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|KEDM kicks off campaign to raise money for digital broadasting|
Supporters of KEDM, northeast Louisiana's only public radio station, are now hitting the streets to raise money to pay for digital technology upgrades.
KEDM must raise $150,000 for the station to upgrade to digital broadcasting technology. The Federal Communications Commission is urging all public radio stations to upgrade to digital broadcasting.
Digital broadcasting means the station will send out a FM signal with "static-free, crystal-clear reception and CD quality sound," said Cynthia Perdue, KEDM general manager. Also, information such as artists' names, song titles, local weather alerts, school closings and emergency news bulletins will scroll across the display on a listener's digital radio, Perdue said.
During a news conference Monday, KEDM formally announced its campaign to raise $150,000.
KEDM was awarded a $105,000 grant from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. KEDM can access the grant funding if the station can raise the rest of the money to pay for the $255,000-project to upgrade KEDM's equipment to digital broadcasting.
Whitty Hood, president of Ouachita Independent Bank, is chairman of the committee spearheading KEDM's efforts to raise the $150,000 by the end of May.
The project to convert to digital broadcasting needs to be complete by late fall, Perdue said.
"We're the last in the state to undertake this process. Shreveport is already broadcasting on three of their four channels, so we're just behind," Perdue said. "Besides a really high quality sound, it gives us other possibilities such as adding more channels. Theoretically, we could have a reading channel, a blue grass channel and an opera channel and have that same CD quality sound (for each channel). We hope this campaign will build awareness of KEDM. We offer a really diverse program for our community and we have a large listening area, and it's important for us to reach out to those members and our listeners."
Hood added, "I am very excited by this opportunity to lead KEDM into the next level of growth in the station's ongoing mission to better serve their coverage area of northeast Louisiana and southern Arkansas. Our community cannot be left behind. KEDM is the last public radio station in the state to begin the digital process, and it is imperative that we raise the necessary funds. I want everyone to be proud to say, 'I was part of the team that brought digital public radio to the Ark-La-Miss.' "
KEDM is located on the campus of University of Louisiana-Monroe. It recently celebrated its 16th anniversary of service as northeast Louisiana's only public radio station.