By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A Stillwater-based public radio station plans to expand to Oklahoma’s capital later this year.
KOSU, a federally and publicly funded radio station, is expected to move part of its operation to Oklahoma City in September, Director Kelly Burley said.
The new facility, located inside the Hart Building in Historic Film Row, will provide more space for programming.
“We can seat 50 people in the new venue and depending on what it is; it’s multipurpose,” Burley said. “We do plan to have live music that we’ll broadcast in the facility either live or tape delayed. We will do internet-type tiny desk concerts that we will post online.”
Burley said there are many plans for the new studio, including having more guests share stories or experiences around a particular topic and continuing to foster community dialogue, which the group does through its “On Tap” program, presented through a partnership with Picasso Cafe in the Paseo Arts District.
Burley said the idea came about in 2012 when KOSU began looking at a five-year strategic plan.
“In that plan, we did a survey, we talked with members of our advisory board, other members of the community about where KOSU was at the time and where it needed to go to grow and improve in the future,” he said.
Listeners and supporters said they wanted more in terms of local programming and connection to the state.
“As part of that, we determined there was a real need for us to create a space where we could engage our community in a whole new way,” he said. “We’ve been in this facility for many, many, many years and we have no space here in which we can actually bring listeners in to experience music, to engage in conversations about community issues, etc.”
Oklahoma City seemed like a natural place to expand, he said.
“We’ve seen dramatic growth in terms of our listenership, in terms of our contributing base, in terms of our underwriters and a lot of that growth has been in Oklahoma City,” he said.
After settling in Oklahoma City, Burley said the OSU facility will be taken offline temporarily to upgrade equipment. Listeners will hear no difference, he said.
“Ultimately, we’ll be able to broadcast live from either location,” he said. “The staff will be split. “
Plans for the Stillwater studios include creation of a student production hub to engage more students in public radio storytelling.
“It’s my hope that as we raise funds we will be able to hire a student coordinator to recruit and train and bring these students into our news mix,” Burley said.