KRFC 88.9 Radio Fort Collins expands radio signal

Local radio station increases audience

KRFC+88.9+Radio+Fort+Collins+expands+radio+signal

Collegian | Ava Kerzic

Alex Hasenkamp, Arts and Entertainment Director

KRFC 88.9 Radio Fort Collins, a local not-for-profit radio station, recently expanded its sound. The new broadcasting range increased the previous signal from 3kW to 50kW and greatly expanded the station’s audience reach.

The Power the Tower Campaign aimed to raise a total of $307,000. The new tower has already been installed, but supporters are still able to donate to the cause on KRFC 88.9’s website, krfcfm.org. The website also provides a special thanks section for donors Paul and Amy Hach and Jackie and Ed Warner.

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The station is known for playing a diverse selection of music. According to its website, the listener-supported radio station also hosts live music performances and provides “real-time news and public affairs programming.”

The DJ staff is volunteer-based, and the station is owned by Public Radio for the Front Range instead of a big corporate company, meaning they get to have some more freedom with their livestreams.

“This is a pretty unique story for a community radio station because normally, a community station wouldn’t build their own tower, they might just increase their signal.” –Jen Parker, Radio Fort Collins executive director

According to Jen Parker, executive director of Radio Fort Collins, the tower originally reached parts of Northern Colorado, such as Estes Park and Fort Collins. With the new range, the station can be heard nearly to the Wyoming border as well as in parts of Boulder and Longmont, Colorado.

According to the KRFC website, not only will the station reach a region with around one million people, significantly more than the original less-than 400,000, they are currently working on a couple other methods to attract new listeners. This includes a high definition signal upgrade, which would allow broadcasts to be heard more clearly inside buildings. Another renovation allows the station name and band name to be displayed digitally on all car radios.

“One of the biggest things accomplished through this project was launching an initiative called ‘Colorado Band of the Day,’ and every day, we feature a different band from Colorado and direct people to their social media,” Parker said. So far, they have promoted roughly 353 local bands.

In March, the station will celebrate 20 years on air, with many original programmers still on the board. Parker and her team have worked hard to keep the Fort Collins community engaged with publicity stunts, like releasing Power the Tower pale ale and hosting a group event at New Belgium Brewing.

“This is a pretty unique story for a community radio station because normally, a community station wouldn’t build their own tower, they might just increase their signal,” Parker said.

The reason behind this is self-sustainability. Radio Fort Collins is now able to rent its tower to other stations and commercial radio companies, helping pay for the increased power.

“Although operating a three-year-long project through a global pandemic had its setbacks, such as working with the county for the approval to build a 199-foot tower, the hardworking team of organizers, volunteers and engineers powered through,” Parker said.

Parker spoke highly of her team and the supportive citizens of Fort Collins. With only three full-time employees, five part-time employees and six contractors, Parker depended heavily on the generosity of the community.

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“Our mission is to serve: We entertain, and we inform, and we help the community,” Parker said.

Her favorite part of the project was all the listeners that believed in the Radio Fort Collins mission and rallied to make the new tower possible.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect a more accurate regional signal range. 

Reach Alex Hasenkamp at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @CSUCollegian.