On August 30th 1971 at 12 noon, WFDU-FM began broadcasting to the New York metro area and has maintained a successful pop-oldies non-commercial approach to music programming called RETRORADIO which is not heard up the radio dial. Today, WFDU offers RETRORADIO shows on the air at 89.1Mhz Tuesday-Friday from 1:03am until 3:57pm, then on Saturday from 1:03am straight through until 3:57pm Monday and 24/7 on the web at wfdu.fm, iHeartRadio, itunes Radio, and on iphone and Android apps.
THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF WFDU-FM Compiled by Judy DeAngelis with input from Vic Wheatman, Andrea Spinelli, Frank Murphy, Stu Cooper, Malcolm Stevenson & Duff Sheffield.FDU radio pioneer, Stu Cooper reports:
"In the Spring of 1962 broadcasting began with the call letters WFDU-AM – The Voice of Fairleigh Dickinson University. We were able to go on air several hours a day broadcasting to the Commons during the day and to the dorms in the evenings. Our programming consisted of playing music, reading news from local newspapers, and occasionally interviewing a faculty member, politician or student."It was then thought that maybe FDU could have an FM station and be able to broadcast to commuting students as well as dorm students on all three New Jersey campuses.
A couple of months later a report came back that although there weren't any available FM stations in the area but there was one frequency that was allotted to the UN and never used for 10 years.
In 1963-64, the FCC decided to allow any educational institution apply to use the 89.1MHz United Nations frequency
According to the WFDU radio project newsletter “Monitor,” the earlier FDU engineering report concluded there were no educational FM channels available in the area that would meet FCC qualifications. It discussed an unused channel (206), 89.1 on the FM, dial the frequency reserved for use by the United Nations. A preliminary application was made after discussion with UN representatives. However, New York University also had been working on an agreement with the U.N. for use of the channel. The FCC ruled that the U.N. could not “surrender it’s license to the channel without accepted, competitive applications.”
In June 1966 FDU filed an application for channel 206 in competition with the application from NYU. FDU maintained its proposed operation (to be centered in Teaneck, NJ) would provide “the only wide coverage FM sound serving Bergen County and surrounding areas exclusively.” It noted that it would focus upon the underserved needs of Northeastern New Jersey, rather than “on the needs and interests of listeners who have a multitude of other available signals from area stations.”
FDU faced two obstacles in the initial stages. The original application was prepared hastily to meet the Commission’s deadline for submission and lacked an appropriate signature by an officer. While this oversight was corrected, it continued to bring into question the legality of the proposal until the Commission formally accepted the application in May 1967. In addition, the engineering portion (also prepared under deadline pressure) failed to take into account an existing 10-watt station in western Bergen County. As a result, a study of area programming was deferred on advice of counsel until Commission designation. These hurdles forced FDU into an uphill battle to secure the advantage it assumed it had when it initially filed, including a lengthy petition for enlargement of issues (a request for exploration of area programming, inclusion of “fair, efficient and equitable” type language, and recognition of the relevance of all NYC educational FM service). It also significantly increased the cost of the proceedings. An estimate of $5000.00 made in May doubled by October. In addition, NYU gained the support of the Broadcast Bureau (the FCC’s counsel in the case) in opposing FDU’s petition. An initial “comparative” hearing was set before the Commission in May 1967 as a standard 307 issue. Section 307(b) directs the FCC to provide a “fair, efficient and equitable” distribution of radio services across the nation.
As of mid 1967, exhibits had been exchanged and a hearing was scheduled for October 17th. The NYU proposal stated that “NYU’s case is strong,” citing a “history of campus radio stations going back to the 1930’s and 1940’s” as well as a “communications curricula going back to the 1920’s.” It also noted that NYU is already geared up for FM operations. One of the most telling indicators that NYU was ready to play legal hard ball was NYU’s intention to call every single FDU witness (26 in all) for cross examination, at FDU’s time and expense, at a hearing scheduled for December 1967. The list included 20 witnesses from outside the University and 3 legislators in Washington, D.C. The FDU proposal stated that NYU and the Broadcast Bureau would oppose any FDU witnesses, which attempted to argue 307(b) advantages, or the particular needs of Bergen County, on the theory that the Review Board decision ruled them inadmissible. The proposal also recommended that share-channel operations be discussed, noting that the Broadcast Bureau wondered why it hasn’t already been discussed and added that the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) dislikes fights between Universities. The time-sharing suggested each University broadcast three days a week, with each getting a full weekend on alternating weekends. It was a Mon-Wed-Fri, Tues-Thurs-Sat schedule. NYU stuck to its contention that it deserved the channel exclusively, by virtue of its past history. But, in a letter from Vic Wheatman to FDU President Dr. Osborn Fuller, on October 17, 1967, he stated that NYU, in an earlier proposal to WNYC, licensed to the City of New York, mentioned the possibility of share-time arrangements. In an article in the “Hudson Dispatch” (dated 9/29/67) Dean Marinus Galanti likened the battle of FDU versus NYU to that of David and Goliath. On November 17, 1967, representative from FDU and NYU met to discuss the possibility of sharing the UN channel. This meeting was subsequent to one held between FDU’s President Fuller and NYU’s President Hester. They concluded that any decision would come from the students in charge of the project. At the November meeting, project manager Vic Wheatman and FDU alumnus Allen Rinde outlined a plan that called for a station with a common transmitter site, two studios and a neutral set of call letters. NYU opted to wait for a legal decision.
To: WFDU Listeners
From: Kenny O'Boyle, General Manager
Hello to all of the dedicated and loyal WFDU listeners. I hope you and your loved ones are doing well during these crazy times.
This is Kenny O'Boyle, general manager of WFDU, recording this messages from the comfort of my crumby one bedroom apartment in Wayne, NJ.
As of Friday, March 20th, Fairleigh Dickinson University has further restricted access to the campus. Now, not even I can enter the radio station and I am doing my best to control the radio station and keep us on the air from home.
We are hard at work figuring out ways to improve our remote control over the radio station so that we can freshen up our programing and continue providing the music, entertainment and information that you’ve grown accustom to at WFDU. Please be patient with us as these are unprecedented times and we are still working out the kinks.
I have a couple of announcements regarding our recent WFDU fund drive. First of all, thanks for supporting the station. Our most recent fund drive is one of, if not the most successful fundraisers the station has ever had. So, thank you, thank you and thank you again.
Secondly, for those expecting WFDU T-Shirts and other premiums, this crisis is going to delay the effort of getting these gifts to you. The original plan was to mail everything to you from the radio station. Seeing as no one is allowed inside the radio station, that is not possible. I'm currently exploring other options and will keep you posted if anything develops. Our sincere apologies for this inconvenience and we very much appreciate your patience. Thank you for your support of WFDU. I promise, we will come through for you eventually.
Lastly, for those people who have recently sent in their donation or plan to send back their donation soon, we are currently unable to deposit these donations. So, your checks and money orders will be in limbo until we can. At this point, there’s no telling when we will be able to deposit these checks, but as things develop, I will do my best to keep you updated.
If you planned to send in your pledge kit in the near future, I recommend holding on to it for a little while until things change. Or, you can fulfill your pledge by making a donation online. Simply go to www.wfdu.fm and click donate in the upper right. Then fill out the online form and boom you’re done. This advice also applies to those people of have sent in their donation in the last few weeks. If you donate online, let us know and we will void the check.
These are very trying times. I'm confident that together, WFDU, our listeners, communities and our nation as a whole, will get through this. Please follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and other government and public health officials. Stay home. Go out, only if it's absolutely necessary and maintain a social distance. Wash your hands a lot and don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
I will do my best to continue recording and broadcasting these update messages. Please continue checking our website and the WFDU Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WFDURADIO/) for more information. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a message at 201-692-2806. T Or better yet, send an email to email@example.com.
Thanks again for listening and all of your support. We are doing the best we can and will do anything and everything possible to stay on the air! God Bless you all. Stay safe and be well.