WCDB

Location:

1400 Washington AvenueAlbanyNew York12222United States View Map

Revenue:

$35 Million

Employees:

175

SIC Codes:

4832

Phone:

(518) 442-4366
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Description:

Once WCDB established a regular programming schedule, WSUA served as a training ground for new students who wanted to be on the air but needed to learn how to operate the equipment and be cleared before going on the FM station. During the mid to late 80s, WSUA ceased functioning and its last studio is now a storage and production room. WCDB gained national attention in 1980 and 1984 when Marc Gronich spearheaded the Election Night College Network (ENCN) with News Director Steve Gross, Pete Sgro, Chief Engineer Steve Otruba, News Director Glenn Mones, News Director Phillip Chonigman and Tim Wallace among a cast of other talented individuals at the young FM station. ENCN brought together 41 college radio stations from across the country to share election night news reports from a student perspective about the U.S. Senate, Congressional and Presidential races in each state. When a station filed a news report, it was able to receive a taped news report from a different state. Student Association supported the endeavor by making its office space and phone lines available for the evening. Seven hours of coverage was flawlessly produced in 1980 and in 1984. In 1981, steps were taken to boost WCDB’s power from 10 to 100 watts. Under General Manager James Diamond, the initial FCC application for the step up was filed. WAMC-FM radio, a nearby station on the radio dial, quickly opposed the wattage increase. In the summer of 1982, thanks to the perseverance of General Manager Bill Goodfriend and Chief Engineers Steve Otruba and L. Mark Stone, the FCC approved WCDB’s application after a successful showing that WAMC’s signal would not be infringed nor its audience reach diminished. The first song played with the increased wattage was “Rock and Roll� by the Velvet Underground. WCDB began broadcasting as 91FM, but as the years passed and analog gave way to digital technology, the radio station moved on to calling itself 90.9FM instead. In 1987, the concert venue QE2 donated WCDB’s first CD player. Reel-to-reel machines were on their way out at the station and the more modern digital equipment was being sought. In 1992, WCDB began a full facility renovation program, beginning with rebuilding its master control studio. The following year the station purchased its first digital audio tape recorder and a new seven-second delay allowed listener call-in shows to be aired live for the first time. On December 13, 1996, Joe Schepis launched an unofficial WCDB website, entitled the WCDB Historical Society. You can find this site by going to listen.to/wcdb or www.joefm.com/wcdb. During Joe’s years at the radio station he was the program director, training coordinator and an engineer. On September 20, 1997, the official WCDB website debuted. It was created by Jerem Curry and updated several times since its inception. You can find this site by going to www.albany.edu/~wcdb. The website is currently being maintained by Frank Starker. After more than a decade of trying to become modernized, WCDB’s production studio entered the 21st Century and went “all digital� with computer disc recording and editing equipment. The long-standing cart machines went the way of the 8-track cartridges of the 60s and 70s and are replaced by MiniDisc technology. The station also primarily uses compact discs (CDs) instead of vinyl records and has a computer to keep track of programming. On Sunday, January 17, 1999, WCDB launched its first Internet webcast. The first program transmitted via the Internet is Talk Show ’91 at 8pm. On Monday, January 28, 2002, WCDB signed on with a new transmitter and a new antenna atop Eastman Tower at State Quad. For the future we could see more equipment upgrades, more square footage and the hopes of another increase in wattage. Twenty-five years of broadcasting from a fledgling student-owned and operated radio station, first at 10 watts and now at 100 watts, with no faculty oversight and no interference from the University administration almost seems incomprehensible. The radio station receives some financial support and much moral support from the Student Association but there has always primarily remained a hands-off policy. The attempt to write a "Brief History" has undoubtedly caused omissions about some obvious and some obscure moments of accomplishments at the radio stations. Any omissions are to be considered inadvertent mistakes. There was no attempt to slight anyone or to cause anyone distress over any omission. This continues to be a work in progress and additions can always be made. Please send your comments regarding this document to wcdb@albany.edu with the subject line "WCDB HISTORY". We regret any omissions or possible errors in the accounts of this document. We look forward to your comments.

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