WIDR FM is the student-run non-commerical radio station of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We serve the campus and community of Kalamazoo by airing a WIDeR variety of music that is unlike any other radio station. WIDR serves as an escape from all evil that exists in mainstream media. We provide our listeners with every genre, along with up to the minute news, sorts, and community and campus information.
The majority of our staff is comprised of WMU students, with the rest being students and volunteers from other area colleges and WMU alumni. WIDR staff members are non-paid, with the exception of our 6 paid director positions. However, all WIDR staff enjoy various benefits to being affiliated with Michigans most eclectic college radio station. These inlude complimentary mechandise, valuable radio experience, and a chance to explore some of the worlds newest and rarest music. If you are interested in joining WIDR please contact our Program Director at (269) 387-6305. WIDR began in a trailer in 1952. Then it was Western Inter-Dormitory Radio, an AM station available only to WMU residents. It broadcasts through the pipes of WMU; campus residents could listen by placing their radio antenna on metal fixtures in their dorm rooms. It was a humble beginning.
In the ’60s, WIDR went on the air for real, on the AM dial. In 1969 Campus Media, Inc. described WIDR as “one of the finest campus stations in the country.” Our staff is aware of the accolades that the radio station has received and strive continually to maintain that level of quality programming.
In 1975 WIDR-FM went on the air, as what was then known as a “progressive” or “underground” station. With a mix of Frank Zappa and John Coltrane, Led Zeppelin and Muddy Waters (and much more), WIDR-FM became the #1 station in Kalamazoo. This was a time when there were few FM stations in the area, but still, this was an important feat. This was also the era of WIDR’s massive music festival known as Kite Flight, the precursor for the Barking Tuna.
Throughout the 1980s WIDR continued to evolve. Its power was boosted to 100 watts, covering most of Kalamazoo County. It was “alternative” long before that label became a buzzword used by the music industry. WIDR was, and still is, an alternative to commercial radio. The station was the first in the area to play rap, punk, grunge, etc., beating out all area commercial stations and MTV. When the rest of the world was ignoring new bands like U2, Nirvana, and REM, WIDR gave them many a spin. WIDR has historically put an emphasis on variety with an eclectic mix of rock, rap, R& B, experimental, folk, blues, jazz, world music and genres not yet named.
WIDR continues its Radio Evolution and is still the only true alternative listening source in Kalamazoo. Its listeners recognize the educational and entertainment value of the station by sending their donations during the annual WIDR Week every February, as well as by attending WIDR Events.
We of WIDR thank our listeners who have supported the station throughout the decades–if it weren’t for you, we’d just be sitting in the studio playing tunes and talking to ourselves.
Remember, it’s not the size that counts, it’s the frequency: 89.1 WIDR-FM Kalamazoo, Michigan – the source for radio evolution.