Radio almost seems like an elemental force—it’s been around so long that it seems like a little winter weather won’t stop it, right?
But Benny Smith has recently added the coming cold season to the long list of anxieties he faces as general director of the University of Tennessee’s student-operated station WUTK. The station’s transmitter tower is in desperate need of replacing; Smith worries that the station’s terrestrial signal, and perhaps its very existence, could be cut off if the current tower takes any more environmental abuse.
“Basically, the tower we have is so torn and frayed at this point, it could literally go south any day,” Smith says. “And there’s no repairing it; we’ve got to replace it. If it fails to transmit that terrestrial signal, we’re cut off at the knees. How do you raise money when you don’t have a signal?”
Here’s where you come in: To celebrate College Radio Day on Oct. 1, WUTK will hold an on-air fund-raising drive to raise $15,000 for a new tower. ($2,000 toward that goal has already been raised.) The day will include “big announcements,” Smith says, so it’s worth checking in during the day in addition to pledging cash online at wutkradio.com. In addition to ensuring the station’s continued operation, the new tower will likely fill in gaps in WUTK’s current signal.