February 14 is a date that has special meaning to many in our country. February 14, 1966 was an especially significant day for lovers in Indianapolis, radio lovers that is. This was the day WBDG-90.9 FM took to the airways. Broadcasting a not so whopping 10 watts of power from a tower built on top of Ben Davis High School, Giant 90.9 FM officially became part of the Indianapolis media. While WBDG is a student operated radio station they still offer programming that run 24 hours a day 365 days a year, a feat most other high school radio stations can not accomplish. It is through hard work and determination like this that has made 90.9 one of the premier student run radio stations in the entire country. Their excellence was rewarded in 2005 when they were named “Radio School of the Year” by the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters.
Although they are now considered one of the leaders in high school broadcasting, they were not just handed such a title. WBDG earned it. In the late 60’s and early 70’s programming consisted mainly of educational shows that were presented to the area’s local elementary schools. The station had a fun side as well. Each school day they would broadcast the lunch-time dance party. In these first years the only time 90.9 FM was on the air outside of school hours was to broadcast athletic events at night. Due to the small number of disc jockey slots available each week, the competition was said to be fierce.
Within the first ten years of WBDG- 90.9 FM existence, students and faculty realized they wanted to reach a bigger audience. So they applied and were approved for a stronger signal, which increased the station’s output to 320 watts. In 1979 they went back to the FCC looking for even more power. Again they were granted an increase. This time around they also added a 78 foot tower to the top of the school. By this time WBDG had added music and talk shows that aired after regular school hours. It was around this same time that 90.9 FM went Disco. They were the only radio station in all of Indianapolis to offer such a format. Depending on your personal stance in regards to disco music, this was either a beacon of sparkling hope, or one too many disco stations.
In 1995 the station went for it all. This was the year they went to their 24/7/365 format and have never looked back. With 24 hours of programming everyday of the year to fill, WBDG 90.9 FM offers their listeners all kinds of shows. When they aren’t playing the most popular music in Indianapolis, they are covering the latest in area high school sports. With the mindset that this is not just a radio station for teenagers, all the latest news and events in Indianapolis are broadcast from WBDG’s frequency. It is their coverage of all facets of life in Indy that makes 90.9 FM “First on Your Dial for Variety.” Whatever WBDG offers the listening public it will always play second string to the real reason this station was created, to further education in Indianapolis of tomorrow’s radio innovators.
Famous People From Ben Davis’ WBDG FM Radio
- Kristi Lee – The Bob and Tom Show
- David Calabro – WTHR Channel 13, Indianapolis Sports Director
- Kevin Gregory – WRTV Channel 6, Indianapolis Chief Meteorologist
- Kevin Lee – WIBC, Indiana Pacers
- Scott Hoke – WFYI, Indianapolis
- Liz Dixon – WTLC, Indianapolis
- Dana Webb – Former Country Music Association CMA Disc Jockey of the Year, Co-host of “It’s Your Money” on manarin.com
- Jeff Lewis – WKLU, 101.9 FM, Indianapolis
- DJ Marcus – House DJ at the Vogue Broad Ripple, Indiana
- Tommy Mason – The Wolf, Evansville, Indiana
- Crystal McKenzie – WKLU, 101.9 FM, Indianapolis
- Paul Mendenhall (former teacher, Station Manager) – WTTS, 92.3 FM, Indianapolis Morning Show Host
- Linda Allen – WJTV Channel 12, Jackson, Mississippi Anchor/Reporter
Check out the famous people in Indianapolis section to learn more about your favoirte star that was either born in Indy or has made a name for themself in our great city!
1200 N Girls School Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46214
To see what makes this one of the best student run radio stations in the country check out thier website.