|Slogan||More Music. More You.|
|First air date||1966|
|Format||CHR/Contemporary Hit Radio/Top 40|
WRDL (88.9 FM) is an educational radio station. Licensed to Ashland, Ohio, USA, the station serves the Mid-Ohio area and is the only radio station located within the city limits of Ashland. The station is owned and operated by Ashland University (formerly Ashland College). Its studios are located in the Center for The Arts building (formerly Arts & Humanities, or A&H). The transmitter and its antenna are located in the top floor of the library.
WRDL is Ashland University's award-winning, student-run radio station, broadcasting Top 40 hits and more to those in and around the Ashland area 24-hours a day. With a primary listening radius of about 40 miles, WRDL is committed to bringing the Ashland County area local news, sports, and information. The station also reaches 9 different counties outside Ashland County. Listeners can also stream the station live at their station website. WRDL also supports the academic mission of the Journalism and Digital Media program at Ashland University. Everyone heard on WRDL airwaves is an Ashland University student, and all of the content is student-produced with faculty guidance and input. WRDL is certified and recognized by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).
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WRDL began broadcasting from tiny studios in a former projection booth for a theater in Founder's Hall in 1966. Originally at 88.1 on the dial, the 10-watt station's transmitter was located atop Clayton Hall, the tallest dormitory on the campus. Later the frequency was moved to 89.5 to avoid conflicts with other nearby non-commercial educational stations. In the 1980s the power was increased to 3,000 watts, and the station dial position was moved to 88.9. The transmitter was moved atop the new campus library building.
The station gets its call letters from the initials of Richard Dean Leidy, an adjunct professor that founded the radio/television department, at what was then called Ashland College. He always modestly insisted the letters stood for, "Radio Department Laboratory." Leidy led the department from 1960 to 1988, when he retired. Most students were seeking majors or minors in the AC Speech Department.
The earliest equipment consisted of a Collins tube-type control board and two 16-inch transcription turntables of 1950's vintage. Additional tube-type equipment caused frequent high temperatures in the tiny control room without air-conditioning. In the earliest days, the station signed off in the summer, and only broadcast during the September to June school year.
In the mid-1960s some of the earliest student DJs consisted of Charles Beekley, Tom Warner, Mike Rogers and Craig Whitmore. They were quickly joined by Les Bagley, Tony "Z" Zabilski, Pat Murray, Ken Krauss, Jay Pappas, Mark Koontz and Will Ruch and others. Even with only 10 watts, the station became very popular in the community and student DJs were invited to do "record hops" at area high schools, and to appear at community events. One of the most visible was the annual 3-day remote broadcast from a downtown tent to promote donations to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Charlie Beekley graduated in 1966 and was hired as Mr. Leidy's first assistant instructor. He was later replaced by others including Jay Pappas. Early guest lecturers included Eric Severeid of CBS News and Byron MacGregor, news director of the then highly popular CKLW Radio.
The school began offering Radio/Television as a major in the late-1960s when facilities were modernized and expanded with a move to custom designed facilities in the new Arts Humanities Building. New studio equipment included late model radio equipment and a full television production studio. A United Press International news teletype was installed and Les Bagley was appointed the station's first designated student News Director. WRDL and ACTV2 newscasts were simulcast, and along with some other campus originated programming, were used as "local content" on the city's cable television system.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, the station's music hosts included Tripp Rogers, Bob Spence, John Hager, Pete Moore, John (the Bear) Carroll, Doug Kurkul, Mike Parker, Michelle Temple, Tim (Shadow) Morris, Keith Connors, BJ McCurdy, Blair Mintz, Jeff France, and Ed Vogt. A Spanish-language show on Sundays was hosted by Jose Diaz. During this time, the station was called FM89, and later 89-Plus. The Sunday Night Special, which ran once a week for two hours, featured a different recording artist each week. Among the artists highlighted on the Sunday Night Special programs were Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Todd Rundgren, the Doobie Brothers, Chicago, Yes, Heart, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and many other of the era's most popular rock acts. Airing immediately after the Sunday Night Special was an hour-long disco program, hosted by Adolph Santorine. The station also offered a weekly program featuring jazz, hosted by Mark Buchan.
Jay Pappas was the faculty member responsible for WRDL radio for many of these years, and Larry Hiner for WRDL television. Bill Clinger was responsible for equipment maintenance and broadcast technical matters.
In 1993, student staff adopted the nickname "The Eagle," because it was easier to say than the call letters. The name references the university's mascot, the Eagles.
As of 2016, WRDL participates annually in College Radio Day, the day in which hundreds of college radio stations from around the country celebrate the unique medium of college radio.
In 2016, WRDL won Nationally-recognized awards from the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS). These awards are believed to be the first awards won for WRDL in the station's 50-year history. According to an Ashland University press release, several Ashland University Journalism and Digital Media (JDM) students received finalist awards for their work with the University’s radio and television stations in the national Intercollegiate Broadcasting System awards competition.
“The great thing about these honors is that we had finalists in both the radio and television categories in the national IBS awards competition,” said Dr. David McCoy, chair of AU’s JDM department. “This clearly conveys the converged media approach exhibited by JDM, as judged by blind peer reviews. Moreover, it enhances the fact the JDM is Ohio’s premiere small college/university academic media program.”
The finalist trophies and the first place awards will be presented at the national convention in New York in the spring of 2017. Many of the AU nominees will be attending that convention and awards presentation.
McCoy said these awards are a first for WRDL 88.9 FM in the JDM era and it is believed that is the first time for a national award notification in the 50-year history of WRDL. “As the faculty advisor for the radio station, I am proud of the work of all student radio participants,” he said.
Those receiving honors in the radio category were:
· Best Newscast (Top 7) - The Early Bird’s Word-----Kate Siefert
· Best Women's Basketball Play-by-Play (Top 5) - AU vs. Grand Valley State----Derek Wood & Noah Cloonan
· Best Use of Facebook (Top 5) - WRDL Facebook----Derek Wood
· Best Show Promotional Poster (Top 6) - WRDL----Derek Wood
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In June 2012, WRDL began broadcasting mainstream contemporary hit radio music in an effort to increase consistency in listenership and increase the presence of the station at on-campus venues such as the recreational center and dining areas. The station's new positioning statement, "More Music, More You," was designed to let listeners know that WRDL would provide them with both more music and more local content than the competition. WRDL offers local news weekday mornings and evenings and also an entertainment and local information-based morning show, "The Early Bird's Word," which airs 7–9:00 am on weekdays while school is in session. The show features regular appearances from university and city authorities, including Ashland Mayor Duane Fishpaw.
In 2013, the station debuted Ashland's only hip/hop and R&B show, The Pregame, which plays the latest music from the Top 40 hip/hop charts. The show can be heard on Saturday nights from 7:00 pm – 2:00 am Sunday morning.
Every semester, WRDL features live student-DJ's at various times throughout the day.
In the fall of 2012, WRDL scheduled to broadcast every Ashland University home football game, as well as a full slate of area high school football. In the winter, WRDL offered live broadcasts of most AU home men's and women's basketball games (games over winter break, when school was not in session, were not broadcast). As the Ashland University women's basketball team went on its national championship run, WRDL broadcast every single game, including the national tournament in San Antonio, Texas, despite not receiving any funding help from the university for the trip. WRDL also offered broadcasts of AU baseball in the spring of 2012.
In the fall of 2013, WRDL expanded its Ashland University sports coverage by adding both one volleyball and one women's soccer match on a trial basis. Both broadcasts were successful, and the Eagle volleyball match received one of the largest online stream audiences in WRDL history. WRDL also broadcast a road AU football game against Walsh at the historic Fawcett Stadium in Canton, OH. WRDL also added more Eagle baseball to its sports schedule in the spring of 2014.
Due to the success of the volleyball broadcast in 2013, WRDL added additional volleyball matches to the sports broadcast schedule in the fall of 2014. In total, the 2014 WRDL Sports schedule featured seven AU football games and six Ashland volleyball matches.
Since 2013, WRDL has been the exclusive home for Ashland Eagle Athletics, broadcasting live from home games for AU Football, Men's and Women's Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, and Men's and Women's Soccer. In 2016, WRDL increased their coverage for AU Volleyball, covering all home games inside Kates Gymnasium. WRDL also increased their coverage of AU Soccer, as the Men's Soccer team returned to action following a three-year hiatus. A full schedule of all WRDL Sports broadcasts can be found on the station website.
- "WRDL Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "WRDL Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- "Tribune-Democrat Obituary". Tribune-Democrat. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
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