A $36,000 loan was made from ASUCD Capital Reserves to student-run UC Davis radio station KDVS earlier this month, allowing the purchase of a new radio tower to strengthen the station’s transmission signal and solidify its broadcast presence in Yolo County.
The tower is set to stand at the Yolo County Central Landfill, northeast of Davis in Woodland.
Community members have raised concerns that the light from the radio tower will be a disturbance and harmful to the birds of the area.
“The tower will be placed in landfill and there are already five larger towers in that place,” said KDVS general manager Renner Burkle. “I don’t know why they hate that tower … the light from the tower can be blocked by a thumb when you look from the bottom and nobody will notice that.”
A supervisors meeting was held Nov. 13 to see if the project would require further environmental analysis and surveyance. The case was presented to the Supreme Court of California and final judgment will be announced on Nov. 27. Yolo County supervisors have already voted that no environmental review will be necessary to erect the tower.
The new tower is estimated to increase listenership, which is expected to add two percent in fundraised income and allow Burkle to accelerate repayment to ASUCD. He projects reaching 500,000 potential listeners compared to the current 200,000 within the protected contour, in addition to millions of potentials in Sacramento County.
Though the bill passed unanimously, it did not pass with ease. According to Burkle, the bill went through the Business and Finance Commission three times after being tabled, and was seen twice by the senate. After nearly 20 hours of discussion, the bill passed with an 11-0 vote during a Nov. 8 senate meeting.
“The passage of this bill is important because it helped keep KDVS, a treasured hallmark of our campus for decades alive and prepared to expand in the future to more listeners because of this tower. If this bill failed, KDVS would have been on the path to fail as an ASUCD unit in the next five to ten years,” Kapur said in an email interview.
The total allocation for the new radio tower is $120,184.41 — $84,184.41 from KDVS reserves, with the rest coming from ASUCD Capital Reserves. According to Kapur, the initial reluctance to pass the bill came from the concern that $36,000, which is 37 percent of the Capital Reserves, was too large of an amount.
Burkle said that the loan is being paid back using the money the station is saving each year by no longer having to maintain the 30-plus year old equipment.
“We’re making sure that the payback process is airtight and will be stepping up our fundraising efforts to help pay back the loan quicker than anticipated,” Burkle said.
An additional $1,000 underwriting package, that includes 81 spots of broadcast time a year, will be given to ASUCD for the next 10 years; this will not be used to cancel KDVS of any debt to ASUCD.
“We are just waiting for the final thing and we will be ready to go,” Burkle said.
According to the Burkle, the tower will be built between Nov. 22 and Dec. 25. Broadcast from the tower is estimated to begin before Jan. 15, 2013 according to the Senate Bill.
MENGSHI SHAO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.