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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Radio X seeks approval for ballot initiative

Radio X is asking for students’ approval for more funding to help make improvements to the station’s transmitter system and location.

In the upcoming referendum vote on April 6 – 7, Radio X is asking for a $0.70 increase per student per semester.  The organization would use the money to buy a transmitter with both digital and analog capabilities, change the transmitter’s location from Presque Isle Avenue to Morgan Meadows located between Marquette and Negaunee, and expand the area in which the radio station can be received.

If the students approve the increase in funding, Radio X would use the additional money to get a loan from NMU and pay it back over the next eight years. The total cost of the moving and improvement of the equipment is estimated to cost around $100,000.

Radio X advisor Charles Ganzert said that Radio X received a loan from the university to get its initial funding when it was started in 1993.

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“We have a history of getting help and paying it back,” he said. “We are making one big change all at once instead of just doing (the improvements) in smaller pieces.”

In its current location, the analog transmitter is vulnerable to hazards such as dust, debris and moisture on the smoke stack of the Wisconsin Electric power plant, said Radio X’s production director, Louis Justman.

“It’s kind of like when you go to the beach and bring a camera,” he said. “When fine dust (and other particles) gets into any kind of electronics, it can really screw things up.”

The new analog and digital transmitter would provide the station with 1,700 watts of power compared to the 360-watt transmitter that is currently in place. With more than five times as much power, the coverage area for the signal would reach approximately 32,000 people instead of the roughly 17,000 the current transmitter can broadcast to. With this improvement, Justman said he hopes that Radio X will be heard in more areas in the U.P. such as Negaunee, Ishpeming, Big Bay and potentially as far away as Munising.

“Radio X has by far the most diverse variety of music in the entire U.P.,” Justman said. “By voting for this, (NMU students) will be able to hear what we broadcast more efficiently, and we will be able to compete directly with the other radio stations in the area for listeners.”

Radio X general manager Erin Astle said that the new transmitter’s ability to broadcast digitally would give people with a digital receiver sound quality that would be comparable to that of a CD without eliminating audiences with only analog capability in their radios.

“(Radio X) understands that it could be a few more years before all students have digital radios in their cars,” she said. “But newer cars come with digital radios so it’s really only a matter of time (before everyone benefits from the digital capability).”

Astle said that she believes that the improvements will help to raise awareness of activities at NMU because Radio X broadcasts student announcements and promotes campus organizations and only 32 percent of students live on campus.

“The average (NMU) student will get better service within Marquette city,” she said. “But the big advantage really comes from people that are commuting from the surrounding towns. A lot of people don’t listen to Radio X because of the spotty service (in the areas around Marquette).”

Astle said that it’s up to students to decide whether or not think the changes are necessary.

“The most important thing is not whether they say “Yes,” or “No.” (It’s that) they get out there and vote,” she said. “It’s up to the students to get out there and decide whether it’s important to them and  to have a say about what’s going to happen at NMU.”

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