By Nate Govan
Established in 1983, WDBK is known as the radio voice of Camden County College. Located in the Community Center room 108, WDBK is a format free radio station serving the Blackwood campus and South Jersey listening area. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 11-4. After 4pm the station runs on an automated system.
The unformatted sound of WDBK is something relatively new to the station. Since its inception, WDBK had primarily been an alternative rock and roll station. Other genres of music including Hip Hop and Classic 80’s Rock were played after 6pm and on weekends.
All of that changed with the hiring of Music department adjunct Jamie Myerson. Myerson is a musician himself, and owns his own recording studio. Jamie brings a fresh set of eyes and ideas to WDBK in addition to ten plus years of recording and production experience. As the new station manager, Myerson’s first order of business was to do away with the alternative rock format. His reasoning was that “the college is a diverse pool of students from around the world and this radio station should be a reflection of the students”. Alternative rock and roll was definitely not representative of the student population. When speaking to Myerson, one thing seemed to stand out. He is all about helping students to learn, better themselves, and move on to future endeavors of their choice.
Several students were interviewed to see what people knew and how they view the radio station. Out of the first ten students I stopped, only one of them knew about the existence of WDBK. It led me to ask questions as to why this was. Crystal Johnson of Camden said, “I had no clue. I never see any signs or paraphernalia on campus. And I take classes at all three campuses”. Mathew Kosic of Glouster said, “I knew about the station, but I thought the music sucked. It has gotten better since they changed the format. It was long overdue”. Oliver Lewis of Cherry Hill, not only knew about the station, he knew where it was and had a friend that was interviewed live on the air as an acoustic specialist.
Since the beginning of the spring 2009 semester, access to the station was scaled back from 8am-10pm to 11am to 4pm. Camden County College has taken a lot of heat and criticism for the change in hours of live DJ operation. Several DJ’s went to the President of the college to express outrage and concern. Two were forced to relinquish their specialty shows because they aired after 4pm.
When asked why the hours had been cut, I was given several reasons by the college’s Director of Student life. Security and safety were the main concerns of the college. Apparently there was a lot of “Monkey Business” two station manager regimes ago. Inappropriate visitors and one questionable late night slip and fall prompted some of the changes. In addition to the “Monkey Business” WDBK shares the same building as the administration offices. These offices contain confidential information about students and the college. Having unauthorized individuals or any monkey business after business hours would be a direct breech of security and confidentiality. The last reason was that most of students are in class before 11 and out of class after 4.
WDBK is in some what of a rebuilding year as stated by Director of Student Life Jackie Tenuto. Tenuto was a forthcoming and interesting individual to interview. Tenuto is an alumni of Camden County College class of 82 and undoubtedly a straight shooter. Unlike most, she has been on the student and administrative sides of the equation. “It feels like being a little kid and finally sitting at the big kids table” said Tenuto. When you speak with Tenuto it’s obvious that she cares! I got the faint impression that what people want to get done, and what actually needs to get done are to totally different issues. The key is getting everyone on the same page for the betterment of student experience.
She was exited about the new computer upgrades, re-wiring of boards, and other upgrades to come. Tenuto was equally exited about integrating the Campus Press and Music Department with WDBK. Three separate entities working together for a better student experience. A new radio antenna is also in the works. The current antenna is an embarrassing 100 watts, which fades by the time you get to Camden. Ironically, you can’t even hear the “Radio Voice of Camden County College” when in Camden! Fixing this issue will be crucial to the future success of WDBK. Tenuto remains very enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of WDBK. The same could be said about management’s relationship with Myerson.
WDBK has come a long way but still has plenty of work to do. Since the appointment of Myerson there has been increased interest from the student body. So much that there was not enough air time for all the DJ’s. That’s a good problem for Myerson to have. Hopefully that buzz transcends in bigger and better things for students and WDBK. Who knows, you could be listening the next Michael Basdin, Howard Stern, or Wendy Williams right now. Here on the Real 91.5 WDBK “The Radio Voice of Camden County College”.