WDAV Classical Public Radio
Posted on May 13, 2018, and last modified on 8 months ago.
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WDAV 89.9, a service of Davidson College and licensed to the Trustees of Davidson College, is a member-supported public radio station providing classical music and cultural arts programming 24 hours each day.
WDAV "Classical 89.9" is a non-commercial public radio station located in Davidson, North Carolina and serving the Charlotte, North Carolina market. The station, owned by Davidson College, airs classical music and fine arts programming.
WDAV programming originates locally for 22 hours each day, and the tempo of the music is based on the time of day, with "upbeat, inspirational" in the morning and "relaxing, kick-back" late in the day. As of 2018, music director Ted Weiner, who recorded the overnight show instead of doing it live, had been a full-time personality since 1986, the longest of anyone there. General manager Frank Dominguez, an employee for 25 years, hosted Concierto on the HD-2 channel, with composers and musicians from Latin America and Spain, and on 45 public stations. Station personalities included Mike McKay, Myelita Melton, Matt Rogers, Rachel Stewart, and Joe Brant.
WDAV signed on in 1973 as a student-run college radio station, taking over from a carrier current station that had been on the air since 1969.
The format included jazz, rock music and educational programs. In 1978, it was upgraded to a full-service professional operation. However, student volunteers quit because they did not want the station to go all classical, and it took three months to return to the air. WDAV became "Your station for the arts" and played mostly classical music.
The students asked for another carrier current station, and WALT came on the air but operated off and on for years.
WDAV began offering alternative rock for two hours a night on weeknights starting at 11:00. Flipsides, hosted by students, featured music from over 2000 albums and artists such as Hüsker Dü, Meat Puppets, Fetchin Bones, The Replacements, P.I.L., Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper.
In February 1996, WALT became a permanent station at 1610 AM, later adding a webcast.
In 1985, WDAV made plans to increase its signal from 20,000 to 100,000 watts using a directional antenna to prevent interference with WEPR. The station was also moving from a small space in the college's union building to a new building.
The power boost, approved in August 1988 and completed in mid-1989, would increase the listening area from 1702 to 2402 square miles, with as many as 850,755 listeners. On October 1, 1988, WDAV began broadcasting 24 hours a day. That same month, the station became an affiliate of American Public Radio, with Radio Kronos and High Performance with André Previn.
On April 19, 1995, WDAV moved from a 350-foot tower two miles south of Cornelius to an 815-foot one in Huntersville, improving its signal in some areas and increasing its signal range to 22 counties.
Also in 1995, WDAV ended Metropolitan Opera broadcasts because they had to be live and WDAV felt not enough listeners liked opera.
In July 2003, WDAV added the NPR program World of Opera.
Lightning damage in August 2012 resulted in a reduced signal for WDAV after the station had to switch to its old tower temporarily. The signal was back to normal in June 2013.
WDAV was one of the first classical radio stations to stream its signal.
In January 2015, after 20 years, WDAV decided to no longer run NPR news updates at the top of each hour, since listeners tended to change stations if they did not want news, and those who did want news listened to other stations. The size of the audience increased.
In August 2016, WDAV was the number one classical station in the country according to Nielsen Media Research. Half of listeners were over 55, but a fourth were less than 35 years old.
As of 2018, 21 percent of the audience was 18 to 34. The station had three podcasts already and planned two more.
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