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February 2, 2009

KEDM reaches digital fundraising goal

In a press conference today, KEDM 90.3 FM, the public radio station housed at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, announced important news regarding the station's future: meeting its local fundraising goal and upgrading its broadcast transmissions through two separate ventures. One project will convert the station to digital broadcasting, and the second will increase the station’s coverage area through a transmission power increase.

ULM President James Cofer said, "KEDM produces the economic and cultural in-depth stories so crucial to our northeast Louisiana listeners. This radio station, and the public service it provides, expands our university's outreach to our greater community. We are so thankful for the support of our legislators and local donors who made this technology upgrade possible."

The transition to digital broadcasting is the result of a successful year-long fundraising campaign, during which KEDM volunteers raised approximately $57,000 from local donors to match $100,000 secured by the Louisiana legislative delegation and a total of $134,500 in two federal grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In the coming weeks, the initial conversion will enable listeners with digital “HD Radio” receivers to hear KEDM programming with crystal clear, CD quality sound. Unlike television’s conversion to digital transmission, digital radio stations will maintain the old analog broadcasts. KEDM plans to later make additional channels of programming available over the digital signal, to supplement the station’s current programming fare.

The power upgrade, the second project, will increase the station from its present 87.1 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts of radiated power and will replace a directional antenna with a non-directional antenna. This change will add approximately 21,000 new potential listeners to the KEDM coverage area.

The increased signal is being financed by the combination of a $115,377 grant from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, by two state grants totaling $28,570 administered by the Louisiana Educational Television Authority, and by approximately $4,000 in local donations.

“KEDM is grateful for the response to our first capital campaign since the station went on the air in 1991,” said Joel Willer, ULM Director of University Broadcasting. “These technological advances will allow KEDM to increase its longstanding service to our region.” KEDM will continue to rely on the financial support of local donors to sustain the ongoing operations of the station.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, West Monroe Mayor David Norris, and Ouachita Independent Bank President Whitty Hood participated in the press conference, voicing their support.

Listeners might notice occasional temporary interruptions in KEDM’s broadcasts during the next few weeks while the station’s transmission facilities are being upgraded by these two projects.

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