|City of license||Kalamazoo, Michigan|
|Branding||Your Station for Radio Evolution|
|Slogan||The Only Source for Radio Evolution|
|First air date||1952|
|Format||Variety; college student station|
|Callsign meaning||Western Inter-Dormitory Radio|
|Owner||Western Michigan University|
WIDR is a freeform FM radio station that broadcasts from the Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. WIDR, a volunteer/student-run radio station licensed to the Western Michigan University, broadcasts at 89.1 FM with 100 watts of power. The station is entirely volunteer/student-run and employs six part-time staff members. Staff members must be students at Western Michigan University, enrolled at least part-time. While the staff deal with most of the day-to-day operations, the station is largely run by its volunteers.
The station originally began broadcasting in 1952, as a carrier current station. The station was started by a small group of students including Jack Clifford, who later went on to found the Food Network. The station broadcast through the pipes of Western Michigan University; specifically throughout the dormitories. Thus, they picked as their call letters W.I.D.R., or Western Inter-Dormitory Radio.
For the first 23 years, WIDR broadcast as an AM station at 750 kHz. In 1975, the student-staff filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to become an FM station. They were given a frequency of 89.1 MHz, and allowed to broadcast at a power of 100 watts. WIDR is classified by the FCC as a non-commercial, educational station.
Today, the station goes by the moniker WIDR (pronounced "wider") and is the only 100% local community radio station serving the Greater Kalamazoo area.
WIDR's programming consists of a combination of variety music shows, specialty music shows and public affairs shows.
Variety music shows draw music from within the WIDR's own music library. The library comprises mainly CDs from a number of non-mainstream or alternative record labels and represents styles ranging from alternative, jazz and hip-hop to electronic, world and experimental music.
Some DJs choose, instead of a specialty music program, to develop a public affairs program. These are generally talk or interview-based programs focusing on subjects from current events to local culture.
89.1 FM has only 100 watts of radiated power which doesn't cover the entire Kalamazoo area with static the more north and east of Downtown. Most Non-Commercial college stations such as WEMU operate at much more power than WIDR does.
WIDR broadcasts a number of popular specialty music and public affairs programs.
- Bat Guano's SwaG!
- WIDR World
- the Nonchalant Cafe Hour
- Radio Free Kalamazoo
- The Heritage Hour
- Get In The Groove
WIDR gets its funding from two sources: Western Michigan University and the listening public.
Western Michigan University holds the license to WIDR, and as such provides WIDR with mostly in-kind services. These include the use of on-campus office space, electricity, internet access and the like.
WIDR's main funding source, however, is the community. Most of its operating budget is raised during an annual, week-long fundraising drive. Called WIDR Week, the station plans a number of fundraising events, solicits donations on-air and requests donations from past supporters.
WIDR hosts a number of special events every year on Western Michigan University's campus and in the city of Kalamazoo.
Barking Tuna Fest is WIDR's main annual event, held in the first weeks of October after classes are back in session. Barking Tuna Fest, or BTF, is held at a local music venue and generally features between four and eight bands or performers. Performers include at least one local band and one major headliner.
Past BTF headliners have included The New Pornographers, Spoon, Mission of Burma, Stephen Malkmus, Mates of State, RJD2, Tiny Lights, The New Duncan Imperials, Dan Deacon, Lighting Bolt, and King Khan & The Shrines.