During the late 1960’s, students attending Pennsylvania Military College desired to have a radio station that would provide the student population with programming that they wanted to hear. This group of students worked together to petition the school’s administration for the funding needed to build a radio station. The funds were allocated and studios were erected in Old Main. A carrier transmitter was purchased and installed in 1968.
The carrier current transmitter utilized the school’s existing electrical system to broadcast its signal. Therefore, the listeners needed to have their radio plugged into an outlet in a building with a transmitter in order to receive the station’s signal. On November 2, 1968, WPMC began broadcasting the PMC Cadets’ football games on a frequency of 640 AM. Other programming consisted of the underground and the progressive music of the day, with bands such as The Doors and The Grateful Dead—bands that could not be heard on commercial radio.
In 1972, WPMC changed its call letters to WDNR as a result of the school changing its name to Widener College. WDNR continued to broadcast on 640 AM which became antiquated and frequently failed. Only a few of the transmitters on campus actually worked, so very few people were actually able to tune in. In 1977, the Widener administration acquired one of the last available radio frequencies in the Philadelphia area. All of the sudden, WDNR was able to be heard on 89.5 FM throughout most of Delaware County.
In the fall of 1979, Old Main renovations made it impossible for WDNR to keep its broadcast studio there. The administration announced that it was going to disband WDNR forever. Public and student outcry reversed their decision, and new studios were constructed under the old Memorial Stadium in 1980.
Early 1994, WDNR moved once again. With the old Memorial Stadium being demolished, the radio station needed a new home. During the spring, the administration decided to build a studio in the basement of the Howell Hall dormitory. The studio was to be built next to The Metro (the University’s night club/venue) and they were to work hand in hand.
In the summer of 1995, the antenna atop the Dome of Old Main was struck by lightning three consecutive times in one night. The transmitted signal was cut to barely a mile radius around Widener University. Widener’s administration decided to purchase WDNR a new transmitter. With the new transmitter in the fall of 1995 and WDNR’s signal again reached a ten mile radius.
WDNR still continues many of the traditions started by WPMC. The station broadcasts football games and plays a variety of music seen at no other station in the area. WDNR has also continued its strong ties with a multitude of record companies, promoters, and the local community. At 10 watts, it is heard 24 hours a day at 89.5FM in the Chester, PA area. It is also being streamed live on http://www.wdnrfm.org all over the world.
The station is a multi-format, non-commercial music station, but also broadcasts Widener home football games. Every Saturday starting at 12:45 p.m. during the fall semesters. Clubs can have announcements read on the air as well.