Business & Development, Cottage Grove

KNND radio moves buildings, adding FM

COTTAGE GROVE – Listeners can soon catch KNND 1400 AM on both radio waves.
The country, rock and talk station, will soon be adding an FM station, said Cameron Reiten, owner of KNND.
As part of AM revitalization, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given AM stations an opportunity to move broadcasts over to FM.
The station has been a staple of Cottage Grove since 1953 when it first went on the air.
Reiten joined as a 16-year-old intern, and after he graduated high school was hired on to do a classic country show and get “actualities,” which are radio news segments. In 2013, he took over as general manager before becoming the owner the following year.
When Reiten bought the station, he chose to switch back from rock and roll to country music, which is what the station had played for 30 years. To not lose listeners, he added a rock and roll show on Mondays and Wednesdays, and kept classics like the Swap and Shop show.
There will still be places where AM is a better option than FM, because the AM signal travels farther, such as to Dorena, he said. When they designed the FM system, he said that for Creswell, the signal was powerful enough that they are “confident we will service Creswell as well as the AM does currently.”
Beyond servicing Creswell, the station is also incorporating the City of Creswell into some of its programming.
Already they have had regular appearances with the Creswell School District, and last Monday Reiten invited city councilors Martha McReynolds Jr. and Kevin Prociw on the show to talk about issues in Creswell, such as utility rates and fees and a lack of 24-hour police coverage.
“It’s always been my goal to increase our engagement with Creswell,” Reiten explained. “I thought if we get up there, why not include them in the mix as well. We’re one of the few stations with local programming. Where else are you going to get your city councilors and school board officials in and talk with them in depth about issues we’re looking at?”
McReynolds said that the two cities partner together often, and it’s important to have a bridge to the other communities surrounding them. She said that the collaboration would give Creswell more exposure and more power to Reiten for broadening his audience.
“I admire what he’s done. I found his questions to be fair. I get the sense that he’s not trying to drive the conversation with his agenda and I respect that,” McReynolds said. “It was fun doing the interview. That outreach is important because people tend to think of bureaucracies as faceless and voiceless, and I appreciated being able to speak up a bit.”
Reiten said he does not have a firm timeline for the FM launch, that their move to 717 E. Main St. earlier this year caused a delay, though the process is in motion.
Reiten said that after a rent increase, moving the station was the most cost-effective option. Although they had to put the FM project on hold due to the move, Reiten said that now that he owns the station’s new building, they can shape the studio however they want going forward.



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