BC’s radio station expands

Chris Toomey / The Watchdog
Chris Toomey / The Watchdog

As of March 15, 2013, 91.3 KBCS is broadcasting from their new location atop Cougar Mountain. A bigger antenna at 1,400 feet above sea level has increased KBCS’ signal coverage area over 40 percent. The new location has increased coverage as far east as Fall City, as south as Tacoma, west to Poulsbo- the Kitsap and Peninsula, and north up to Everett. Listeners across the Puget Sound now enjoy a stronger, clearer broadcasting experience.

In the early 70s, a group of Bellevue College students prepared for a sit-in at the president’s office that would result in KBCS’ first live broadcast in February of ‘73. The station originally produced its radio programs with a 10-watt transmitter and equipment donated by KING-FM.

Preparing for its fortieth anniversary this year, 91.3 KBCS has grown an audience of over 2.5 million listeners across the Puget Sound. 35,000 listeners in the Seattle area alone tune in every week.
“What’s unique about KBCS is we have over 100 community volunteers, including students, who produce all of our music programming,” said Program Director Bruce Wirth.

KBCS strives for diversity in its programming. Hip-Hop, electronica, reggae, folk and news talk are just a few examples of broadcasted content. 
“Our goal is to serve a lot of different types of listeners. My job is to make sure that we’re keeping our eye on that ball and representing the diversity in our community,” said Wirth.

91.3 KBCS has been a stepping stone for some famous on-air personalities. 
“Quite a number of the people of NPR in our area were trained at KBCS,” said Wirth.
The KBCS team includes work-study students, student employees and student volunteers. Students interested in becoming involved with KBCS should visit KBCS.fm for more information.

There is an eight week Basic Broadcasting course offered as a continuing education class. This class trains students in using radio technology, basic radio etiquette, and prepares them for future radio career opportunities. Upon course completion, contact Bruce Wirth for further information on internship openings.
KBCS radio programs are also available via live webstream and archived podcasts. Tune into KBCS.fm to listen.