“WDBX provides a public forum for artistic and cultural expression and for the exchange of ideas among individuals and the community.”
WDBX (as Heterodyne Broadcasting) has a non-commercial, educational FM license. It is incorporated as a not-for-profit, Community Radio station, and has 501(c)3 nonprofit, tax-exempt status. At 3,000 watts, WDBX reaches listeners for 25-40 miles around Carbondale with somewhere in the neighborhood of 125,000 southern Illinoisans inside our broadcast area. We reach all of Jackson and Williamson counties, as well as parts of Perry, Franklin, Johnson, Saline, and Union counties.
What Is Community Radio?
Community radio means many things to many people. In much the same way that a neighborhood park is characterized by those who use it, community radio is created by those who participate with it—as listeners, or as volunteers. At its best, community radio benefits and strengthens the community around it by providing local, participatory media opportunities to the community.
WDBX involves its volunteers in nearly every aspect of its daily operations. While there are numerous ways for volunteers to work behind the scenes, it is the opportunity to go on the air as a volunteer DJ that is, perhaps, the most outstanding feature of volunteer involvement at WDBX. Your neighbors — artists and farmers, entrepreneurs and educators, elders and youth alike– have come forward to play the music, tell the stories, engage in the debates and air the concerns that give our lives meaning and the community its life. Very few come with any radio or broadcast experience. If you are interested to volunteer, WDBX will train you in the operation of its equipment and in the organizational skills necessary to become a WDBX DJ, or assist you in finding an opportunity off-air if you should wish.
Become A Volunteer
WDBX is volunteer-driven! Volunteer positions on and off-air are available, and training is provided. When you volunteer with WDBX, you join over 100 enthusiastic, community-minded and active individuals who make our community amazing. Download a volunteer application now, or stop by the station to pick one up! You can assist in many different ways, both on-air and off.
The most well-known volunteer opportunity at WDBX is also the most demanding. Be a part of WDBX’s amazing history of presenting diverse music, news, and public affairs programs.
Special Events Committee
Works to organize major and minor WDBX events throughout the year, such as merchandise tables, spin parties, concerts, and the Summer Street Festival. The Special Events committee works with the Web/Social Media and Street Team to coordinate promotion of these events.
Works with the Music Director and Genre Coordinators to create and maintain the WDBX Station Library. Programming helps fine-tune our station sound, and advises the station manager about specialty shows.
Helps schedule cleaning, upkeep, and maintenance of the station and equipment—including studio design, and repair. Facilities committee members are also responsible for the overall look of the station, inside and out.
This committee works closely with Special Events and the Station Manager to promote general awareness of WDBX online, as well as helping to bring out the crowds for WDBX Live Events! Members will also have input and responsibility for the WDBX website, videos, podcasts, and streaming services. A final important function of this committee is to gather photos, video, and articles about WDBX from the web, for inclusion in WDBX archives. The Web/Social Media committee has input in decisions about online marketing of the station.
The Street Team gets flyers, event posters, stickers, print calendars, and more out to businesses and individuals in our region. The Street Team is an important part of every event, and works in coordination with Special Events. The Street Team has input in decisions about outward marketing of the station in physical spaces.
WDBX is governed by a seven-member Advisory Board, two of which are permanent members of the Heterodyne Broadcasting Company, and five are elected or appointed for a two-year term at the discretion of the Heterodyne Broadcasting Company Board. The Station Manager is responsible to and appointed by the Heterodyne Broadcasting Company.
The WDBX Advisory Board
Tim Damian, Tom Egert, Navreet Kang, Alex Paull, Jason Shoot (Chairman), Joe Swank, Gene Turk, Greg Wharton
Heterodyne Broadcasting Co. Board of Directors
Tom Egert, Navreet Kang, Gene Turk
On a sunny, spring afternoon in 1992, Tom Egert drove home to Carbondale from St. Louis propelled by the sounds of reggae and salsa on his car radio. This enlivening musical mix broadcast by KDHX, St. Louis’ community radio station, brought Tom happily within 20 miles of his home before he’d driven out of range of the station. Scanning the local radio dial, he could find no comparable musical programming and in that moment of frustration the idea of creating an invigorating, culturally diverse, community radio station in southern Illinois was born.
Heterodyne Broadcasting Company, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization was founded and files the paperwork with the FCC to create a community radio station.
Gene Turk, Paul Runge, Tom Egert and Neil Dillard participate in a ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday at 224 N. Washington to initiate the construction of WDBX 91.1 FM.
The first Volunteer recruitment meetings were held February 6, 1996. Over 100 people attended the two meetings that day; from those, 40 completed training and began regular operations about two weeks later. At first the station was on the air from 4-10 p.m. daily and grew quickly from there.
Volunteers Beth Tryon and Ted Petith hold a Valentine Ball and auction at the Carbondale Civic Center to mark the station’s first anniversary and raise funds. The $10,000 raised was used to buy a broadcast-quality mixing console for the studio. The ball becomes an annual event.
WDBX launches an “Adopt a Watt” campaign to raise $60,000 to expand its coverage area by upgrading the broadcast signal.
Thanks to the efforts of our founder Tom Egert, the late US Senator Paul Simon, and the generous contributions of our listeners, we increased our broadcast power from 700 to 3,000 watts. WDBX now covers all of Jackson and Williamson counties, as well as most of Perry and Franklin, and parts of Union, Johnson and Saline counties. In all, our signal can reach over 100,000 southern Illinoisans.
With help from James Throgmorton, WDBX begins streaming live online.
The stations gets a major upgrade in the studio, with most of the remodeling done by DJ Mike Lescelius. (Pictured: David “Freakshow” Odum)
With key planning from Special Events Committee members Genie Schropp and Matt Decker, the first WDBX Summer Street Festival is held July 13. The day-long block-party style event featured live music from Wingtips, Burning Hotels, 7 Day Weekend, Skank, HighHorse, and The Flowers of Evil, as well as games and a DJ Dunk Booth. A unanimous decision makes this an annual event. (Pictured: Jason Ross, of “Gypsy Nation”)
Staff gathered to discuss the changing future of WDBX, helping to create a plan that would eventually culminate in a $32,000 “Save Our Station” pledge drive, reversing a downward trend at WDBX.
With the help of station volunteers Stan Drake and Darby McGrann, WDBX gets another major remodel, expanding the office into the music library to create a larger studio space. The new “Studio B” features upgraded equipment and more space for live musical guests.
In cooperation with the Hangar 9 and the City of Carbondale, WDBX hosts a live-DJ event for high schoolers. Live sets from ‘The Nocturntable,” “Style City,” and key planner Paris Siulua (“Labkids”) make for an amazing evening.
Currently, about 125 volunteers cover a broadcast schedule 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The schedule is a mirror of the diversity of our community, representing nearly every major American musical genre; international and ethnic music; and with an emerging section of local talk programming, local sports and more. (Pictured: “Isn’t It Queer” hosts Jonny Gray, Stacy Calvert and guest)