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Broadcast area Northfield, Minnesota
Branding KRLX 88.1 FM
Frequency 88.1 (MHz)
First air date 1948
Format Campus radio
ERP 100 watts
HAAT 5 meters
Class A
Callsign meaning Ka RLten(X)
Owner Carleton College
Webcast Listen live

KRLX is a student-run, freeform radio format, non-commercial FM campus radio station broadcasting from Northfield, Minnesota. Affiliated with Carleton College. The station's call sign was chosen to read "KaRL-ten," since X is the Roman numeral for ten. KRLX broadcasts with 100 watts of power at 88.1 MHz and produces live streaming media, expanding the station's reach to the world. The KRLX studios are located in the basement of the Sayles-Hill Campus Center, Carleton's student union; they feature basic production tools, a record library, and a live FM studio. The basement location is the motivation for the station's motto, "It's better on the bottom." KRLX is licensed for continuous broadcast, but because the station is student-run, the signal is present only when school is in session. Because Carleton does not offer a summer term, the station generally broadcasts September through June, though not during winter and spring breaks.

In the fall of 2005, KRLX introduced podcasting for all of its non-music shows, including all of the station's original news programming and Periscope.

Beginning in 2005, The Princeton Review began ranking KRLX as one of the nation's top college radio stations. In 2009, KRLX was ranked the 12th best station in the country.[1] By 2018, it had moved up to position #4 on the Princeton Review list of best college radio stations.[2]


Carleton College radio started in 1917 with the Music Department's initiative to bring radio to Northfield, MN. With an antenna mounted atop Willis Hall, this AM station broadcast until 1929 at an unknown frequency. In 1948 several students on the G.I. Bill, most veterans from the United States Navy, sought to construct and operate a radio station for students on the Carleton College campus. Using money raised from local businesses and out-of-pocket, they paid the college to allow them to construct a small studio dug out next to the foundation of Scoville Memorial Library on the South side.[3] All electronics were handmade out of spare parts and the transmitter was from a scrapped World War II destroyer. The carrier current transmission was carried via coaxial cable through the Carleton College tunnel complex and radio station KARL 680 was born. The studios were relocated to the top floor of Willis (then the student union) somewhere before 1970.

During the early 70s, station manager James Stiles led the effort to take the station to the broadcast airwaves. Washington DC Carl alums assisted with the FCC licensing process, and by 1975 a boxy FM transmitter had arrived on campus. After a winter of engineering challenges, chief engineer Ben Stiegler (with a lot of help from consultant John Rooks and the MPR engineering team) achieved the first broadcast and the greater Northfield area tuned in. For a brief time, KRLX retained the carrier current operation as a training ground for new DJs; eventually it was decommissioned.

KRLX is one of the most popular student organizations at Carleton, with over 200 students DJs each trimester--roughly one out of every eight students.[4]


KRLX's format-free nature makes for very diverse programming, and recently the station has started to program vertically so that similar shows are scheduled consecutively. Radio programs on KRLX run the gamut from bluegrass to independent hip hop to classical, and DJs are restricted only by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines. Despite the station's flexibility, there are several long-running programs that are consistent in format, if not in content. Bandemonium is a weekly show devoted to the works of a single band, tracing artists' history and influences. Periscope is the station's documentary program, and the station also programs evening news and hourly news briefs. Although almost all of KRLX's programming has its genesis at Carleton, the station also broadcasts the syndicated news program Democracy Now! KRLX's content largely consists of music broadcasting, and the station contributes to the College Media Journal Radio 200 chart.

KRLX's programming can be heard around the world via live stream from their Web site.

Technical data

  • Service Designation: Full Service FM Site
  • Channel & Class: 201A, 88.1 MHz
  • FCC Facility Identification: 8867
  • Location:
  • Effective Radiated Power (ERP): 0.1 kW (100 watt)
  • Antenna Height Above Average Terrain: 5 M HAAT
  • Antenna Height Above Mean Sea Level: 309 M AMSL
  • Antenna Height Above Ground Level: 20 M AGL

External links

  • KRLX web site
  • KRLX article at CarlWiki, an unofficial student-run wiki at Carleton College.
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for KRLX
  • Radio-Locator information on KRLX
  • Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KRLX


  1. ^ "Best College Radio Station". Princeton Review. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
  2. ^ "2018 Princeton Review "Best College Radio Station" List is Released - Radio Survivor". Radio Survivor. 2017-08-02. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  3. ^ Urbanski, Debbie (1998-04-10). "CARLETON COLLEGE'S STUDENT-RUN RADIO STATION TURNS 50".
  4. ^ "College Radio stations in Southern Minnesota defy the norm". Southern Minn Scene. 2018-05-14. Retrieved 2018-05-23.

Coordinates: 44°27′40″N 93°09′22″W / 44.461°N 93.156°W / 44.461; -93.156

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