Arenberg, General Manager of WKKL, discovered that the station was not broadcasting. She and a broadcast engineer had originally thought one of the transmitters was not working, but after further investigation, they determined that this was not the case.
“I was fortunate enough to have an old friend in who’s a very experienced engineer, broadcast engineer, and he determined that the transmitter was working, it was some other component,” said Arenberg.
“It was either the cable or the antenna which is on a tower that’s on top of the Tilden Arts Center.”
Another obstacle was that the radio tower itself is tilted, which needs to be evaluated and secured before engineers can determine if the cable and antenna are working.
Arenberg said there is a time constraint to get the signal back up and running, as the FCC allows for a radio station to be off air for only one full year before the license of the station is considered expired.
The station is also facing several challenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Because of campus shutdowns and restrictions with on-campus courses, DJs have not been able to have access to the recording and broadcasting studio. Because of this, Arenberg has been maintaining the station using automation, with a library of music available to stream and the recent addition of recordings of two Project Forward teachers and one DJ.
“This made it difficult to continue my radio show because I didn’t have access to the same equipment and programming at my home that I did at the WKKL broadcasting station,” said Kalima Pombo, a DJ for WKKL.
“I was unable to broadcast live or properly record my shows which resulted in me having to end my show earlier in the semester than I had planned.”
Arenberg urges the importance of college radio as a broadcast station and as a student resource. With learning experiences and connections available to those who participate, it gives a confidence boost to students and teaches effective communication.
“I’ve seen students who come in who are very shy, and actually in project forward students who do not speak, they are mute, they go on the air and they can talk,” said Arenberg.
Pombo said she benefited from WKKL, saying it was a powerful tool to ground and unify a student body.
“I really enjoyed being able to being able to share my favorite music with an audience and the broadcasting skills I learned have helped me become more comfortable with things like public speaking and presenting,” said Pombo.