Exactly fifty years ago this fall, rumors began to fly that the University of Richmond was going to have its very own radio station.
One year later, on Nov. 2, 1961, the university's student-run radio station, which has come to be known as WDCE 90.1 FM, made its very first broadcast.
At that time, its radius extended only as far as Jeter, Wood, Robins and Thomas halls and it was known as WCRC, in honor of the Westhampton and Richmond colleges, according to a Collegian article from Nov. 10, 1961.
Oddly enough, that wasn't the only time that the second day of November marked a groundbreaking moment in the station's history.
Herb King, WDCE music director, said that when he began working at WDCE in 1992, the station was going through a transitional phase as it neared the digital era.
"Some of our equipment began showing age, and student involvement was waning as well," he said. "The move from the Commons to North Court changed everything."
This is where the second groundbreaking moment comes in. On Nov. 2, 2008, WDCE had its first broadcast from its new headquarters in the basement of North Court.
Ever since the station relocated and was supplied with brand new equipment, King said, student involvement has been on the rise again and the station has started to make major changes for the better.
"We're trying to get more involved in campus life by playing the station in places like the Commons," said Ryan Erickson-Kulas, a Richmond College senior and WDCE DJ. "The majority of students still don't know we have a radio station, which is why it's so important to play it in common areas."
Erickson-Kulas hosts a show 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays called "The Menagerie." He and his co-DJs, seniors Jan van den Bos and Phillip Opsasnick, like to play a mix of hip-hop and classic rock music, he said.
The station's new lineup for 2010 currently boasts fifty-one shows and the number is constantly growing as the timeslots fill up.
Kat Arcement, Westhampton College '14, will host a new show this year called "Audio Lit" from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.Fridays. Arcement picks a different book for each show, which she makes a playlist for, filled with music that reminds her of the themes and tones of the book, she said.
"My hope is that people will be reminded of the classics, learn about some great new novels or non-fiction, and find out about music that they would be listening to on repeat right now ... if only they had heard it before," she said.
For her first show, Arcement chose "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger. One of the songs she played was "Oh Man" by The Born Ruffians.
"I heard them sing that song at a concert in Quebec over the summer, and it's what I imagine Holden Caulfield would sound like if he could sing," she said.
Both Erickson-Kulas and WDCE general manager Andrew Brown, Richmond College '12, said that one of the best things about WDCE is that the DJs never play Top 40 songs.
"Part of our mission statement is to avoid commercial hits," said Brown, who has a show from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.
Brown said of his own show, "It focuses on indie rock and pop with a twist of slayer, and I'll sprinkle some different things in there from time to time."
Brown is the successor to Ben Russell, who was general manager of WDCE for two years and graduated at the end of last year.
In February 2010, Russell helped bring the band "Mission of Burma" to the university for a concert in the Pier. Brown said that he hoped WDCE would be able to host more concerts in the future, provided they had enough funding.
The primary project right now, however, is the expansion of the station's off-campus broadcast radius, Brown said. WDCE, which currently operates at 100 watts, would have a much larger radius with the proposed power increase.
Director of Student Activities Max Vest said that once the station raised enough money for a new antenna and transmitter, its goals could be accomplished.
King, who has a four-hour jazz show on Sunday mornings and has been listening to WDCE since he was in high school in Chesterfield County, said he was eagerly anticipating these developments.
"Now if we could just time the power boost for Nov. 2, 2011, how amazing would that be?" he said.
We'll just have to stay tuned and wait for groundbreaking moment No. 3.
Contact staff writer Eliza Morse at firstname.lastname@example.org