Professors estimate KSHUs listening audience

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Geography professors at Sam Houston State University calculated that SHSU’s radio station, 90.5 The Kat, or KSHU has a listening audience of about 268,619 people. Don Albert, Jim Tiller and B.C. Barron are the professors at SHSU who discovered this last year and published their findings in an article placed in the spring issue of “The Social Studies Texan.” Don Albert, assistant professor in the department of geography and geology at SHSU, said the purpose of the study was to illustrate the usefulness of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS consists of computer hardware and software used to store and manipulate spatial data. SHSU recently began to offer a GIS minor to students at SHSU in the department of geography and geology. “We have a new GIS minor and a new GIS lab,” Albert said.The geography professors used a GIS system to determine the number of people in the KSHU listening audience. They asked and answered geographic questions, as well as acquired, organized and analyzed geographic information. In the analysis of the information, they found that within the 30 mile radius, the KSHU signal can reach nine counties, 17 places and 48 census tracts. Although the listening audience may be an estimated 268, 619 people, the potential listening audience ranged from 97,895 to 507,676. Albert said the listening audience might be overestimated “It’s a ball park figure,” Albert said. “But census tracts gave them the best ball park figure of the number of people in the 30 mile radius.”The professors had to consider other factors that might make the number of people in the listening audience larger or smaller. For instance, in “The Social Studies Texan” they said the amount of people who travel through Walker County on I-45 could affect the outcome. They also questioned how many people enter and exit the local region to work or shop, or how the time of day or day of week could change the number of potential listeners. Another question that professors asked was if a ridge of hills existed that might prevent the signal from reaching 30 miles. It was discovered that in fact, there is such a ridge called Shepherd Hill outside of Willis that keeps the signal from reaching Conroe. KSHU’s signal reaches a 30-mile radius and is primarily effected by the curvature of the earth, elevation and terrain. KSHU is a 3,000-watt station with a 165 foot antennae located 360 feet above sea level on the SHSU campus. The station broadcasts from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends.