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Jan. 28, 2005
Contact: Phillip Wilke, Kansas Public Radio, (785) 864-5016.

KPR to begin transmitting digital signal later this year

LAWRENCE -- Kansas Public Radio announced today that, starting Dec. 1, it will begin transmitting a digital signal -- in addition to its existing analog signal -- from its locations in Lawrence, Junction City and Emporia. For listeners with digital receivers, the result will be much-improved reception and higher-quality sound. There will be no change in service or signal for listeners with analog receivers.

Partial funding for the conversion is provided by a $221,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. KPR will raise the additional $138,000 needed for the project from private donors, according to Janet Campbell, KPR general manager.

"Digital radio will enhance our broadcasts and our listeners' enjoyment," said Campbell. "Digital radio offers a multitude of benefits to listeners, and KPR wants to be on the leading edge of the gradual national conversion to digital."

The new digital radio receivers went on the market a year ago. Digital radio works by transmitting, or "datacasting," digital audio and data alongside existing AM and FM analog broadcast signals. The data are displayed on a screen on the radio.

"Digital radio sounds more like a compact disc," said Steve Kincaid, KPR's director of engineering. "Static-free reception is the major benefit for listeners. New data services -- such as scrolling artist names and song titles -- can also be displayed on the digital radio screen, along with traffic, weather or sports updates. Other applications currently under development by the industry include surround sound and the ability to choose multiple audio programs from a single dial position."

Kincaid assured KPR listeners that for the foreseeable future they'll be able to enjoy their favorite classical and jazz music, national and and state news, and variety and entertainment programs using their current radios. The digital conversion also won't change where listeners tune in to KPR.

"After Dec. 1, you'll still hear our signal loud and clear at KANU 91.5-FM in Lawrence, KANV 91.3-FM in Junction City and KANH 89.7-FM in Emporia," said Campbell. KPR also can be heard online worldwide at http://www.kpr.ku.edu.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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