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WKDU radio station records

 Collection
Identifier: UR-08-013

Scope and content note

The WKDU radio station records include both paper-based records and audio recordings in various formats. Archives staff have conducted preliminary arrangement and description of the collection so that it can be made available to researchers on an interim basis.

Many of the folders and audio recordings within the WKDU collection are unlabeled or insufficiently labeled. Some folders and recordings have original names with corresponding materials.

The collection is divided into four series: Administrative and Financial Records, Operations and Programming Logs, Publications and Ephemera, and Audio Recordings and Computer Materials.

Series I: Administrative and Financial Records includes four boxes of paper-based records. These contain the following: station constitution and by-laws, constitution amendments, logbooks, show request forms, new member information, WKDU publicity files, budget information, tower photographs, tower inspections and changes/erections, floor plans and remodeling documentation, power increase information, airtime purchases, materials concerning the purchase of WPWT (the former Philadelphia Wireless Technical Institute station), materials on WKDU radio events and fundraisers such as the Electronic Music Marathon, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-related materials including documentation related to FCC license renewals, FCC obscenity guidelines, and FCC and Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) materials.

Series II: Operations and Programming Logs contains four boxes of daily WKDU logs dated 2006 to 2014, which are arranged chronologically.

Series III: Publications and Ephemera contains three boxes of records, predominantly materials produced by WKDU. These include issues of Communiqué, a WKDU zine; WKDU promotional posters and flyers; station programming ads; and materials related to the production of Scrapple, a WKDU-produced boxed set of vinyl phonograph records by local musicians, such as offset printing plates. There are also concert tickets and stubs, a few photographs of WKDU events or facilities, and several newspapers and a scrapbook of news clippings, including articles related to the 1983 WKDU shutdown.

Series IV: Audio Recordings and Computer Materials contains over twelve boxes of audio materials and a small quantity of computer files, software, and documentation. Many of the recordings were partially labelled or not labeled at all, and Archives staff have not been able to listen to them. As a result, Archives staff have tentatively sorted the recordings first by format and second (for the largest format group, open reel tapes) by content type as follows:

Sub-Series IVa: Open Reel Tapes: WKDU Interviews and Talk Shows contains about 70 tapes.

Sub-Series IVb: Open Reel Tapes: WKDU-Produced Music and Other Content contains about 115 tapes.

Sub-Series IVc: Open Reel Tapes: Non-WKDU-Produced Content contains about 43 tapes produced by other radio stations, news services, and other entities.

Sub-Series IVd: Open Reel Tapes: Unknown Content contains about 58 tapes whose contents have not been identified.

Sub-Series IVe: Fidelipacs contains 118 Fidelipacs (also called NAB cartridges or "carts"). These hold short recordings, largely promos, station identifications, public service announcements, and sign-offs, but possibly also broadcast copies of single songs.

Sub-Series IVf: Other Audio Formats includes vinyl records (mainly four copies of the Scrapple boxed set), audiocassettes, Dat65s, and CDs.

Sub-Series IVg: Computer Materials includes a set of the Apple Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) software disks and booklets, two Jaz disks, and one SyQuest 5.25-inch cartridge.

Dates

  • 1964-2015

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use, except for several items in boxes 2 and 4, which are closed to researchers for legal privacy reasons pending review by the University Archivist. For details, contact University Archives staff.

Administrative history

WKDU is an award-winning non-commercial college radio station located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, broadcasting on 91.7 FM. It is owned and operated by Drexel University students, with several Drexel alumni among its on-air staff. It is the only free-format non-commercial FM station in Philadelphia.

In 1958 Drexel University's WMAX, a student-run radio station, was founded. By fall 1962, WMAX rebranded to WXDT, and attempted to secure an FM license for the station. In 1971, WXDT made an agreement with Philadelphia Wireless Technical School’s WPWT in Bucks County to share the 91.7fm frequency. Following this agreement Drexel’s WXDT changed its call sign to WKDU in 1972. In 1983, WKDU was temporarily shut down by Drexel University administration as a result of improper financial activity involving station leadership. The station resumed broadcasting in the following term of classes. WPWT ceased operations in the late 1980s, allowing WKDU to extend its broadcast day to 24 hours on February 26, 1990.

Notable past shows on WKDU include Sounds of Jerusalem, and The Black Experience in Music. The station also hosted several radio music events and charity events in the Philadelphia area. Popular radiothons included the yearly Electronic Music Marathon, Reggae Marathon, and the Black Experience in Music Radiothon. Other events included an “Africare” fundraiser and similar charitable functions.

WKDU has created several zines and student newsletters. Communiqué was the most notable example and was later converted into a blog via the WKDU website.

Extent

22.5 Cubic Feet ( (24 boxes))

Language of Materials

English

Provenance

The collection was transferred by WKDU in 2015 and 2016.

Title
WKDU radio station records
Status
In Progress
Author
Thomas Johns
Date
2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Drexel University Archives Repository

Contact:
W. W. Hagerty Library
3300 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
215.895.6706
215.895.2070 (Fax)