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Why doesn’t Duluth have a repeater of the Current?

Why doesn’t Duluth have a repeater of the Current? What would it take to get one?

36 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

Every now and then we have to take a break from hearing complaints about not having a Chipotle in Duluth to hearing complaints about not having the Current. But it's funny that more people complain about not having Chipotle.

Other than random comments, I think it has been three years since there was a good bitchfest on PDD about not having the Current.

(What About DULUTH??!! | Aug. 3, 2009)

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

My understanding is that Duluth does not have an available FM frequency. And on the occasions when one does become available, commercial radio stations will always be able to outbid a public station.

Shane Bauer

about 6 years ago

I don't see how two publicly supported radio stations would survive in our market. And KUMD does way more for our community than a lot of people seem to realize. In fact, that is its core focus. Great people from our community running radio programming (and great stuff IMHO) for the benefit of our community = my vote. The Current can be streamed if needed. Or conveniently picked up right about where KUMD fades out going south.

Ruthie

about 6 years ago

Shane is 100% right......

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

There are actually already four public stations available in the Twin Ports. (More or less, depending on how you define it.) Of course, they mostly serve different purposes, with some overlap.

 - KUMD 103.3
 - KUWS  91.3
 - WSCN 100.5 (MPR News)
 - WSCD  92.9 (MPR Classical)

pats

about 6 years ago

In reality, Minnesota Public Radio is one of the wealthiest broadcast owners around.  If a frequency became available, and they wanted to buy it, I am sure they'd outbid any private owners.  However, it probably isn't a good business move for them.  They rely on public support, and with all the radio stations in the area as well as a smaller than metro population, we're probably not a prime market for them to expand.  Besides, as was noted; we have KUMD, which is a great station!

BadCat!

about 6 years ago

The Minneapolis radio market is way more heavily saturated than the Duluth market, yet new stations don't appear to be an issue down there.

Also, no dig to KUMD, but I want to simply turn on my radio and listen to the music I like. I don't want to have check the program schedule and my watch in order to have a chance of hearing something I'm interested in.

BadCat!

about 6 years ago

My rant was also posted here: Come on already!.

emilymoesewco

about 6 years ago

KUMD really doesn't hit my tastes. Sorry. Hate to be against a community radio station, but it just doesn't grab me. The Current is a different animal and I really don't see how these two stations would be competing for marketshare. With all of the college students in this town, it would seem to me that we're ripe for the pickings. 

I didn't want to start a bitch fest. I want to figure out how to change something. We have MPR repeaters for News and Classical. Why can't we have a repeater for The Current? How on earth could the airwaves be saturated? That makes no sense. There are always far more radio stations in larger cities.

Erin

about 6 years ago

I would personally love to get The Current in Duluth. I agree with BadCat! that KUMD does have good programming, but not all day long. Also, they've already got the Current in Grand Rapids, but not here. Isn't Grand Rapids a smaller listener base than Duluth? I'm confused, and would 100% support a Current station with the money I support MPR programming with.

spy1

about 6 years ago

If anyone is worried that Current people don't know how much we bitch up here about its absence, calm down. They are well aware. They said that at the All Pints North beer taste in July. Barrett is right, it's all about getting a slot in the frequency. We suggested to them that they start swapping programming with KUMD. Not sure how the two entities can or would intertwine.

Shane

about 6 years ago

Different radio stations using the same frequencies have to be located far enough apart so as not to interfere with each other. The size of the market in the Twin Cities limits the open frequencies available for Duluth.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

The Minneapolis radio market is way more heavily saturated than the Duluth market, yet new stations don't appear to be an issue down there.

How on earth could the airwaves be saturated? That makes no sense.

So, you guys are speculating that there are legally available chunks of the local FM band just sitting there vacant, waiting for someone to decide to start a radio station, but that no one wants them because they aren't worth the effort?

I would speculate that there are limits placed on the number of FM stations by market, and that Duluth/Superior is a much smaller market than the Twin Cities. 

Incidentally, the Twin Ports has 26 FM stations. The Twin Cities has 37.

That said, I wish someone in the know would comment here so we can stop guessing.

Hayburn

about 6 years ago

Last week stumbled on 89.1, WGZS tribal/public radio station out of Cloquet. Given the near frequency and hot temps, thought I was receiving the Current via some atmospheric anomaly. Daytime music programming is surprisingly good.  Non-commercial too.

Herzog

about 6 years ago

Since you mentioned it P, I was just talking about what an overpriced ass bag of a dirty hippy burrito the Union serves, and how they don't even add any vegetables to their dog fare, like Chipolte does, who, would that they were here, be suffocate farting the BU with a hurricane of profits into next Tuesday, bringing jobs and taxes to a more perfect Duluth Tomorrow.

Indeed, the Chipolte rant might've been the last interesting thread on here, save for the Sasquatch 5k ... that was fun. If I have to read any more cell phone coverage or 'is this neighborhood white enough for me' threads I'm going to suffer a deviated anginal heiruspectum.

Badcat, everyone wants to turn on the radio and listen to music they like, if you can do that 17 percent of the time with the Current, as they mix in a little Nat King Cole to show us their retro and vintage side too, tell us your secret.

Why can't I get that awesome country station out of Cloquet is what I want to know, WGIZ?

[email protected]

about 6 years ago

Meh.  Current = College Radio for the unimaginative.

in.dog.neato

about 6 years ago

But Herzog...Chipotle doesn't have beer. Chipotle doesn't even have shitty beer. Doesn't matter what the food is like, good beer and mediocre menu items trump hipster fast food any day.

wildknits

about 6 years ago

Ah but you forgot one of the best, though not located in the Twin Ports it comes in clearer at my house (Lincoln Park) then KUMD. WOJB 88.9 out of Reserve, WI.

Best public radio in the area hands down.

DaVe

about 6 years ago

I was wondering if people could pick up WOJB in Duluth.

burnettd

about 6 years ago

I'll second daytime programming on 89.1. Usually pretty solid and listenable. I find I can't listen to any other local stations for a reasonable period of time, outside of WPR and MPR news (and WPR is far better most of the time).  

What this region really needs is a good AM classic country music station.

duluth_bishop

about 6 years ago

Any of you ever checked out KVSC out of SCSU? KUMD has some good stuff, but I'd rather have them feed the Current than World Cafe when they aren't live. I think KVSC manages to keep it entirely live. Their trivia challenge was awesome back in the 1990s -- before the internet made access to information so easy. Haven't played it since the Bush I administration, but back then the trivia weekend was pretty much a holiday event.

zizzer t

about 6 years ago

I will listen via Iheart Radio. I listen to Homegrown Radio. Thank goodness there's enough internet content to listen to what I want whenever I want wherever I want. I listen to it all.

pats

about 6 years ago

Here's another tidbit that might shed some light on the question of FM frequency availability.  Back when radio was regulated, the Twin Ports had more radio stations than most markets, based on our population because we are on a state border.  So, there were Wisconsin stations and Minnesota stations.  Even now, without that regulation, we don't have a lot of empty band space for new stations to pop in.  On the other hand, satellite radio isn't an outrageous consideration if you can't find what you're looking for on the free broadcast bands.

burnettd

about 6 years ago

duluth_bishop, 

I listened to KVSC a fair amount growing up around that area, and find it to be a pretty solid college station - if I'm going to stream something, it's usually that or KUOM.  Usually it's a decent listen during the daytime.

duluth_bishop

about 6 years ago

I agree with burnettd - AM country.  Ideally a Random Radio endeavor.

brian

about 6 years ago

I talked to someone from MPR about this a couple years ago. She said MPR would love to have the Current up here, but it is indeed the availability of FM frequencies that's holding them back. Chances of Red Rock or Midwest letting any of their stations go is pretty much zero, especially when they probably know it would become competition from the Current. So the only real option is if something like a religious station or other independent went out of business.

adam

about 6 years ago

Or getting mega-watt stations to explicitly broadcast in their licensed FM frequencies, instead of over-powering their defined spectrum for reach and harshing out close (spectrum) competitors.

Also: last I checked, mega-watt FCC radio license application fees could run $50,000 and up.

I would support a Brian Barberism religious station.

Shane

about 6 years ago

The FM spectrum has the low end from 88-92 reserved for non-commercial stations. I would speculate that MPR is holding out for an open frequency in that band, rather than try and use a commercial frequency.

http://www.fcc.gov/topic/fm-radio

baci

about 6 years ago

After the Rock the Garden Low Hate I lost my appetite for The Current. Seems like the same old Mpls trendist BS

Jake

about 6 years ago

The Current will never come here because, although we don't want to admit it, there's no market for it here. There are some of us who do want it and would listen to it, but not enough to make it worthwhile to build a transmitter or obtain spectrum. Most of us who do want it have internet and smart phones and have full access to all three (or is it four now?) streams of the Current 24/7 wherever we are.

emilymoesewco

about 6 years ago

Grand Rapids has a bigger market than Duluth? Seriously? 

Yes, I know I can stream. But if I stream something it'd be my favorite radio station in the world, as I'm not limited to MN offerings: XRT in Chicago. What I need is a radio station for the car. Car radio stations are important, and I can stream XRT there too, but the cell signal doesn't always hold and bye bye radio that doesn't make me feel a couple of decades older.

BadCat!

about 6 years ago

It also transmits in Hinckley. I'd like to think that Duluth can muster more Current listeners than Hinckley.

Also, yes I can stream it on my phone, but what about the people who don't have smartphones, or have limited data plans?

Jake

about 6 years ago

The Current is in Austin, Grand Rapids, Hinckley, MSP, Mankato, New Ulm, Rochester, and Saint Peter.  Duluth isn't nearly as hip a town as we think it is, not when you look at the overall demographic.  Maybe we should band together and start a community radio station?  True public radio?

spy1

about 6 years ago

Name seven places with ample local radio bandwidth.

emilymoesewco

about 6 years ago

I have lived near Mankato. There is no place less hip than Mankato.

ruby2sd4y

about 6 years ago

FYI: Go talk to the MPR people (from my email yesterday):

Please join us for MPR Connects! A gathering of MPR members and friends to discuss a range of topics about MPR and its services. In this installment of the series, MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner will present updated data on how climate changes are unfolding globally and right here in Minnesota. In addition, Steve Nelson, MPR News program director, will also be on hand for an engaging discussion about the future of public broadcasting in Minnesota and the U.S.
 
The event will be held on Tuesday, October 8, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m., in the August Fitger Room on the third floor of Fitger's Complex, located at 600 E Superior Street in Duluth.
 
The event is free and open to the public; however, an RSVP is requested at mpr.org/duluth or call 218-722-9411.
 
Sincerely,
 
Stephen Schreiber
Public Affairs & Government Relations Specialist
Minnesota Public Radio
 
 
P.S. -- Stay up to date with all MN4MPR happenings by visiting our Facebook page!

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