Each listener who tunes into 91.5 WDBK hears music that they wouldn’t hear on any ordinary station. WDBK prides itself on breaking away from the mainstream.
WDBK draws in a couple thousand listeners through FM and 100 streaming listeners daily.
“You see more activity on social media about people mentioning the station, so that’s a good sign that people are listening,” said Kyle Nardine, a psychology major, host and music director of WDBK.
Station manager Chris Passanante said he is always looking to gain more listeners. “The format is one of our big changes to gain listeners. Instead of being completely free format, we’ve formatted the overnight playlist. So from 3 p.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning, it’s a very formatted playlist. It’s pretty vast. You won’t hear the same songs over and over again. It’s a lot of just beneath the mainstream music. Its popular stuff that sells out concerts, but it’s not on the radio.” Taylor Swift is not really preferred, but something that reinforces what they already play is, he said.
“Anything that’s getting a lot of mainstream attention anyway, we don’t really need to fund because we pay royalties to the artists that we play, so we don’t really need to give Taylor Swift our money. College radio should be to support the underdogs,” said Passanante.
WDBK is an outlet for bands looking to gain some exposure. “College radio is good, because this is where the bands get their airplay. This is a place for bands to get attention,” said Nardine.
One example is the band Explosions in the Sky. Using the request line to shape the overnight playlist, Nardine found that a majority of listeners who called in were inquiring about a song that was played by that band in particular.
“It’s like a gauge for us. It kind of lets us know what people are thinking,” Passanante said about the request line.
WDBK also is active in the local concert scene and in the community.
“We’re all about connecting to the community, and promoting the events of the college. The side goal to that, is to just have a really solid radio station with a good format that the entire community, not just the college could enjoy” said Passanante.