WIKD began as “The Broadcast Club” in the Spring semester of 1990, initially chartered by then-freshman Steve Graff. The first few meetings brought high turnout (ca. 75 students) but did not immediately lead to much organization. The club gained momentum after Graff met Todd Gumbrecht, another freshman resident of the same dormitory (Doolittle Hall, then known as Dorm I) as Graff. The two developed a strategy of “infiltration and propaganda” in order to meet their goal of establishing a campus radio station.
The club became known for its fliers which were posted around campus (often in unapproved locations) to announce club meetings, as this was long before email and text messaging and Facebook and Twitter. The fliers were influenced by the DIY ethic of punk rock, surrealism, 1950′s clip art, science fiction, and “golden age” of radio. A flier typically consisted of cut-and-pasted and defaced photographs from magazines, and their graphic and provocative nature made them stand out from other notices on campus.
The initial club logo was a stylized radio tower resembling the tower symbol from a FAA sectional chart, with the letters “WERU” drawn in a 1920′s art deco type script. The radioactivity symbol became another popular club logo later, appearing on buttons, t-shirts, and stickers. With the preponderance of fliers, t-shirts, buttons, and stickers, some students believed there actually already was an operating station on campus.
The club decided to pursue the goal of carrier current broadcasting, and in the Spring of 1990, Graff and Gumbrecht traveled to NYC (on the SGA’s dime) to attend a convention of carrier current college stations hosted by equipment manufacturer LPB. At this meeting, the pair obtained a copy of the UConn station bylaws, which became the model for the broadcast club/WERU organization.
In 1991, Gumbrecht became the SGA representative for students living in campus housing. In addition to being a passionate advocate for dorm residents, Gumbrecht used this platform to further the argument for the station and to find allies within the Student Government Association. Also, in 1991, the club organization began to bloom, with Carrie Czernikowski as the treasurer, author of the training manual, and eventual training director, and Aaron Gee as the Chief Engineer.
Initially, there was antipathy from the Dean of Students, the Student Activities office, and the SGA toward the club and its goal of establishing a radio station. This was due to the failure and dissolution of a previous iteration of the broadcast club, involving theft of equipment. The mischievous and defiant impression that the club gave off at times may not have helped with this matter. However, the growing popularity of the movement among students, and the dedication of its members eventually overcame the aversion, and by 1992, “Campus Radio” became a campaign issue in the SGA presidential race.
While working toward the eventual goal of a campus radio station, the club engaged in fundraising, publicity, and charity events, such as providing mobile DJ services for student organizations and Special Olympic events. These activities further increased the club’s exposure and generated funding for a proposed studio.
The first WERU studio was in a closet shared by the university cafeteria vendor, Morrison’s. At this point, the station broadcast via AM carrier current on 710AM. Eventually, the station moved operations to a closet in the McKay Hall dormitory with a small mixing board and two CD players. WERU later moved into a Student Government Association (SGA) office in the Student Center (currently room UC-111). With upgraded facilities, and by this time a full-fledged division of the SGA, WERU was initially broadcasting on 104.7 MHZ through radiating cable FM on campus. After many years of trials and tribulations from previous Chairmen, WERU 104.7 FM had finally applied for an LPFM FCC license in 2002 thanks to SGA President, Peter Alverez, and WERU Chairman, Patrick “Nacho” Mudge. Shortly after application, “Nacho” left ERAU to be soon followed by Chairman Greg Huston, who continued to pursue the station’s LPFM license.
By the Fall 2004 semester Division Chairpersons, Jesse Lesperance and David Yarwood had successfully completed the LPFM construction permit application. In February 2005 WERU completed its first broadcast on 99.1 FM. WIKD then applied and was approved for their current call letters as WIKD.
On Christmas Day 2006, an F2 tornado struck the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach Campus, which caused millions of dollars in damages, subsequently damaging the radio station studio. Though the valiant work of many, WIKD was quickly back up and running, and within 2 months was back to a high broadcasting standard.
During the Winter break of 2011/2012, a team of WIKD members got to work to give the radio station a much-needed makeover, both aesthetically, and technically. The implementation of a brand new Nautel VS300 transmitter with dynamic RDS capability was followed by a brand new climate controlled 10×12′ transmission shed. The studio itself was made state of the art with complete Cat6 wiring and StudioHub+ implementation. Furthermore, new doors, ceiling tiles, paint job, desk carpet were installed. 6 fiber optic lines were run to form the internal network (WIKDNET) so that FTP and streaming services could be improved. Major strides in programming rotation were made to suit the new studio changes which include a CHR style rotation schedule.
DJ’s continue to bring free-format variety to the station through their shows. In April of 2012, the WIKD crew applied for a frequency change from 99.1 MHz to 102.5 MHz. In doing so WIKD-LP effectively became a 24/7 FM station rather than the previous half-day timeshare station. In switching to 102.5 MHz WIKD also waived the large amounts of interference that were being received on 99.1 from a larger power FM station in Jacksonville, FL. This new station was branded as The WIKD 102.5 FM, and Eagles FM was dropped completely as a name.
Moving forward with the new name, The WIKD, and new frequency, 102.5 FM, the students and members of the radio station have officially rebranded itself. With Eagles FM gone, the students saw an opportunity for a start fresh under the management of Ryan Shuttleworth from 2012-’13. The radio station was free to begin a new chapter in its long and humbling career. Continuously, the radio station has been able to provide Daytona Beach with 24/7 music, all from the small room in the Universal Center (UC 111) on the Daytona Beach campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
The year of 2013-’14 under the operation of James Dougan & Richard Moore, the radio station has become a regular club and extracurricular activities outside of the classroom. It gave students something to do when they did not want to return to their dorms. It allowed students to express their artistic visions, thoughts, and ideas through the radio waves. Nothing helped relax the brain and body after a hard day’s work in the classroom more than sitting down behind the board in the studio and talking to the campus and the community while playing some of your favorite music.
Once Samuel Lenderman took over the WIKD 102.5 FM for the academic year of 2015-’16, the radio station focused more on the entertainment division. This included a team of DJs who are able to be contracted and coordinated outside of the studio, to bring the live music session to your favorite party, dinner, or event. This was the only source of revenue for the station, due to being provided and funded for by the University.
The radio station was hiring entertainment DJs by the handful. Once receiving proper training and knowledge of the equipment, each DJ, was properly hired through the student employment office on campus. This allowed contracts and invoices to be officially created to have legal binding terms of the agreement. Also, allowing the DJ who performs, an hourly based job. Thus finalizing the entertainment side of The WIKD 102.5 FM.
During the year of 2015-’16, the WIKD thrived off live DJ performing on-air radio shows. Occasionally DJs would perform two or more hour sets but usually had one-hour time slots, while attending classes and participating in extracurricular activities, such as the Student Government Association (SGA), Touch-N-Go Productions (TNG), the Avion Newspaper, and Greek Life. This gave students from all around the world an opportunity to play their own clean music whenever they wanted to. It will always be broadcasted to the people and community of Daytona Beach, thanks to the University and the students who run the fully functioning radio station.
Several DJ shows include the Rave, the Meltdown, the Mixdown, the Artist Essential, Flashback Friday, the Beat, the Hangout, and the Aux Cord, each having their own host or set of cohosts to play the hottest and most current music available. Some students had talk shows while others enjoyed an hour of uninterrupted music. Each DJ had complete control over what topics they talked about or music they played, the studio was all theirs for the allotted time of their scheduled show.
Thanks to being heavily backed by the University, The WIKD 102.5 FM is able to operate without any interruptions, advertisements, or commercials. This gives the DJs absolute dominion over their on-air experience. They are free to be original and creative while performing shows.
Entertainment DJs had the spotlight during the prosperous year of 2016-’17. The WIKD 102.5 FM had covered more than 120 entertainment events, that ranged from Record Store day, Banquets, TNG’s Casino Night, SGA tailgates, fundraising events, Autism Speaks 5k run, Student Showcase, graduation parties orientation events, semi-formal dinners, cookouts, Activities Fair on-campus, Eagle Landing’s Pool Party, and house parties.
With the heavy amount of entertainment events that were requested and accepted on behalf of The WIKD 102.5 FM, the station was constantly dealing with contracts and invoices. This helped build a name and reputation on-campus for being reliable and consistent for affiliates of Embry-Riddle and surrounding communities.
WIKD, as a radio station and as a Student Government Division, are beginning to make the arrangements for the big move from the UC 111 to the new Student Union, once it is completely built and renovated. The time has come to move our operations once again, we must manage the needs and costs of creating a new space big enough to hold our ever growing and exciting division. That is where you come in!