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Gillian and Dave Sutton appeared tired but excited Wednesday as they packed up the last of their 10 state awards received this year from the New Mexico Broadcasters Association/AP.
Following their final interview, which included Department of Public Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith and DPU spokesperson Allison Majure, the couple moved from Central Park Square, where the station has operated for 10 years, into a new studio in the Hilltop Shopping Center.
“We’ve moved for economic reasons — going from a big office with big bills to a little office with little bills,” Gillian said. “Plus we’ll be in the line of sight of our new antenna and can run a microwave system to transmit our signal from our new studio to our new antenna.”
The antenna she refers to is 170-feet tall and has been the subject of an arduous and expensive approval process.
The Suttons purchased KRSN from a bankruptcy situation five years ago and immediately began efforts to erect a new antenna in the townsite. The current antenna is located in White Rock, which the FCC does not consider to be part of Los Alamos. The current location also is blamed for spotty reception. The new site across from Los Alamos Middle School on Hawk Drive was purchased through an agreement with Los Alamos Public Schools.
“We’ve obtained clearance from the FAA, a construction permit from the FCC and we’ve had a cultural survey completed to ensure there were no archeological sites on the property,” Gillian said. “All we need now is a Los Alamos County building permit, which I’m working on. We hope to erect the new and improved antenna this spring, she said.
The Suttons said they don’t mind moving to a 650 square foot studio from a space more than twice that size.
“We’re really looking forward to the variety of improvements we will be able to achieve in our new studio,” David Sutton said.
A major improvement will be a new $3,000 digital audio control board to replace the station’s current 1970s model. The new board is expected to arrive in mid January and should greatly enhance broadcast sound quality, he said.
“We are getting a truly new studio with fresh wiring and other upgrades of all those little things that get old over the years,” Gillian said.
KRSN, at 3801 Suite E, Arkansas St., will not go off the air during this transition period, Gillian said. Next week, the station intends to broadcast the “Best of 2010” interviews and will be back in full operation Jan. 3. The telephone number remains 663-1490.