HomeBensalem TimesRadio Delaware Valley expands

Radio Delaware Valley expands

The non-commercial public radio station, which operates 97.1 in Bensalem, can now be heard in Lansdale and Berlin

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Radio Delaware Valley, which runs 97.1 in Bensalem, 91.7 in Bristol and Levittown, and WRDV-FM 89.3 in Hatboro, recently expanded to Lansdale and Berlin, New Jersey. Residents of these areas can now hear an eclectic mix of 20th century nostalgia with the additions of 105.7 FM and WTHA-FM 88.1 to the non-commercial public radio station family. Its unique format features the old standards of the ‘20s, ‘30s, big band, early days of blues, rock ‘n’ roll, country, soul, polka and more.

“We considered it part of the Delaware Valley,” said Charles Loughery, president of the Bux-Mont Educational Radio Association, the nonprofit organization formed to operate the radio station. “We felt it fit in.”

Loughery was a 20-year-old communications student in 1979 when Centennial School District shut down the previously-dubbed WCSD 89.3 radio station. By 1980, Loughery had established a nonprofit organization, which allowed for the station’s transfer from school district ownership. For a time, he and other volunteers operated from the basement of Warminster Township’s municipal building, eventually relocating to its current home on York Road in Hatboro in 2000.

“We’re still here today,” Loughery said.

Under his leadership, the station transformed from a membership organization to being managed by a board of trustees. In the late ‘80s, the station’s call letters morphed from WCSD to WRDV. Soon after, the station “dramatically changed” the music format from acid rock and heavy metal to the standards in regular rotation today.

“We’re trying to target stuff that people remember that’s good stuff,” he said.

General manager Fred Rice said RDV strives to stay away from the “tried and true formats.”

“How many more classic rock stations do you need?,” Rice asked.

Unlike most radio stations, RDV DJs choose their own music, according to public information officer and voice talent Laurie Jacobson. The station has a pair of turntables, as well as a CD player, that DJs can use, along with their laptop, to play music on-air.

“Even within each format the shows sound different,” she said of the station’s staff, which consists of more than 40 volunteer DJs. “We’re kind of a mix of old and new with the music.”

The station offers training for individuals seeking a career in broadcasting. Jacobson’s son Anders, a senior at Central Bucks South High School and Middle Bucks Institute of Technology, serves as the station’s production director, recording and editing underwriting spots and promos, editing public service announcements, assisting with remote broadcasts and more.

“It felt natural,” Anders said of his RDV volunteer time.

In addition to playing a vast collection of music every day, Radio Delaware Valley features public affairs programming, a community bulletin board, which highlights local nonprofit events, and area church services on Sundays, from 7 a.m. to noon.

RDV continues to see its listener base grow through streaming, which has broadened its reach as far away as England, Germany, Florida and for locals on their travels to the Jersey Shore.

The station is funded solely through its annual fund drive, as well as business and corporate sponsors.

Given the age range of fund drive contributors, Rice said millennials comprise a large segment of their listening base.

“We’ve got listeners in their 20s and 30s,” Rice said. “They’re devoted to the station.”

Radio Delaware Valley is holding its annual fund drive from Oct. 15 through Nov. 4. RDV will host an open house on Saturday, Nov. 11, from noon to 4 p.m. at its studio in Hatboro. For more information, visit wrdv.org.

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