By Chris McGuinness
Killeen Daily Herald
Signs of growth are all around Central Texas College’s campus in Killeen.
New buildings are abundant, from the planetarium and nursing center to the student center.
And, then there is Building 109: Home to two institutions that are nearly as old as the school.
KNCT, a PBS affiliate, and KNCT-FM went on the air in November 1970, five years after the community college was founded.
“We’re here to provide quality programing to viewers and listeners,” said Max Rudolph, general manager for both the radio and television stations. “We have a great relationship with (the college) and are able to serve the local student community as well.”
Initially, both stations were on the air for eight hours, five days a week. Today, they operate 24 hours, seven days and are manned by 15 full-time and five part-time employees.
“They are a great group of professionals,” said Rudolph, a former CTC student. “They all have to wear a lot of hats.
One of those employees is Jeri Couey, a console operator for the radio station handles weather, traffic and editing among other duties. She also has worked for the television side as an anchor for CTC News.
“I basically do whatever I can, whatever (Rudolph) needs me to,” she said.
KNCT-FM, which is heard from San Marcos to Hillsborough, is the only easy-listening radio station in the Waco-Killeen-Temple area. Rudolph said among the station’s most popular shows is the six-hour “Big Bandstand Sundays” hosted by Charlie St. George.
While the music mostly caters to an older demographic, Couey said she finds it relaxing and enjoys working at a station with a close relationship with the local community. “We’re supported by our listeners,” she said. “We are providing them with great programming, and they show their support by donating to us.”
Like Randolph, Couey is a former student at the college along with KNCT employee Mike Bartoszek, who is a televisoin producer and director. He started working at the station in 2003 while he was a student in the college’s radio and television broadcasting program.
Rudolph, who also runs the academic program, allows students to work at the stations to gain hands-on experience.
“I loved it, because we were learning how to work with the equipment right out of the gate,” said Bartoszek. “You weren’t just cooped up learning from textbooks; you got to take the knowledge and learn how to use it.”
Bartoszek said that real-world experience was vital in television, where technology advances at a rapid pace. “When I first came in 2003, we were using VHS and tape,” he said. “Now we use an all-digital system; it’s completely different.”
To illustrate the point, Bartoszek opened the door to a small room filled with large, black, humming towers. “Those are the computers,” he said. “You’re basically looking at the (television) station.”
Regardless of how listeners and viewers get the two stations’ media content, Couey said she enjoys the human aspect of her job the most.
“Really, it’s just a great place to work,” she said.
KNCT-FM is located at 91.3 FM on the radio dial. KNCT features PBS programming on channel 46-1, Time Warner Cable channel 4; The Pentagon Channel on 46-2, Time Warner Cable channel 1012; and Create TV on channel 46-3, Time Warner Cable channel 156.