WKDI can excel if funded

In 1973, WKDI, NIU’s student-run radio station, was named the No. 3 college radio station in the nation by Billboard Magazine. Now it’s unlikely the station is No. 3 in this area, which is sad.

It’s not a lack of talent or interest—60 students want to be DJs. It’s a lack of money.

For years, the station has tried to leave the cable system which limits its accessibility. Because the station doesn’t get enough money from the Student Association—its funds don’t come from NIU—it just can’t afford it.

But the reality of a WKDI on the regular FM dial needn’t be a dream. For only $1,500, the station could apply for and pay for a frequency search that could land them on the air.

The real problem is getting the actual facility going. One WKDI staffer estimated the cost of getting a “real” broadcast outlet on its feet would be in the $50,000 range.

But a one-time, $2-a-head student fee referendum to pay this amount would probably be supported. As with the fees students pay every semester for the buses, this is small change.

NIU’s other radio programming, WNIU and WNIJ, are partly funded by the university. Because they are public radio stations, they also receive money from the government. Consequently, WNIU is a broadcasting powerhouse in this region, and WNIJ might also be someday.

WKDI could do the same with a little money behind it. With its intentions to serve student listeners and give practical broadcast experience to some, WKDI should get the funding it needs to get on the air.

While NIU officials continue to pump dollar-after-dollar into the athletic department trying to build nationally-recognized teams, they should look back at something that was nationally-known but has declined due to underfunding. It’s such a shame to lose something great.