October 28, 2016 by Maggie Fedorocsko
WKDU Philadelphia 91.7FM, Drexel’s free-format non-commercial radio station, was ranked No. 1 in Value Colleges’ list of “Top 10 College Campus Radio Stations”, adding to the organization’s growing list of honors.
“[WKDU] not only plays a variety of amazing tunes but they manage to keep up with the entire music scene in Philadelphia, which is no small task,” Value Colleges said in the list.
WKDU has won numerous awards in the past, including the College Music Journal’s “Station of the Year Award” in 2011 and six Best Local Jamaican Radio Stations from the Best of Jamaica in Philadelphia surveys. This ranking is particularly important, as current members of WKDU are trying hard to make the organization more well-known to Drexel students and the community of Philadelphia in general.
Nathan Kosmin, a senior information technology major and the treasurer of WKDU, is pleased to be a part of the ranking.
“This is WKDU’s year,” Kosmin said.
Twenty-year-old Cooper Swan Beaupre is the current general manager of WKDU. Managing the current staff of over 90 people, handling recruitment efforts and directing all of the programming at WKDU is no small task, but it is definitely worth it, he said.
Beaupre was proud to acquire another accomplishment for WKDU with the Value Colleges ranking in less than six weeks of being the GM, though he does not take full credit for the success. He owes it all to the current members and the former teams, he said.
“It was really personally rewarding for a lot of people who spend a majority of their time here and I am excited for the future of WKDU,” Beaupre said.
He continued to explain that it’s nice for someone other than his mom to congratulate his efforts.
Beaupre hopes the ranking will direct attention to WKDU because most people are unaware of it, even though it is a notable component of Drexel’s campus.
WKDU is one of the only student-run radio stations left in the country. Though the organization receives minimal funding from the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee and must abide by common Federal Communications Commission rules, it is completely managed by students, which makes the group exceptional, Beaupre said. Disc jockeys even have the privilege of being on FM radio, which is rare considering the state of college radio these days.
WKDU also houses one of the largest CD and record libraries on the East Coast, which includes records that were sent specifically to WKDU that do not exist outside of private collections. WKDU has been adding to its collection since it first became a station and parts of the collection are older than the students involved.
As Value Colleges pointed out, WKDU maintains a strong sense of community, consistently keeping up with the entire music scene of Philadelphia.
Local music director and record librarian, Yoni Knoll, said this was the strength of WKDU.
“It’s a great community resource. WKDU has historically and currently been one of the best resources for the Philadelphia music scene, having bands that you can’t hear anywhere else,” Knoll said.
Knoll is a 2012 Drexel alumnus who can’t seem to get enough of WKDU. Most people who get involved with WKDU become attached to the organization, like Knoll and Beaupre.
Yet, too many music-lovers don’t know that WKDU exists despite the accomplishments of the organization, Beaupre said. The world of radio has dissipated for many people as customizable services like Spotify and iTunes take over.
Hopefully, this important ranking will make more students and the outside Philadelphia community aware of WKDU. Awards like this are really positive and can lead to incredible futures, Beaupre said.
Since the ranking was announced, current members have been motivated to work harder, more freshmen are getting involved and more people have been congratulating WKDU, including Drexel University President John A. Fry, he said.
Beaupre hopes this ranking will mark a full transformation for WKDU. Above wanting increased funding and to move the radio transmitter to a taller building to keep up with the expansion of the university, he hopes to strengthen WKDU presence on campus. It would be great to discover more passionate people to join, he said.
Without WKDU in his life, Beaupre would be lost. “It totally changed my college experience. I don’t know what I would have done at Drexel otherwise, maybe that lightsaber club,” he said with a laugh.
“My college experience is dramatically better because of this place — purely because of this — and I would love to introduce [other people] to the same positivity and community that I have come to love so deeply,” he said. “Who knows where my life will go, but I doubt that I’ll find something else like this in my future.”