Low Plaza

WKCR Return to the Airwaves throughout the Tri-State Area

By Elizabeth Golden

Matt Herman shows students the ropes at WKCR

Columbia's student-run radio station, WKCR 89.9FM, can once again be heard throughout the tri-state area.

Since the destruction of WKCR's antenna on the World Trade Center two years ago, the radio station had been broadcasting to a limited area of upper Manhattan surrounding the Columbia campus. While broadcasting atop Carmen Hall, WKCR's potential audience was reduced from 12 million to 2 million. The new transmitter, located at 4 Times Square, will once again make it possible to reach more than 11 million homes in the Tri-State Area.

Members of the WKCR team are both relieved and excited by their return to the airwaves.

"After such a drawn out process to get our new antenna, it is just a huge relief to get our programming back out to the greater New York area. Hundreds of people are calling and e-mailing to congratulate us on our return," said Matt Niederhauser, WKCR's publicity manager.

WKCR has remained active in its commitment to alternative programming. It has long attracted listeners to a distinctive and eclectic mix of jazz, classical, new, American, Latin and world music. In addition, WKCR offers a variety of arts, sports, news and public affairs programming that provides uncompromising viewpoints in an increasingly commercialized radio marketplace.

"As the community of WKCR, our vision is to produce quality programming of a kind which can be heard nowhere else," said Laura Welikson, programming director for the station. "We are dedicated to educating the public about both the history and the content of the music we play and the artists we showcase. Nowhere else can you get 24 hours of jazz celebrating a single artist during birthday and memorial broadcasts. Or day-to-week-long festivals exploring in depth the music of a particular genre, region or artist. It's essential to provide the opportunity for people to hear this kind of programming on the radio--and now they can," she said.

WKCR's revival also marks the return of some of New York's most beloved on-air personalities. The inimitable Phil Schaap still presides over the regular morning programming with "Bird Flight," a daily exploration of the music of Charlie Parker and his associates. Also, New Yorkers will once again be able to hear the area's longest-running jazz DJ, Sharif Abdus-Salaam, on the Thursday edition of the weekday program "Jazz Alternatives." Evening listeners can also enjoy specialty shows featuring the expertise of such DJs as Lawrence Nii Nartey (The African Show), Doug Tuchman (Honky Tonkin) and Jassvan de Lima (Som do Brasil).

These specialty shows tap into both the historical and modern developments of their respective musical genres at a depth unparalleled in other New York City radio programming.

The launching of the new antenna signifies a momentous event in the history of WKCR as it resumes its role as a vibrant promoter of the arts and returns as an integral part of New York's cultural landscape.

Published: Oct 02, 2003
Last modified: Oct 01, 2003

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