Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Oldest Urban Legend in Radio

It always starts in a different city, and different call letters, but this part is always the same: "...then they attached a cable to the railroad tracks and the station was audible from one end of [insert state] to the other. ...then the FCC shut them down/fined them." It's almost always a college station, and usually in the midwest. I have heard Jersey versions but alas, nothing incriminating yet.

I thought the beleivability was low for years. Then I started meeting engineers that tried similar things. A certain engineer at a certain radio station in New Jersey managed to use the steel frame of the buildings elevator shaft as an arial. It improved their signal tremendously... as long at the elevator was on the ground floor...

The only beleivable claim to this legend was earned by the infamous KDIC in Grinell Iowa. Currently their license is deleted but they were still causing troubel as recently as last year.
The Grinnell College campus is in close proximity to 2 rail lines. I quote: "The college was invited to move to [Josiah Grinell's] newly-founded town, located at the intersection of two major railway lines. Today, one can still experience the effects from this choice of location in the form of a railroad that cuts across the college campus."

The blurb is no longer on their website but of course.. I kept a copy.. this is my favorite part:

"One time, KDIC let some delinquent students convince him to connect his vocal chords to the nearby train tracks, so he could laugh and cry and sing with all his might all across the land. Well, a big mean FCC person from the orphanage heard about this, and the Grinnell students lost their right to play with KDIC for a whole year! KDIC was locked away in the closet and everyone was very sad. They also had to pay a big fine! "Jeepers," exclaimed several of the students, "just who is this big mean FCC person anyways? We just want to rock!" But the big bad FCC person does not rock."

KDIC has been fined a couple times for fairly general naughtiness. I dont have a lot of reason to beleive this one except that they clealy had the opportunity.. and definitely had the inclination.
http://kdic.grinnell.edu/

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