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8/16/2013 7:34:00 AM
KOSU launches new studio in OKC
KOSU is expanding its services by adding a new studio in Oklahoma City. Pictured are Kelly Burley, KOSU director and Rachel Hubbard, KOSU associate director and general manager. Journal photo by Van Mitchell
KOSU is expanding its services by adding a new studio in Oklahoma City. Pictured are Kelly Burley, KOSU director and Rachel Hubbard, KOSU associate director and general manager.

Journal photo
by Van Mitchell
By Van Mitchell

Kelly Burley knew that if KOSU 91.7 radio was going to grow it was going to need the right opportunity and funding to make it happen.

Next month, that opportunity will become a reality when KOSU debuts its new Oklahoma City studio located in Hart Building in Film Row located at 726 West Sheridan.

A ribbon cutting will be held Sept. 20 and Burley hopes the new 4,000 square foot facility will be on-air that same week.

Burley said he discussed the idea for a new studio with Chip Fudge an OSU alumni who owns the building and is one of the principal developers of the renovation project.

"I started having conversations with the developer of this building Chip Fudge who is an OSU alumni about the possibility of locating a studio space here," Burley said. "Fifteen months ago this building was a complete shell. It was completely gutted out. He liked the idea.

He saw us as an entity that could really raise awareness of what is happening down here. It speaks to the larger transformation of this area from Skid Row to Film Row."

Established in 1955, KOSU is a member-supported public radio network that operates 91.7 KOSU in central Oklahoma including Stillwater and Oklahoma City and 107.5 KOSN in northeast Oklahoma including Tulsa, Bartlesville and the Grand Lake area.

KOSU can also be heard at 107.3 in south Tulsa and at 101.9 in Okmulgee. Reaching thousands of listeners every week, KOSU is a distinguished public radio news and information service with award-winning local news coverage and NPR news content.

KOSU also features signature public radio news and cultural programs from American Public Media, Public Radio International and independent producers.

Burley said Oklahoma City was a natural fit for the new studio.

"Oklahoma City by far is the largest city in our listening audience and we don't have a physical presence here and we are trying to serve that market from Stillwater," Burley said. "In our current facility there is no way to really engage our audience. It is small and we are limited in what we can do there.

We felt it was natural for us to look at Oklahoma City." Burley said KOSU received two grants in addition to fundraising to pay for the studio construction.

He said KOSU received a $150,000 grant from the Excellence in Journalism Foundation and a $75,000 grant from the Kirkpatrick Foundation. "Obviously we want to sustain this long-term and we are in the process of raising major gifts to do that," Burley said.

Burley said staffing the Stillwater and Oklahoma City studios has meant reorganization. He said Rachel Hubbard, KOSU's associate director and general manager will work full-time from Oklahoma City while he will split his time between both locations.

"We reshuffled the deck," Burley said. "We will add at least one position here and it is my hope we can add another position in Stillwater."

Burley said OSU's leadership including OSU President Burns Hargis has been supportive of KOSU's addition to Oklahoma City.

"I think that OSU leadership realizes that public radio faces challenges in terms of funding," he said.

"It will help us to serve our markets more. "One of the caveats of us doing this was maintaining a presence in Stillwater and we are doing that." Burley said the biggest challenge thus far has been new technology.

"Technology has changed so much," Burley said. When KOSU signed on in 1955 our first antenna was on a light pole and we barely covered the campus. Today we cover over 50,000 square miles."

Burley said KOSU had in its long-range plans to add another location, but the timing of the event surprised even him.

"I hope it would have happened in our (latest) five year plan but it is happening faster than that," Burley said. "It is a new chapter that we will think will help sustain public radio for years to come."

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