The transmitter for WRST-FM at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh passed a milestone recently.
At 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday June 13, it logged its 300,000th hour on the air. That equals more than 34 total years of operation.
The 1-kilowatt Gates transmitter first went into service in September 1973. For many years, it operated only part of the day and during reduced hours over the summer months. In 1982, however, WRST began broadcasting 24/7/365 and now the unit is only shut down for required maintenance.
WRST’s is the oldest transmitter of the 14 radio and TV stations licensed to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and the oldest of the 34 transmitters in the Wisconsin Public Radio network. Still, it remains among the most reliable units of either organization. Since it was turned off briefly to replace a component in August 2013, it has been off for a total six hours and six minutes. Moreover, four hours and 20 minutes of that total was during tower maintenance, which requires the unit to be shut down for safety reasons. The 99.98 percent reliability in that interval is typical for this rugged device and is appreciated by WRST’s broadcast partners and–no doubt–by the thousands of listeners who tune in each week.
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