NORTH NEWTON, KAN. — Bethel College’s student-run radio station is once again filling the airwaves. Since repairs were made to the 15-year-old transmitter, thanks to the help of Ron Tozier of Ron’s TV and Electronics of Newton, community members can tune into KBCU 88.1 FM 24 hours a day. The station had been off the air since last fall due to equipment failure. "We really appreciate all the time and effort donated by Ron Tozier," said Tim Buller, technical director of KBCU. "He was an integral part of getting the station back up and running."
More than 30 Bethel College students provide programming for the station. Students can earn college credit through the class Radio Practicum, led by Buller and Christine Crouse-Dick, general manager of KBCU.
"We try to give students a real-world mass media experience," said Buller. "KBCU uses equipment and facilities similar to those of much larger radio stations. We try to get students to think about themselves as professionals in the context of their work with the station."
Like larger radio stations, the 150-watt KBCU, broadcasting from the Fine Arts Center at Bethel College, serves a wider area than just the North Newton campus. Now anyone anywhere in the world can access a program schedule or listen to KBCU on the web.
"We focus not only on Bethel, but also on North Newton, Newton, Harvey County and Bethel constituents and alumni via the webcast," said Buller.
The first KBCU broadcast was on April 6, 1989, under the instruction of then-assistant professor of communication arts, Thane Chastain. KBCT, an earlier Bethel station, began broadcasting in 1962, and the Radio Club at Bethel dates back to 1936. The station has undergone several changes since then and is now fully equipped for the 21st century.
KBCU’s list of programming, which can be accessed through the station’s website, includes 16 student shows covering a wide variety of musical genres, from techno to female folk. Automated jazz, Christian rock as well as selections from the Bethel College music department fill the air when student programs are not on. KBCU also broadcasts Bethel College sports and may broadcast convocations and other college events in the near future.