Q: Why do radio stations now repeat their call letters over and over? I’m old enough to remember when they only did it, and their location, at the top of the hour. Now it seems like they can’t do it often enough.

A: The reader didn’t specify which stations he or she listens to, but Ask Us Guy called Radio Mankato just because that family of stations is so prevalent in Mankato — everything from the venerable 1420-KTOE to sports-heavy KFAN-Mankato to KXLP-Classic Rock.

Radio Mankato managing partner Matt Ketelsen said listeners hear basically two types of station identification.

One type is done for the obvious self-promotional reason. If people are enjoying what they’re hearing, it makes business sense to remind them where they’re hearing it. In that case, though, it isn’t necessarily station call letters or the radio frequency that’s repeated, it’s often the more informal branding such as “The Fan-Mankato” for KFSP or “Country 101.5” for KRRW.

The other type of station identification is the one that’s required by the Federal Communications Commission.

For instance, listeners to KDOG, who mostly hear that they’re tuned in to “Hot 96.7,” are going to hear something more formal once an hour.

“We’re only going to say KDOG at the top of the hour because that’s the requirement,” Ketelsen said. “It’s called ‘legal ID.’ Within five minutes before or five minutes after the top of the hour, we’re required to give the legal ID.”

Along with the station call letters, the required information also includes the city of license. The AM or FM frequency is typically recited as well.

That federal requirement is one Twins baseball fans are well aware of if they listen to games on the radio because Cory Provus or Dan Gladden have to squeeze in a quick cut-away to the local stations on the Twins Baseball Radio Network even in the midst of an inning.

In fact, when the duo was first paired as broadcast partners, one of those breaks reportedly went like this:

Provus: “We now take 10 seconds for station identification.”

Gladden: “I’ve always wondered why we do that.”

Provus: “Because it’s FCC regulations.”

Gladden: “What’s the FCC?”

Q: I recall hearing at a city-sponsored neighborhood sidewalk meeting that any street that is reconstructed will also receive a sidewalk if one does not already exist. The sidewalk would be built on either the north or west side of the street. If that was true, then there should be a sidewalk along the north side of Belle Avenue, which was reconstructed this past summer. Did the city change the sidewalk policy or did residents reject the sidewalk construction?

A: In general, sidewalks are added when a Mankato street is reconstructed if a sidewalk was recommended in the city’s Complete Streets Plan. That policy includes miles and miles of new sidewalks and trails, mainly in places where gaps exist between existing pathways.

“There are some exceptions to this if the section of sidewalk created would not connect to the wider pedestrian network,” City Manager Susan Arntz said.

The Complete Streets Plan doesn’t include a proposed sidewalk on the north side of Belle Avenue, but walks were in the plan for the south side to connect to planned sidewalks on Pfau and Extension streets. Pfau Street was to have a sidewalk added as part of a “Safe Routes to Schools” project in 2017, but the walkway was dropped due to opposition from homeowners, who emphasized how little space there was between their homes and the street.

“Since neither of these connections exist, the section along Belle Avenue was not constructed to prevent creating a ‘sidewalk to nowhere,’” Arntz said. “... It is not a safe practice to allow a sidewalk to exit onto a street without a suitable destination.”

When Pfau Street is eventually reconstructed, one possibility is to make it narrower because it’s wider than a typical residential street. That would create more room for the addition of a sidewalk without crowding homeowners so much.

“... Once Pfau Street is reconstructed to allow for sidewalk, additional neighborhood connection would be recommended at that time,” Arntz said.

Contact Ask Us at The Free Press, P.O Box 3287, Mankato, MN 56002. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to mfischenich@mankatofreepress.com; put Ask Us in the subject line.

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