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WCDB, UAlbany's Student-Run Radio Station, Celebrates 35 Years of Launching Careers

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 1, 2013) — WCDB (90.9 FM), the student-run radio station at the University at Albany, is celebrating its 35th anniversary in March. The station that started as WCDB on March 1, 1978, and its predecessor WSUA (640 AM) in 1963, have given several thousand UAlbany students a start in radio broadcasting. Careers range from professional radio broadcasting, to the entertainment industry, to working in television and newspapers as reporters, editors, and producers.

WCDB gives UAlbany students a start in radio broadcasting.

WCDB gives UAlbany students the chance to learn how to use broadcasting equipment, speak on the air, and develop content. (Photo by Mark Schmidt) 

WCDB alum Brian Lehrer, ’73, is host of the popular New York City talk show, “The Brian Lehrer Show,” on WNYC.

“It was really because of the opportunity at UAlbany that I was able to break into professional radio and start my career,” Lehrer has said. “I’ll always be grateful to WSUA/WCDB for that.”

Other alumni include Bill McCann ’86, who is still on the air with WCDB. McCann has hosted “The Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz,” for almost 28 years. McCann, an attorney, was named “Best Jazz DJ” by Albany’s Metroland. The Jazz Journalists Association named him a “Jazz Hero” for 2012.

Part of the station’s recent celebration included an industry mixer which gave students the chance to “schmooze with alumni” in the radio, music, TV, and social media industries, as well as trade business cards and make valuable contacts that might lead one day to an internship or job.

Today, the spectrum of music played on WCDB runs from hip-hop and R&B to alternative rock, electronic, metal, and jazz. However, WCDB is more than a unique outlet for DJs to express themselves through their love of music, according to WCDB General Manager Jason Kushner.

“It is a second home to many students who have found their voice and identity through such a unique group,” said Kushner. “To watch a student who struggled to fit in at the University finally break down their walls and let their personality shine is a unique experience that I am proud to be a part of. WCDB makes a big university a whole lot smaller.”

Currently there are about 100 active undergraduate DJs at the station who meet weekly to discuss programming. DJs learn how to use broadcasting equipment, speak on air, develop content, and plan events.

In addition to music, news and sports, WCDB is the home of “The Social Workers” radio talk show with nationally known talk show host Kathryn Zox ’83. Assisted by School of Social Welfare graduate students, Zox highlights current social work topics.