Radio station designed for college students

Above: River Valley Radio offices. KAREN RICKETTS/THE ARKA TECH
Above: River Valley Radio offices. KAREN RICKETTS/THE ARKA TECH
Above: River Valley Radio offices. KAREN RICKETTS/THE ARKA TECH

A new radio station is in the works for Russellville as River Valley Radio looks to establish a radio station designed specifically for the Arkansas Tech student community.

River Valley Radio, which operates several stations within its Russellville studio, including KCJC 102.3 FM, KWKK 100.9 FM and 99.3 FM The Eagle, is looking to add to its repertoire a station that matches the interest of students.

Richard Nikols, general manager of the East Arkansas Broadcasters, said the idea for the radio station came from asking the community what the biggest challenge that the city and businesses faced.

“The dominant answer was that everyone wanted a stronger relationship with Arkansas Tech,” Nikols said. “To figure out ways to better integrate the student population at Tech with the overall River Valley community. At that point we began discussing how we could help the situation.”

The new radio station will be aimed at the 12 to 34 age demographic, which is 40 percent of Russellville’s population.

“Students at Arkansas Tech represent a disproportionately large portion of Russellville’s total population,” Nikols said. “The idea began to grow that we could put together a station specifically oriented towards the students.”
In preparation for the launch, Arkansas Tech students have the opportunity to become involved in the creation process by providing their input in a survey River Valley Radio created. The survey includes eight questions and seeks to identify songs, artists, genres of music, types of events and other programming that is popular among the demographic.

Students can complete the survey at River Valley Radio will continue to collect submissions until mid-November.

Arkansas Tech students will have plenty of opportunities to engage in the new university oriented radio station after it is established.

Nikols said the possibilities to include Tech students are endless.

“We want to feature local music composed and performed by the students on Friday nights here at our broadcast facilities,” Nikols said. “They will be able to record this for free in our recording studio. We want this station to focus on activities that are happening on campus, such as having student organizations on air discussing their ongoing and upcoming projects. As well as live events on campus; the possible tie-ins with Tech students are endless.”

Nikols said the opportunity to address an overall issue in the community has been the most exciting facet to developing the new station.

“We want to highlight and showcase how awesome Arkansas Tech University really is, so that our high school students make the decision to go to Tech instead of leaving the River Valley,” Nikols said. “Then, when the students are planning their careers for after graduation from ATU, we are going to work with the local business and industry to make sure that the students are aware of the amazing career opportunities. The River Valley has an amazing and large assortment of industry with high paying career opportunities that a lot of the Tech student body may be unaware exist.”

The station is set to launch in early 2017 and will broadcast over 97.1 FM.

Currently, listeners can stay tuned to KCAB 97.1 FM and 980 AM to be a part of the upcoming changes.