WKDU General Manager Chris Cooley (left) and Treasurer Patrick O'Brien accept CMJ's "Station of the Year" Award. (Photo courtesy of Paul Williams)
Drexel’s student-run radio station WKDU (91.7 FM) was named “Station of the Year” for the second year in a row by College Music Journal, adding to a growing list of accolades for one of the stalwarts of FM student radio in the area.
“CMJ is kind of like Billboard for college stations,” said Jake Cooley, a junior business administration major and general manager at the station. “It’s a big deal because at CMJ you’re voted on by other colleges and people in the industry.”
CMJ selects its winners from a nationwide pool of candidates nominated by its members. Among the other winners in various categories were radio stations from Rutgers, Texas and Tennessee.
WKDU was also named “Biggest Champion of the Local Scene” by CMJ which spoke to the station’s effectiveness in fulfilling its central mission.
“These students have a passion for local music,” Larry Epstein, associate professor of entertainment and arts management in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and faculty advisor for the station, said. “They’re not just interested in listening to themselves talk on the radio—they’re interested in new music and what’s going on in the local music community. That’s what makes WKDU such a gem.”
The station, which garnered attention in early October when a Washington Post blog recognized it as one of the 10 best FM college radio stations in the nation, is committed to introducing new music to its listeners. A membership requirement of the station is that DJs devote a few hours a week listening to new music and they are required to play at least two new songs per hour on the air.
“I think part of the excitement of working there,” Epstein said, “is being in a community where you can talk to each other about these bands that aren’t well known but are producing new music.”
Now in its 40th anniversary year, WKDU is the only college station in Philadelphia run entirely by students.
“Everyone is here because they love it,” Cooley said. “With the amount of time you put into it, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t love it. We are all here to do what we love and do it on the radio.”
For more information about WKDU, visit www.wkdu.org.