||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (December 2014)|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2014)|
|City of license||Edmond, Oklahoma|
|Slogan||"UCO's Best Mix"|
|First air date||1966|
|Format||Hot adult contemporary|
|Owner||University of Central Oklahoma|
UCentral Radio is the student radio station in Edmond, Oklahoma, on the campus of The University of Central Oklahoma. UCentral Radio applied for an LPFM license in November 2013 and is awaiting approval from the FCC. UCentral Radio is part of the UCentral student media network at the University of Central Oklahoma.
In a September 21, 1965, article of The Vista - Central State College prepared to receive word from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the approval of its student radio station, KCSC FM, according to director and new CSC faculty member O.J. Collins. Regular programing would include primarily “serious and evening music and air daily from 4 to 10 p.m. The station’s broadcast signal on 88.1 FM would cover the campus area and a few surrounding blocks. “Like campus publications, as well as entertaining our audience, we hope to train many students through the use of this media,” he said. Rick Taylor, a sophomore government major from Oklahoma City, assisted Collins as chief engineer.
The FCC gave authorization to Central State College for a non-commercial, educational FM program permit on Wednesday, October 20, 1965. The format was mostly classical and light dinner music, extensive coverage of Central State athletic events, a bulletin board for campus events, and news coverage serves by wire service. Max O. Davis, chairman of Central’s speech department, stated the station will be used primarily as an educational tool to prepare students for positions in the broadcasting industry. Enrollment for radio courses increased from 6 student in 1962 to 120 that year.
After delays in completion of paperwork and FCC approval of the station’s transmitter had been settled, KCSC-FM finally signed on the air at 4pm Monday, April 4, 1966 from the Homer L. Johnson Studios. Johnson was a retired rancher and businessman of Duncan, Oklahoma who donated $25,000 towards broadcast and facility equipment. He was also a 1909 Central graduate.
In December of 1967, the student radio station, KCSC FM, received notification by telegram that it had been approved by the FCC to increase broadcasting power from 10 watts to 28,000 watts covering a 75-mile radius on 90.1 FM. The school had recently constructed a new 150-foot radio tower across from the campus football stadium that past summer. It was estimated by student Joe Findlay, that KCSC could reach 75 percent of Oklahoma’s population.
In February of 1971, KCSC FM, Central State College’s student radio station spearheaded a drive to save the Mummers Theater. The local campaign was started by Miss Lillian Boland, CSC speech department lecturer.
On June 8, 1972, student radio station, KCSC FM, received the award for the best-all-around service to the Oklahoma Heart Association. It was the first campus station to receive such an award and was accepted by station coordinator Jonathan Wood.
On Thursday, October 4, 1973, a 5x7 foot flag bearing Greek letters of a fraternity was found flying on the KCSC FM student station’s campus tower. According to Jack Deskin, station manager, the pranksters who scaled the tower violated federal law and knocked the station off air after breaking a 220-volt power line.
The student station, KCSC, replaced the old antenna with a new 402-foot broadcast tower and increased transmission power to 100,000 watts in the fall of 1978. The upgrades were made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Kerr Foundation.
Between 1983 and 1985, funding and programming from National Public Radio required the station to replace students with full-time, professional employees. Student body interest in classical music declined for more contemporary music and broadcast student involvement with the station was negligible. KCSC was no longer a student radio station. As to not disrupt station operations, faculty realized a separate facility was needed to provide students with radio broadcast experience.
In spring 1983, preparations of equipment and facilities to create a student cable radio station began. On March 18, 1983, at 2:15 a.m., the Edmond Fire Department responded to a single fire alarm in the Communications Building. The fire was in the newly built cable radio studio. Fire officials estimated the damage at $21,500 even though the fire was small. Electrical causes were ruled out.
In July 1983, KBLZ, “The Blitz”, began broadcasting over cable television on 93.7 FM. The cable radio station could only be heard by subscribers of Edmond Cablevision who had to purchase a CATV splitter and connect a stereo receiver from the cable box. Students programmed the station from 6 pm until midnight. The format was a blend of album-oriented rock (AOR) and Contemporary Hits. The station was made possible by the combined efforts of Dr. Mike Dunn, director of KCSC, Dr. Jack Deskin of CSU-2 television station and Barbara Norman, chair of the Oral Communications Department.
As of September 1993, still no frequency allocations or funds were available in the Edmond or Oklahoma City area to apply for or buy a FM or AM license. KBLZ did receive $3,500 from the Student Activities Council to purchase and place two 0.01 microwatts transmitters (roughly the distance of 3 meters from the antenna) in the East and West residence halls of the university. Dorm residents could listen to the station on 99.9 FM.
In the fall of 1994, the student station stopped broadcasting on cable after Multimedia Cablevision in Edmond stopped carrying location stations and started their own music service. The station also changed its call letters to KUCO due to a station in Omaha, Nebraska. The KBLZ call letters currently serve 102.7 FM in Winona, Texas. KUCO FM sponsored an art contest for a new logo and promotional items to attract listeners. Branding changed from "The Blitz" to "Z-99".
Around April 23, 2002, KUCO broadcast its signal on a part-15 transmitter that could only be received on campus (much like the original student radio station in 1966). The station also launched an Internet broadcast for listeners online at kucofm.net. By this time however, the existence of a student radio station was unknown to students outside the broadcasting program. The reason was postulated that student listeners did not carry personal radios, could not receive the signal in their cars off campus, and only a limited number had personal computers.
In the spring of 2006, KUCO rebranded itself as Z-100 and flipped from alternative rock (Z-99) to a more student friendly CHR format geared towards 18 to 25 year old students. Automation allowed students to produce and record content that could be played 24 hours a day.
In 2007, KCSC, the professional, classical music station installed a HD Radio transmitter. The student station was asked if they wanted to be carried on the secondary HD channel. On September 1, 2007, KUCO changed its calls to KCSC-HD2 and started broadcasting to the general public once again. The Z-100 title was changed to ed 90.1 “Today’s College Music” with student produced news, sports and playing a mix of CHR and classic hits from the 1990s and 2000s. The “ed” stood for Edmond, Okla. and education.
Adoption of HD Radio technology by college students was non-existent. HD receivers were only available in luxury vehicles or expensive home units; HD Radios were not portable; smartphones were becoming popular with downloadable music from iTunes and popular music service apps such as Pandora and Spotify; and there was considerable consumer confusion between HD television (which the FCC mandated TV stations to move from analog to digital OTA broadcasts) and HD Radio (which was not mandated for radio stations to stop broadcasting in analog). After a few years, KCSC's HD transmitter failed on the secondary channel and not replaced. The student radio station was off air indefinitely.
In November of 2013, the possibility of a student radio station returned when the FCC opened a filing window for low-power FM frequencies. UCentral, the student media network, was able to locate one frequency within the vast number of full-power and translator frequencies around the Oklahoma City metroplex. Just as in 1965, UCentral Radio is awaiting to receive word from the FCC on the possible approval of a student radio station, which will allow the LPFM license to broadcast over the air to a unique audience that has not been served for several decades.
On April 1, 2014, KCSC changed its call letters to KUCO to better reflect its association with the University of Central Oklahoma.