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For the collegiate athletic teams, see Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
WFDD logo.png
City of license Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Broadcast area Piedmont Triad
Slogan Public Radio for the Piedmont
Frequency 88.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
Translator(s) 104.7 W284BN (Greensboro)
First air date April 19, 1948 (in Wake Forest, moved to Winston-Salem in 1956)
Format FM/HD1: News/talk/classical music/jazz
HD2: Classical music
HD3: Xponential Radio
ERP 60,000 watts
HAAT 60 meters
Class C1
Facility ID 70708
Transmitter coordinates 35°55′2.00″N 80°17′37.00″W / 35.9172222°N 80.2936111°W / 35.9172222; -80.2936111
Callsign meaning Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Affiliations National Public Radio, Public Radio International
Owner Wake Forest University
Webcast Listen Live (FM/HD1)
Listen Live (HD2)
Listen Live (HD3)

WFDD (88.5 FM) is a public radio station located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is the flagship National Public Radio station for the Piedmont Triad. Owned by Wake Forest University, it serves 32 counties in North Carolina and Virginia. It also operates a translator on 104.7 FM in Greensboro.


WFDD has its roots in a five watt pirate radio station, WAKE. operated illegally[1] by Wake Forest students from a rooming house beginning in the fall of 1946, while the school was still located in Wake Forest, North Carolina. When students began asking for better broadcast range, Wake Forest president Dr. Thurman D. Kitchin took steps to help making the station official. With the help of student fundraising, the station was granted a full license and went on the air legally for the first time on April 19, 1948 operating at 50 watts.

After the discovery that the WAKE letters were already in use, the station changed its calls to WFDD, which stood for "Wake Forest Demon Deacons." Since the schools' sports teams were an important part of the station's programming, this seemed appropriate. Other programs included "Deaconlight Serenade," a student music program which included the part of the name of a Glenn Miller hit. This program remained on the air as "Deaconlight" until 1981. The WAKE letters returned in the 1980s on a student-run AM station, which later became available on the Internet.

When Wake Forest College moved to Winston-Salem in 1956, WFDD moved as well. In 1958, Dr. Julian Burroughs, who had helped put the station on the air and served as student manager in 1950-51, became the station's first non-student manager, a post he held until 1981. The signal increased to 36,000 watts in 1967, the year the Corporation for Public Broadcasting began. WFDD became one of only 10 stations to received federal funding from the new organization.

On May 3, 1971, WFDD became a charter member of NPR, and the first NPR member in North Carolina. Burroughs added his knowledge to that of other station officials around the country to determine what NPR would become.[2]

On May 5, 1989, WFDD lost its tower along Business 40 in Winston-Salem when severe storms struck the area. The station returned to the air with reduced power, but did not fully cover the market until a new tower was completed north of Lexington, which would be shared with WWGL.[3]

For two years in the 1990s, WFDD aired Wake Forest football and basketball games, but many listeners complained.[4]

For many years, WFDD's format was a mix of NPR programming and classical music. In 2005, WFDD began airing more talk programming from NPR, with no classical music during the day on most weekdays.[5] With less classical music, donations dropped.[6] The station added a 24-hour classical music station on its HD radio subcarrier.[7]

Despite the new transmitter location, WFDD's 60,000-watt signal results in spotty coverage in some of the eastern portion of the Triad, including parts of Greensboro itself. To make up for the shortfall in coverage, the station has long operated a translator in downtown Greensboro on 104.7.


  1. ^, Retrieved on 2012/02/25.
  2. ^, Retrieved on 2008/02/21.
  3. ^ Susan Ladd, "WFDD Tower Extends Public Radio Station's Range," Greensboro News & Record, September 13, 1994.
  4. ^ William L. Holmes, "WFDD Kicks Out Sports Broadcasts Wake Forest Games Didn't Mesh Well with Music Shows," Winston-Salem Journal, January 20, 1998.
  5. ^ Tim Clodfelter, "More News: WFDD Has Shifted Format Away from Classical Music," Winston-Salem Journal, February 3, 2005.
  6. ^ Tim Clodfelter, "WFDD's Pledge Drive Falls 21 Percent Short of Its Goal," Winston-Salem Journal, April 7, 2007.
  7. ^ Tim Clodfelter, "Clearly Different - As Broadcasters Go HD They're Hoping Radio Listeners Will Jump on the Trend," Winston-Salem Journal, December 3, 2007.

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