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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

KAGU off the air…


Good morning, Netizens...


I listen to very few radio stations in Spokane, primarily because I have an allergic reaction to radio advertising of all kinds and very specific tastes in musical fare. All I have to do is hear one smarmy advertisement and I either turn off the station within seconds or simply switch over to either KPBX or KAGU, two of my favorite non-commercial FM radio stations. In the case of KPBX, although they do not technically have advertisements, they do occasionally toss in a few good words for their sponsors. However, by comparison KAGU radio has no sponsors, save the typical things one hears around a Jesuit University, it is solely a classical music venue, one of my personal favorite genres.

Generally speaking, if there is a radio turned on anywhere across the vast wasteland of our home, the chances are it is one of our two radio favorite stations. That was until yesterday when KAGU disappeared from the airwaves, leaving chatter and hiss in its place. It was as if it simply wasn't there any more. Even worse than that, none of the other radio or television stations seemed to know it was silent. A radio station being off the air apparently isn't news, as evidenced by past weather anomalies where several of Spokane stations left the air due to high wind, lightning storms and who could forget Ice Storm?


I spoke with KAGU station manager Phil Taylor in the aftermath to find out what caused KAGU to leave the air, thinking perhaps the high winds had taken their toll on the transmitter tower, as has happened to KPBX in the past.


Instead it was a piece of transmitter electronics referred to as an exciter, which had failed for some unexplained reason. The transmitter exciter, which converts analog radio signals to RF signals suitable for transmission, costs about $15,000 according to Taylor, and one was procured and air-freighted in the next morning.


So my imperfect world is at once again set to rights,

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.