Bates Spends $80,000 on a New WRBC Radio Tower

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Ella Beiser, Contributing Writer

A new radio tower was installed for WRBC, Bates’ student-run radio station, after the station faced transmission difficulties caused by a corroded radio tower. The new tower began transmitting Sept. 9 and a fence surrounding it was installed and completed on Sept. 17 according to Mary Pols, the Bates Media Relations Specialist.

According to the Sun Journal, the new radio tower cost $80,000. The club explored a number of different options to pay for the tower, but in the end it was funded by Bates’ capital budget, which is used to acquire and maintain college assets like buildings, land and equipment.

Last spring, the WRBC board met with the Campus Life and Bates Financial Services staff to explain why it was important the station remain radio, rather than digital.

“If we just had it as an internet service we would be losing out on a lot of people in Lewiston and Auburn,” Najá Crockett ‘23, WRBC Community Liaison, said. “A lot of people in this area don’t have reliable internet access and people listen to WRBC while commuting. FM radio is still one of the biggest ways that people listen to music.”

Moving to an online platform was an option proposed by the college. However, according to Crockett, board members were unanimous in their opinion: WRBC had to stay a radio station. 

“We were talking about potentially revamping the studio in some ways,” Crockett said, “but without the tower, we wouldn’t really be a radio station anymore and then everything else would feel like a bandaid over the issue of nothing tying us to Lewiston, which I think is really important considering we live here, […] a lot of us vote here and a lot of us support these businesses.”

According to Crockett, the new radio station was worth the price tag, and the quality of the transmission has increased dramatically.

“We were out in Lewiston and we were testing it out and seeing if it works and it does, I can attest to that,” Crockett said. “I definitely feel like the fact that it’s still on FM radio gives me more reason to want to do my show rather than just relying on Bates students or people who I tell from home to listen in.”

Crockett is the managing editor for the Features Section of The Student