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WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday.The Sound of Science is made possible by Ken Spears Construction

The Sound of Science - '100th Episode'

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Jeremy: Welcome to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I'm Jeremy and today we're celebrating our 100th episode of the Sound of Science. Given the occasion, we couldn't think of a better topic than radio and science literacy. Joining us today, we've got WNIJ Producer Spencer Tritt.  

Spencer: Thanks for inviting me to talk on your 100th episode. Since we are celebrating all things radio for this segment, let’s start with just a little bit of the science that goes into getting our voices from this room, into our listeners’ radios. 

 

There’s a lot of different pieces that make up a radio station, but the main thing people think of are those are the huge towers with antennas sticking out everywhere. We usually don’t even notice them on the side of the road when we drive by, but these towers typically have a small building at the base that looks like a little shed. 

 

Inside those is everything that makes radio happen. Just some of the equipment includes exciters, which do as they sound, “exiting” the electrons and causing modulation to take place. Then there is the transmitter, which generates the frequency for the signal, which in our case is 89.5 megahertz. All of that gets amplified and sent through the tower as radio waves.

 

One interesting thing is that our tower and transmitter are not actually attached to the radio station, but is out in the middle of a field near Lindenwood, IL. To get the signal from our radio station to the tower we have to use another piece of equipment called a STL or Studio Transmitter Link. Ours is located on the very top floor of the Holmes Student Center on the campus of NIU, because when you live in a flat area like we do, you need to find the tallest thing around! 

 

Jeremy: So Spencer, why is radio still important?

 

Radio is still a hugely important way of spread and receiving information. It’s something we don’t often realize living here in America, but in many parts of the world radio is still the number one source of mass media. In Africa for example, radio reaches more people than both television and newspapers. 

 

Jeremy: Thanks for sharing that! And thank you all for joining us for our first one-hundred episodes and we hope you'll stick around for a hundred more. This has been the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

 

Spencer: Where you learn something new every day.

 

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