Dillard University students officially relaunched Dillard’s much-anticipated radio station, WDUB, on Nov. 21, 2011 at 8 a.m. Station manager Jermaine Jackson and producer Sherick Boone hosted the morning show, affectionately known as “Breakfast on the Oaks,” to kick off WDUB’s first broadcast since 2009.
“We were a little rusty at first, but after a while, it all started coming back to us,” said Jackson, a junior performing arts major.
Jackson and Boone serve on a radio station committee comprised of seven students and three faculty members, including Jerome Bailey (junior majoring in multimedia journalism); Clarence Carr (junior majoring in multimedia journalism); Christian Knight (senior majoring in multimedia journalism); Kanitria Mason (junior majoring in multimedia journalism); Stephawn Spears (junior majoring in film); Dr. Laura Rouzan, dean of mass communication; Dr. Cleo Allen, chair of mass communication; and Janella Newsome, instructor of mass communication.
“I’m excited because I really didn’t think this day would ever come,” said Boone, a junior majoring in multimedia journalism.
The station’s, which broadcasts 24 hours a day, plays R&B, hip-hop, Top 40s, neo-soul, gospel, underground and oldies, and also features news breaks, weather and sports. Listeners can tune in to the Internet-only station at mms://wm5.shoutcaststreaming.us/dillard.
“We can’t broadcast in the traditional sense because we don’t have an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) license or a frequency,” said Kanitria Mason, who spearheads the programming and community affairs department. “If you turn on your radio, you won’t hear us because we’re not on any dial. That’s why we’re streaming our broadcasts, and even that was a challenge,” said the Mississippi native.
That’s because the server used for streaming went down. The committee relies on an outside source with the assistance of Dillard University’s IT department to provide streaming capabilities. The mass communication department pays a monthly streaming fee for 100 listeners. If and when the audience exceeds that number, the radio committee will look to expand its streaming availability.
Streaming is not regulated by the FCC and is the only recourse some college radio stations have until a broadcasting license can be obtained. Dillard is one of those taking advantage of the opportunity in spite of its problems.
The radio committee says its momentum is infectious. They recently interviewed rapper B.O.B. and R&B great Ledisi. And that enthusiasm has spread to sponsors: Best Buy recently donated a 32” flat-screen television to the station, and Furniture Mart provided a love seat and chair for the studio.
“One of the things Dr. Allen pushed is sustainability,” said Clarence Carr, program director. “We don’t want to be here today and gone tomorrow. We’re training up-and-coming students and working on a format that will ensure our longevity and creativity to be the very best.”
Plans are underway to broadcast at Dillard basketball games and events such as Founders’ Day and Convocation. Students hope to perform in-station interviews with myriad recording artists. And last but not least, they plan to obtain an FCC license, obtain a frequency and broadcast over traditional airwaves.