Drexel’s student-run radio station just launched a blog, so what makes it special?
This May, WKDU (91.7 FM) released its new blog, Communiqué, named after the station’s zine founded during the mid-1980s. Although initially skeptical of what made a blog newsworthy, I was surprised to find the launch has been no small undertaking.
WKDU is Drexel University’s noncommercial radio station, run exclusively by students. When you enter the studio, the ‘student-run’ aspect becomes evident immediately—band stickers, papers, and random scribblings line the walls, toy soldiers are glued in battle on the ceiling, a Furby lies dormant on a speaker. The record library is the only place with any semblance of organization, standing like a shrine with shelves upon shelves of records. In spite of the chaotic atmosphere, the station continues to be successful under the management of myriad Drexel students—from majors in engineering to music to economics to communications. This means that with each passing year, some DJs graduate and new DJs arrive, making the management somewhat transient. As such, there have been many iterations of a WKDU blog over the years, but none of them have taken off until now.
Former Music Director and graduating senior Paul Brown toiled away on Communiqué as part of his senior project, hoping to establish a framework that would continue to operate for years. “I decided the best way to go about guaranteeing content was to utilize content that we create regardless of the existence of a blog—for example, our top played artists chart that we publish to CMJ every week, recordings of old in-studio performances by bands we've had in to the station, and old interviews that have never been published,” Brown explained. “This way, we can publish content twice per week each week, regardless of DJ contributions.”
The blog promises to be as free-format as the station it represents, featuring everything from most-played tracks of the week to interviews to scans of the station’s zines. The station is especially excited to be hosting in-studio recordings. Bands have been coming to the WKDU studio to play live sets on air, but until now these recordings have had no outlet. Communiqué will be re-mastering and streaming these recordings free of charge, allowing performances of bands including Kurt Vile, Islands, Ink & Dagger, and The Holy Mess to finally see the light of day. These in-studio recordings will be posted every Friday. On Tuesday, the station posts its top played artists of the week.
All radio DJs are encouraged to contribute multimedia content, whether related to their eclectic shows (ranging from punk rock show “Lame Ass Dudes” to an all-jazz show called “Jazzy Vibezzz” and everything in between), to discuss current music trends, or to give exposure to local up-and-coming bands. After all, the DJs receive nothing for their work but the satisfaction of spreading the music they love. Nick Stropko, the station’s current PR manager, underlined this sentiment. “WKDU doesn't need a blog at all—we're a noncommercial radio station. This isn’t a promotional tool,” he explained, “It is just another way for us to share our love for music with Philadelphia and beyond.”
Although most of the blog’s readers are from the United States, the station reports that the page has received views from other countries around the world. Those interested in seeing the site for themselves can access Communiqué at www.wkdu.org/communique, or by clicking “Blog” on www.wkdu.org’s frontpage.
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