WKDI seeks student vote

By Matt Gronlund

Students soon will get to decide if they can blast WKDI on their radios without the aid of cable.

WKDI, 93.5 FM, is asking the Student Association for student fees to build their own radio antenna.

On Sunday, the SA voted to put the WKDI issue on the Dec. 3 Illinois Student Association referendum, which all students have the opportunity to vote on.

“I am supporting WKDI and so is the SA, pending exact figures,” said SA President Paul Middleton.

“We feel that a university of this size should have an on-air station,” said WKDI Station Manager Kevin Swallow. “An on-air station would give NIU a better image.”

The antenna will cost approximately $70,000 in student fees. Middleton said if it is passed, each student would be charged $3 for the antenna during the 1993-94 Fiscal Year.

WKDI, a student-run and managed alternative station, has been in existence for 25 years. The station, now located at the NIU Broadcast Center on First Street, moved from Kishwaukee Hall in the summer of 1991.

Swallow said WKDI will remain in its present location if the antenna is built.

WKDI currently uses a number of phone lines to transmit its broadcast. For those in the residence halls, the broadcast is transmitted through the campus phone system and then broadcast over the campus cable system.

Off-campus listeners receive WKDI by way of Warner Cable. The broadcast is sent through GTE phone lines at a cost of $7,600 a year and broadcast over Warner Cable.

Middleton said building the antenna would save students $7,600 in student fees a year because the phone lines would no longer have to be used.

WKDI would transmit from a satellite dish at the station to the antenna which would be placed on one of the residence halls.

The station will move to 88.1 FM if NIU students vote for the antenna. “The station would be a non-commercial frequency,” Swallow said.

WKDI is applying for its new frequency as an educational station. This would require WKDI to allow for a few hours of educational programming each week. Student organizations would be able to make service announcements since the station is SA funded, Middleton said.

Both Middleton and Swallow said they felt that an on-air station would bring more broadcast students to NIU.