Changes to Cougar Radio:New Advisor Taking WDBK in a Different Direction

byAimee Sylvis

For over 30 years 91.5 FM WDBK has been the voice of Camden County College. Founded in 1977, the 100-watt non-commercial radio station has been broadcasting from the Blackwood campus of CCC with the mission to provide a “real-life radio” learning environment for students who wish to pursue a career in broadcasting and communications. Students learn the FCC rules and regulations, and also have the chance to be on the air hosting a show.

WDBK was being run by station manager and advisor Greg Gaughan until he suddenly left the station in August of 2009. Students who worked at the station showed up for their shifts and found the doors to the station locked with no explanation. The station doors remained locked for months, functioning solely by computers to provide music to the listeners and leaving CCC voiceless.

When asked why the station remained closed for so long, Jackie Tenuto, the Assistant to the Dean of Students, said “the college didn’t want to put just anyone in to run the station,” and also that they were evaluating the direction they wanted the station to go in. CCC wanted to get away from the old format of alternative rock and find an advisor who would give the students more freedom and room to experiment.

In the second week of October the job of station manager was filled by Jamie Myerson, a third year adjunct professor in the audio/production certificate program. Although Myerson had no formal radio experience, he had the fresh approach that the school was looking for and was very familiar with the technology of the operation. Tenuto said about the change, “The radio station has always been a great student activity, but it is definitely moving in a new direction… The radio station is expanding to reach more students and offer a greater variety in programming.”

Since taking over WDBK Myerson has made a number of changes, most significantly breaking free of the old format which limited the students to a strictly alternative rock play list. Myerson said he wanted to give the students “absolute freedom and absolute control” over their choice of programming. He wanted to eradicate the format and “open the door up to diversity.”

Under Myerson’s guidance, the station has made changes to include an old school R&B and soul program, a metal program and a dance program. There is also a program in development that will focus on international music to give a voice to the college’s large international student population.

Myerson is looking forward to the future and is planning events for next semester that would bring more awareness to the presence of WDBK on campus. The radio station will be trying to make a physical presence on campus by doing such things as handing out flyers in the cafeteria. Other plans to bring more awareness include having remote broadcasts from different locations across campus and at campus events, and possibly organizing a live music program from the radio station.

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