|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Broadcast area||Indianapolis area|
|First air date||February 14, 1966|
|Owner||Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township|
WBDG (90.9 FM) is a high school radio station broadcasting a Variety format from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The station is currently owned by Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township.
WBDG is one of the first radio stations in Marion County to be owned by a school system and operated by the students of that system. A construction permit was obtained to build a tower on top of the newly constructed "new" Ben Davis High School in September 1965, and, on February 14, 1966, WBDG came to life with its first regular broadcasting day. The station had a radiated power of just 10 watts.
Early programming on WBDG consisted of a modest schedule of educational programs aimed at the township elementary schools, community news and a lunch-time dance party. The station broadcast only during school hours and on athletic event nights. Competition for the handful of disc jockey slots each week was very fierce.
In the early 1970s, station management applied for and was granted a power increase. The station's radiated power was upped to 320 watts. Channel six (WRTV) insisted that WBDG move its antenna and transmitter to the tower farm near St. Vincent Hospital on Indy's Northside. The new transmission location proved undesirable as the station could barely be received in its own control room. In 1979, the FCC granted the petition to move the station back to Ben Davis. Part of the FCC's construction permit was to increase WBDG's radiated power to 400 watts. A 78-foot (24 m) tower was built on the school roof, and the transmitter was moved to a fan room on the second floor of the building.
As the 1970s waned, WBDG began to add after school radio shows. Pop music and rock started to air. By 1979, WBDG was broadcasting 15 hours per day, five days per week and from 9:00 AM-Midnight on Saturday and Sunday. Student operators even kept the station on the air on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas with no automation system.
During the days of disco, WBDG earned a few ratings points in one of the books. WBDG was the only disco station in Indianapolis. A few of WBDG's staff members had also gotten an advertising agency to donate to WBDG 35 billboard advertisements. “Disco 91” billboards were across the city. When disco died, WBDG adopted a popular music and rock format. In 1986, the station was granted its current stereo license after raising the money for stereo broadcast equipment in a first-ever WBDG Radio Marathon.
In the early 1990s, popular music was shifting toward an increasingly esoteric and unconventional bent. In emphasis of this expanding scope of sound in the mainstream, WBDG adopted the moniker "The Radio Spectrum". Some of the most dynamic set lists of this era came from a show entitled "What Not", an innovative modern rock show pioneered by student Paul Dworak. In 1995, WBDG expanded to 24 hours a day, every day. On June 1, 2002, WBDG re-launched as Giant 90.9.
In August 2012, the FCC granted an eight-year license renewal that will not expire until 2020.
Station broadcasting information
The station broadcasts with 0.4 kilowatts of both vertical and horizontal power at 78 feet (24 m) of height above average terrain serving primarily Western Marion and Eastern Hendricks Counties. The station is licensed to Indianapolis. More information can be found on the FCC's search page for WBDG-FM
WBDG is a student radio station playing a wide range of musical artists and genres. WBDG plays national and local artists. During the school year, the station's student broadcasters host radio shows with different themes. This is a "block" style of format with the before and after school hours being split into portions of programming with different formats. Students determine what songs to play, content, and the format of each individual show.
Station management determines the rest of the automated and daily live programming following a variety format concentrating on music of the last 10 years to today. WBDG airs a program called Radio Goethe on Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. from April–November and at 10:00 p.m. from December to March. The station also broadcasts up to eight hours of dance and techno music on its Giant Mix program. The show airs until 4:00 a.m. nightly. Sundays are reserved for music from the 70's through the mid 90's on Retro Sunday.
Community Outreach Coordinator, Emerson Allen, hosts School Talk with Emerson. This is a weekly 30-minute talk show that is broadcast August–May on WBDG at 7:00 a.m. on Friday mornings. Recent guests include Colts announcer Bob Lamey, Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings, former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, and current Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. The program also highlights school functions, clubs, and activities. It is produced by WBDG students and replays on Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
Each May, WBDG celebrates its history on the airwaves with a marathon broadcast. This is a major fundraiser for the non-commercial station. This year's WBDG 42/42 Marathon (42 years-42 hours) took place on May 2–4, 2008.
WBDG also broadcasts a variety of Ben Davis High School and area sporting events. Webcasts and a schedule are available on the station's website.
- 2nd Place-Indiana Radio School of the Year (IASB), 2004
- 1st Place-Indiana Radio School of the Year (IASB), 2005
- 4th Place-Indiana Radio School of the Year (IASB), 2007
- 4th Place-Indiana Radio School of the Year (IASB), 2008
- 4th Place-Indiana Radio School of the Year (IASB), 2009
- 3rd Place-Indiana Radio School of the Year (IASB), 2010
- 4th Place-Indiana Radio School of the Year (IASB), 2011
- Kristi Lee - The Bob and Tom Show
- Kevin Calabro - American Basketball broadcaster (NBA's Seattle Sonics
- David Calabro - WTHR Channel 13, Indianapolis Sports Director
- Kevin Gregory - WRTV Channel 6, Indianapolis Chief Meteorologist
- Kevin Lee - WIBC, Indiana Pacers
- Scott Hoke - WFYI, Indianapolis
- Liz Dixon - WTLC, Indianapolis
- Dana Webb - Former Country Music Association CMA Disc Jockey of the Year, Co-host of "It's Your Money" on manarin.com
- Jeff Lewis - WKLU, 101.9 FM, Indianapolis
- DJ Marcus - House DJ at the Vogue, Broad Ripple, Indiana
- Tommy Mason - The Wolf, Evansville, Indiana
- Crystal McKenzie - Former WKLU, 101.9 FM, Indianapolis, current WFBQ, 94.7 FM, Midday Host
- Paul Mendenhall (former teacher, Station Manager) - WTTS, 92.3 FM, Indianapolis Morning Show Host
- Linda Allen - WJTV Channel 12, Jackson, Mississippi Anchor/Reporter
- Brett Patterson - Former Indycar analyst for examiner.com; founder of www.thejerksinthebackrow.com
- Dennis Wallace - President and Owner, Mid-Missouri Media, Inc. Group Station Owner & Managing Partner Broadcast Consulting Firm Meintel, Sgrignoli, & Wallace, LLC.