The Campus Radio Station of Duke University (1950-1983)
Fledgling Campus Radio Station Tests Wings at Duke
Mathis and Elmore At Helm
This article appeared in the Rocky Mount Sunday Telegram on May
By BOB WILSON
DURHAM, May 27 -- Good evening, ladies and gentlemen -- this is
radio station WDBS, owned and operated by the students
of Duke University.
That's what Duke students heard at nine o'clock last Friday night
if their radios were turned to 560 kilocycles. Most of them were.
WDBS, campus radio station of Duke University, is now operating
after a year of preparation. The 100-watt transmitter
sends its signal out over campus power lines to every radio on the
sprawling West Campus, and a long-term student dream
has been realized.
A campus radio station has been a campaign promise in many student
government campaigns, but something always has
seemed to hold up the product.
But last year a small group of determined students decided that
Duke would have a radio station
before they graduated. Sonny Elmore and Archie Mathis, both of Rocky
Mount, talked the idea over with Logan Bruce of San Antonio, Tex.
The trio investigated and fund that the Duke class of 1949 had
left a small sum
of money to help finance a campus radio outlet. With this nucleus, the
group began to look about for more aid.
A columnist for the "Duke Chronicle", campus newspaper, proposed a
monster benefit show. With help from radio and
stage celebrities from all over the State, the show played to a packed
house, and the proceeds put WDBS another step closer to reality.
Duke administration officials heartily endorsed the idea and
better still, came forward with financial aid.
With support from students, administration and faculty, plans for
the new radio station were rushed rapidly
to completion. Special sound-proofed studios were constructed, and
electrical engineering students built and
installed the transmitter under Elmore's direction.
Tentative program schedules call for two hours of broadcast time,
from 9-11 o'clock, five days a week. Weekends the station will remain
Programs in this initial period necessarily are simple. Each
broadcast will begin and end with a summary
of campus news and notices from administrative offices.
[illegible] shows will [illegible] much of the broadcast time with
a nice balance between popular and classical music.
Plans for the future include on a seven day schedule, plays by
the Duke Players, and musical and talent
reviews staged by Hoof 'n' Horn, Duke musical comedy society.
Control of WDBS rests with a joint faculty-student Radio Council
which elects all key station personnel. Student members re
elected to the council in regular student government elections and
faculty members are appointed by the president of the
Backers of Duke's new radio voice hope that the station soon will
become financially self-sufficient through the sale of advertising
to local merchants. All profits will be turned back into the station
for the replacement of equipment as needed and purchase of new items.
"WDBS is having a modest beginning now," said station manager
Bruce, "but we're thinking of television prospects for the future!"