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WKDU (91.7 FM) is an award-winning non-commercial educational FM radio station licensed to serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is owned by Drexel University and operated by Drexel students, with several alumni among its on-air staff. It is the only free-format non-commercial FM station in the city of Philadelphia. Its transmitter is located atop Van Rensselaer Hall, a dormitory on the Drexel campus, in the University City section of Philadelphia. Its studio is in the basement of the Creese Student Center. WKDU was the 2010 and 2011 CMJ Station of the Year.
|First air date||July 17, 1971|
|HAAT||47.0 meters (154.2 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||Coordinates: (NAD27)|
|Callsign meaning||WK Drexel University|
Starting as carrier current station WMAX in 1958 (and later WXDT), WKDU began FM broadcasting on Saturday, July 17, 1971. In 1981, its power rating was raised from 10 watts to 110 watts, and in 1996, to 800 watts. WKDU originally shared time on its frequency with WPWT, a station established in the 1950s by Philadelphia Wireless Technical Institute. WPWT ceased operations in the late 1980s, allowing WKDU to extend its broadcast day to 24 hours on February 26, 1990. Previously, WKDU signed off between the hours of 2 PM to 10 PM.
In 2005, a large monetary donation helped WKDU purchase new studio equipment and refurbish its transmitter.
WKDU's musical format is free-form, meaning that playlists are dictated by the taste of the on-air DJs. On an average day, one might hear punk, electronica, indie rock, acid jazz, J-pop or metal. In 1984, a progressive requirement was created and implemented to the Free Format music programming policy by then Music Director, Ginny McCracken. Each DJ can play whatever they want but at least 1/3 of their music must be a "new release". A "new release" being defined as a musical recording single song in the station one month and an album of music in the station for 3 months. The top 40 playlist was then determined by the most played new releases, anarchically determined instead of the traditional music director dictatorship. This programming policy is still in place.
WKDU is also well known for its annual Electronic Music Marathon, an event that raises money for charities in the Philadelphia area. The Electronic Music Marathon ran from 1997-2007, then returned in Fall 2014 after a seven-year hiatus.
- 2011 Station of the Year, CMJ College Radio Awards
- 2011 Champion of the Local Scene, CMJ College Radio Awards
- 2010 Station of the Year, CMJ College Radio Awards
- 2010 Champion of the Local Scene, CMJ College Radio Awards
- 2009 Best Local Jamaican Radio Station - Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia
- 2008 Best Local Jamaican Radio Station - Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia
- 2007 Best Local Jamaican Radio Station - Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia
- 2006 Best Local Jamaican Radio Station - Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia
- 2005 Best Local Jamaican Radio Station - Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia
- 2003 Best Local Jamaican Radio Station - Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia
- 2000 "Best of Philly" College Radio Station - Philadelphia Magazine
- 1999 "Best of Philly" College Radio Station - Philadelphia Magazine (August edition)
- 1998 tied for first in the best radio category of the Philadelphia CityPaper's "Reader's Choice" awards
- 1997 third place in the best radio category of the Philadelphia CityPaper's "Reader's Choice" awards
- 1996 "Best of Philly" Truly Alternative Radio Station - Philadelphia Magazine
- 1987 "Best of Philly" Radio Station - Philadelphia Magazine
- "Triangle (The), v. 48, n. 31 (July 23rd, 1971).", Retrieved 6/18/15.
- WKDU 1990 Spring Program Guide, Page 2.
- "Triangle (The), v. 68, n. 35 (August 13, 1993)." Retrieved 6/18/15.
- "WKDU EMM 2014", Retrieved 6/18/15.
- WKDU Celebrates Its 18th Annual Memorial Day Reggae Marathon, Retrieved 5/28/16.
- "2011 CMJ College Radio Awards". CMJ. 25 October 2011.
- "Drexels Student-Run Radio Station Named Station of the Year". DrexelNow. 3 November 2010.
- "Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia 2009 Winners". 2009.
- "Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia 2008 Winners". 2008.
- "Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia 2007 Winners". 2007.
- "Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia 2006 Winners". 2006.
- "Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia 2005 Winners". 2005.
- "Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia 2003 Winners". 2004.