Dear Friends in Teaneck,
With the explosion of video technologies and new media, many predicted the end of radio, but radio survives and often thrives, thanks to its ability to connect closely with the local community. Right here in Teaneck we have a wonderful example of the power of radio to entertain, inform and inspire people, with our very own 89.1 WFDU-FM.
Operated by Fairleigh Dickinson University, the station is managed by veteran broadcasting professionals and mostly run by passionate volunteers with extensive musical backgrounds. WFDU’s programming ranges from bluegrass to hip hop and covers nearly everything between, with Latin, folk, gospel, doo-wop, poetry and even a children’s show.
The station this year celebrated its 40th anniversary. WFDU first went live in 1971, transmitting from the historic Armstrong Tower in Alpine, N.J., (site of the world’s first FM radio station). The tower rises more than 400 feet above ground level, enabling WFDU to reach a 50-mile radius in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area.
But WFDU’s reach spans much further than that. Reflecting the University’s global mission, WFDU represents a wide spectrum of voices and those voices have a global audience. Through its website, www.wfdu.fm, the station’s programming is streamed online throughout the world.
But what really makes the station special is its connection to the local community. What happens in Teaneck is important news for our listeners. Since the station’s founding, township activities have always been given priority. School plays, religious services and other activities, as well as important messages from local authorities, have regularly been announced on our airwaves.
And WFDU could not be the station it is today without contributions from Teaneck residents. Over the years, Teaneck High School students have played valuable roles as interns. And many of our programs highlight local artists. For example, Teaneck High School student Shemekia Copeland performed and was featured on WFDU long before she became a huge blues star.
WFDU host and Teaneck resident James Rana, an alumnus of FDU, broadcasts a wide variety of Teaneck programming, including shows on the Teaneck Film Festival and Teaneck First Night. He also has welcomed guests such as Teaneck residents Bob McGrath (star of “Sesame Street”), who co-hosted a program on Holy Name Medical Center’s hospice program, and Howard Rose, who was a consultant on a program about Edgar Allan Poe.
So while we connect to the global community and we often reflect our global community, we owe our existence to our connections within our local community. This more than anything explains WFDU’s success, and connecting locally is the only way radio will flourish in the information age.
J. Michael Adams is the president of Fairleigh Dickinson University and the International Association of University Presidents. For more information on WFDU, see www.wfdu.fm
In 2009, Fairleigh Dickinson University President J. Michael Adams began writing a column for the Teaneck Suburbanite that appears in its bi-monthly newsletter called "Teaneck Talk."
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