WDCB Public Radio, 90.9 FM, currently housed in the OCC building is moving to a new facility in the SRC beginning the first week of January.
It will be located on the lower level of the SRC, past the bookstore, and across the hall from the new fashion department area.
The move will result in two new production facilities instead of the one they have now. They will also be converting from a hybrid digital analog environment to an all-digital environment.
Scott Wager, the station manager, says this change will be “more conducive to the kind of work they are doing” and that the current equipment has lasted well beyond the predicted life.
“(We have been) involved in the planning process for at least seven years or so, but it gained momentum in the last few years,” Wager said.
The technical core will remain in the OCC for a while until the new space is ready for use and the staff has been trained to use the new system, including its 30 community volunteers.
The move will include transporting their very large collection of compact discs and vinyl records. Wager says they started building the vinyl library in 1975 and have been constantly building and adding to it. They maintain vinyl records because many of these recordings never make it into compact disc form and a database is used to keep track of everything.
There is also an Internet-based sports channel called “Chaparral Sports Channel” that is student run. Wager says the “staff will be very enthusiastic about it; it’s a very exciting period for us.”
He is “looking forward to the integration of our unit knitted into the fabric of the institution” since their offices will now be located on the main campus area.
Although primarily a jazz station, Wager said “when people hear we’re jazz, there’s some preconceptions but we have a lot going on here.” For example, Monday night is Celtic music night and Tuesday night includes a folk music program. They are also starting a program called “Sounds of Brazil” next Wednesday at 7pm.
A lot of the time they even have guest performers on the show. Wager said that often the performers are from around here because “we believe in localism as far as our product base is concerned.”
They have three channels which are controlled in one server room. One of these additional channels includes a Spanish public radio operation.
They also attend Chicago Jazz Festival, Blues Festival, and Hyde Park Music Festival in addition to having one show a month at the Jazz showcase in Chicago.
They have been on the air since 1977 and have listenership around the world.including Japan, the Netherlands and Germany.
On their 36th year on air, Wager says the “audience continues to grow, (we’ve) seen a lot of change over the years.” They now stream music on the internet and have a mobile application available for people to listen on the go.
COD is also the only community college in the state with a radio station like this and it is the only station that offers full jazz content in the Chicago land area. Wager says the existence of the station “fulfills the dream of the people who founded this institution.”