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 Broadcaster of the Year

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KUMD's Kirk Kersten Receives AMPERS Award

Kirk Kersten
Kirk Kersten, Broadcaster of the Year

The Association of Minnesota Public Educational Radio Stations (AMPERS) named Kirk Kersten Broadcaster of the Year at the AMPERS annual meeting on June 17. Ralph “Kirk” Kersten is chief engineer for KUMD 103.3FM, the public radio station operated by UMD.

According to the nomination letter written by KUMD staff, "Kirk has been with KUMD for over 25 years and has been responsible for many major improvements in our production, operating, and broadcasting services. He has been a steadfast loyal employee, who cares so much for KUMD that he finds it difficult to take a vacation, let alone leave the area more than a week at a time. Even when he does take a few days off, most times he ends up coming back into the station to fix something."

In the last 18 months, Kersten has been responsible for the following upgrades to KUMD:
• Installation of a new microwave system
• Installation of an automation system
• Installation of a web or phone remote monitoring system (allowing the station to go 24 hours unattended)
• Installation of a ripping computer for future scheduling of our music library
• Completed networking of four computers: allowing staff to do production work from their offices, thereby freeing up the production studio.

Kersten is currently completing the installation of a new production studio, completing a new streaming system allowing KUMD to add APPS for smart phones, and installing a new transmission line to replace the 20-plus year-old line. In addition to working on these major projects, Kersten upgrades and maintains all of KUMD's computer hardware, computer software, and the phone system.

Station manager, Vicki Jacoba, gives Kersten glowing praise. "Kirk is on-call 24 hours a day and is always willing to come back to the station whenever there is any mechanical issue," she said. "He often puts in 10-12 hour days to finish a project so his colleagues can complete their tasks to keep KUMD on the air with timely material. Much to his credit, Kirk is always protecting KUMD in a variety of ways. He plans ahead for possible future issues or problems. No matter what piece of equipment breaks, Kirk seems to have a backup or a solution to the problem and quickly makes the problem go away. He researches the newest and most compatible equipment or systems that are cost effective, but of the highest quality, to keep repairs or replacements to a minimum. Our air quality is spectacular, and Kirk deserves full credit for the accomplishment."

AMPERS is a voluntary association of 12 independently licensed, locally responsive, community-based noncommercial radio stations with signals that cover nine-tenths of Minnesota’s area and 92% of its population. The association presents one Broadcaster of the Year award annually. Station personnel are judged on the basis of programming, production, engineering, development, marketing, and community involvement.

KUMD-FM (103.3 FM) is UMD's 95,000-watt public radio station. It was founded by students at UMD in 1957. The station primarily carries an adult alternative radio format, but also has a number of programs focusing on jazz, blues, and other genres. KUMD airs its college oriented programming after 9 pm CST, under the moniker, "The Basement." The station streams audio from its website,

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Last modified on 06/28/11 09:53 AM
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