Black Hills State University is expanding its radio programming throughout the Northern Hills, thanks to several donors.

BHSU, which has had a student-run KBHU radio station nearly 35 years, is expanding their coverage area following a donation from Educational Media Foundation (EMF) Broadcasting of a permit for a noncommercial educational FM radio station on Terry Peak.

BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp notes that extending the University radio station’s reach will greatly enhance the learning opportunities for students.

Joe Miller, EMF Broadcasting Director of Signal Development, said EMF’s plans for the station changed after discovering similarly formatted stations were already in place in Rapid City through Bethesda Christian Broadcasting.

“We discussed potential candidates to receive the permit…by donation…and Black Hills [State University] emerged as a great candidate with a desire to see their current service enhanced,” Miller says.

Tom Schoenstedt, Bethesda general manager of KSLT/KLMP/KTPT, expressed his appreciation of the University’s broadcasting program. “Good communications programs at the university level are good for the broadcasting industry because of the training ground they provide,” Schoenstedt says.

Scott Clarke, BHSU assistant professor of telecommunication and KBHU-FM advisor, has been working with EMF and many people at the University to make the expansion possible. BHSU is currently simulcasting KBHU’s signal on the new station, now known as KJKT-FM (K-Jacket). KBHU has long been known as “the Black Hills’ only alternative,” providing the region’s only mix of college, independent and alternative rock music. Clarke says that plans are in the works to add regular newscasts, sports broadcasts and a monthly interview program to the station as well.

K-Jacket broadcasts at 90.7 MHz and covers a 60-mile radius. KBHU’s signal radius is only 10 miles.

“K-Jacket will allow us to take our award-winning programming to the entire Northern Hills,” Clarke says.

Clarke said the construction of the new station has been “an amazing example of cooperation by many groups.” He credits EMF Broadcasting, Inc., for donating the construction permit itself, as well as the legal fees associated with transferring ownership to BHSU. Miller estimated EMF’s investment in the permit at between $40,000 and $50,000.

Clarke also recognizes Bethesda Christian Broadcasting for partnering with BHSU on the construction project. Bethesda has agreed to house K-Jacket’s transmitter at its Terry Peak site at no cost to the University.

Clarke also acknowledges Rapid Broadcasting for providing tower space for K-Jacket’s antenna through an arrangement with the University. The antenna is mounted on KNBN-TV’s transmission tower.

“Of course, none of this could be possible without [KBHU chief engineer] Cal Crooks who has spent months researching and planning the purchase of KJKT’s studio and transmission equipment. He’s worked wonders in a short amount of time,” Clarke says.

As a part of the Student Union expansion project at BHSU, the students will have new production and on-air studios for KBHU and K-Jacket. “The expansion of the radio station couldn’t have come at a better time,” Clarke says. “Our students are really going to benefit from both of these projects. This year is KBHU’s 35th anniversary. We hope that alumni will come and visit our new studios.”

KBHU, the only student run university radio station in a five-state region, first went on the air in September 1974, broadcasting at 89.1 MHz and 10 watts of power. The URL for the stations’ web stream is www.kbhuradio.net.

Many broadcasters in the state and region got their initial experience as a student at KBHU Radio. Stephanie Rissler, who is now a producer at South Dakota Public Broadcasting notes that she got her start at KBHU and the experience, served her well.

In addition to the radio station, BHSU students also operate KBHU-TV, which is seen locally on channels 5 (Midcontinent) and 18 (Knology). This semester’s programming includes a weekly campus newscast. BHSU has recently signed a deal with Rapid Broadcasting that allows student reporters to submit their KBHU news stories to KNBN for possible airing there, as well. Other programs this semester include “Spotlight”, a community affairs program, and the popular “Cooking with That Dude”. KBHU-TV also presents campus speakers and panel discussions throughout the year.

KBHU-FM, KJKT-FM and KBHU-TV are also working with BHSU’s campus newspaper, The Jacket Journal, to offer a converged media website in the fall.

“Dr. Mary Caton-Rosser and I want the website to offer students the opportunity to produce media content across platforms, and to give the public a one-stop destination for campus news and entertainment.”

The website will feature a common homepage for all student campus media, plus individual websites for the newspaper, radio stations and television station. The site will provide streaming audio and video, plus graphics and text. Clarke says that mass communication faculty are also proposing changes to the major that will better prepare graduates “for a digital future”.

For more information contact Clarke at 642-6750 or email ScottClarke@BHSU.edu.