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Broadcast area Downers Grove, Illinois
Slogan "Tune in, Rock out."
Frequency 88.3 FM (MHz)
First air date 1968
Format Variety
ERP 250 watts
HAAT 40 meters
Class A
Callsign meaning Downers Grove Community
Owner Downers Grove Community High School District 99
Webcast 56k stream
Website WDGC Online

WDGC-FM is a community radio station located in Downers Grove, Illinois.

The station runs commercial-free 24-hours a day and is shared between 3 studios, with the transmitter residing at the North building. It primarily consists of regular scheduled programming. The station also features newscasts, school news, live local band performances, live sporting events and community interest programming. When student DJs are not on the air, a computer program that plays songs on shuffle, station identifications, and public service announcements can be turned on until the next scheduled DJ takes over.[1]


WDGC was founded by Fred Moore in 1965, with its first station having been a janitor's closet and the first transmitter having been built in a shoebox. It was created from a drama club experiment and funded by parental donations.[1]

In 1966, it was on the airwaves, but just barely. It was then known as WDGN (most likely for its Downers Grove North roots) and ran on only one watt of power. The WDGN transmission used the PA system to broadcast. The signal was so weak it could only be heard on 600 AM and if a listener placed their radio by a PA speaker. After numerous phone calls to Washington, D.C. and two rejected applications to contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), WDGC was granted a construction permit which in turn allowed the station to be broadcast to Downers Grove and other surrounding communities. In 1968, the station was finally approved and was broadcasting with 10 watts of power on 88.3 FM.[1] From 1968 until 1972, the station occupied an unused classroom on the west end of the third floor. That space was divided into three rooms; the main studio (control room which included the transmitter), a news and announcers booth, and an engineers area (including the record library and UPI teletype machine). During the same time frame, the South Campus of DG High School had its own studio facilities, which shared broadcast time with the North studios.

In 1972, the station moved from its third floor "studio" to a self-contained building north of the main school. This building was once a "portable classroom". It became the home of WDGC-FM, as well as new operations WDGC-TV and Cable 99. The radio station also bought a used transmitter and re-tuned it, bringing the station to 250 watts of power. Four years later it made the final jump to stereo.[1]

In 1981, the station was granted a room to be turned into a classroom/studio at Downers Grove North where it still presently remains.[1]

Between 1982-1984, the station hosted the popular 'Chris and Dave Smorgasbord' talk-variety show which was often controversial for how it broke the mold of the traditional music-based programming format.

During the mid-1980s, many notable musicians worked at the station, including Jim Cooley (Blue Meanies) and Bob DeMaa.

In 1997, the old transmitter was replaced with a new 250 watt transmitter.[1]

In 1998, the station purchased digital Pacific Research and Engineering Airwave consoles for both studios. The cart machines at the North studio were replaced with Sony minidisc systems and a non-linear computer based audio editing program.[1] North teacher John Waite and DGN student Stuart Allard played a major part in building the station's minidisk library.

In 2007, the studio at Downers Grove South was renovated, creating a less cluttered environment in the main studio and adding on two sub-studios for the adjacent classroom to practice in.[1]

In June 2010, WDGC went online. Listeners can access the stream at WDGC OnLine. This move was made with the help of WDGC alumni Blane Webster and Dave Zarembka.

In 2010, the club at Downers Grove South became almost entirely student-led as it established a club board; which consists of a president, program director, promotions director, and treasurer. The club has only had one previous president, Samantha Brooks, and the current president is Jacob Szpytek.

Radio Classes and student DJ requirements[edit]

Radio Shows are open to all North and South students grades 9–12 without having to pass Radio class. In Radio I, students learn the basics of radio programming, history, and performance as well as how to run on-air shows. Students work with a volunteer student DJ who shows them how to master the high school radio station equipment.

Although not required to become a student DJ, students may continue their education through Radio classes levels II and III. In Radio II, students learn advanced editing techniques and produce programming for on-air use while creating an audio portfolio. The Radio III course is an independent study class giving students hands-on experience running a station while they produce specialty programming. All three levels of Radio classes are one semester long.

List of general managers/faculty advisers[edit]

Six people have been general manager/faculty adviser of the Downers Grove North studios, all of whom were at one time or another English teachers at the school.

  • Fred Moore (1965–1993)
  • Laura Frasier (1993–1995)
  • Roger Badesch (1995–1996)
  • Pam Carter (1996–1998)
  • Jennifer Tylk (1998–1999)
  • John Waite (1999–present)

David Zarembka, a North High graduate, is also notable for having served as the station's engineer since 1993.

Five people have served as general manager/faculty adviser of the South studios. At the end of the 2009 school year Alison Helms took charge after the departure of Stacey Williams.

  • Bob Foskett (1970-1973)
  • Les Holliday (1973-1976)
  • Rick Brickwell (1977–2000)
  • Stacey Williams (2000–2009)
  • Alison Helms (2009–present)

Communities served[edit]

Besides primarily reaching the community of Downers Grove, WDGC has been picked up in the Illinois towns of:[1]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "WDGC - 88.3 "Tune in and Turn it Up!"". csd99.org. Downers Grove, Illinois: Community High School District 99. 

Coordinates: 41°48′14″N 88°00′43″W / 41.804°N 88.012°W / 41.804; -88.012