By Christie S. Peterson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
As an American icon traditionally fostering free speech and eclectic musical programs, college radio is an often romanticized institution, but one that has not recently been well-funded at the UA.
To attempt to eliminate this stumbling block for the University of Arizona's own student produced radio, Associated Students Undergraduate Senator Ethan Orr and KAMP radio leaders have proposed collecting a fee of 50 cents per semester from every student to help support the station.
KAMP is the official UA student-produced radio station currently broadcasting on cable channel 69 and at 106.9 FM, although this transmission is not strong enough to be picked up outside of the UA Mall area.
The fee would be added to student billing, as are recreation center dues, and would raise a projected $37,000 per year for the station.
Orr said he has been soliciting student responses to the proposal by electronic mail, and that of the 45 received by Friday, most were "fairly positive."
Both Orr and KAMP General Manager Keith Ozar said they did not believe the fee would be a large burden on students.
"Fifty cents is not that much and it's worth it to have a student radio on campus," Orr said. "Fifty cents isn't a lot to ask for entertainment and information."
To enact the proposed charge, approval is needed from administrative Vice President of Student Affairs Sandra Taylor. Orr said he has suggested a student vote on the issue, although no dates for such a referendum have been set.
One of KAMP's first uses of the money will be to purchase a 20-watt AM transmitter. If the fee is approved, the transmitter will be in use by the beginning of next semester and will have a broadcast radius of three to five miles.
Ozar said he believes the station is ready for the move.
"We've sized down the number of (disc jockey's) ... to prepare for AM transmission," he said. "The programming is a lot stronger."
Those involved said the fee will be needed to support the station for at least a few years, until commercial support can make up the difference.
"Once KAMP gets these resources, it would be a travesty not to provide continuing resources," Orr said.
"This really is an excellent step forward ... in creating a campus community," Orr said. "This will allow KAMP the chance to build up listenership."
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