Tune your FM radio dial to 88.1 WDSW-LP and you’ll hear a new sound coming from Delta State University.
Thanks to generous private donations of time, equipment and monies, the university has established a radio station, which is still in its developing stages. The low-power 250-watt station is designed to broadcast clearly on campus and around Cleveland, and is scheduled to be fully operational this fall.
Currently, the station is playing a temporary rotation of light country music that is being fed from a music database. The next step is to develop a plan for the station in terms of programming, goals, structure, budgeting, management and timeline.
President William N. LaForge said the university is thrilled to host the new station and is grateful for the private funding and support that brought the project to fruition.
“We were able to cobble together some in-kind and dollar contributions that made this possible,” said LaForge. “The Delta State University Foundation, along with friends and supporters, helped us get over the finish line. It’s all privately funded, and we hope to continue that going forward.”
Elijah Mondy, a radio station owner in Mississippi and Arkansas, contributed substantial time to make everything come together.
Mondy was motivated to sort through the groundwork thanks to his family’s ties to the university. His daughter, April, who received her undergraduate at Delta State in 2011 and master’s degree in 2013, is the university’s web designer. Mondy also has two sons enrolled at the institution. April and three of her siblings assisted their father with the setup.
“With my daughter working here and two sons attending, I have really taken a big liking to Delta State,” said Mondy. “It’s exciting that the school will now be able to directly communicate with the campus, community and alumni. This will be an asset for Delta State and be a great way to communicate locally and to the world.”
Mondy used his expertise and years of experience in the radio industry to provide initial assessing of the studio space and determine what equipment would be needed. He also brought in his radio colleague, Ed Czelada, an FCC consultant engineer, to help spearhead the technical setup of equipment, wiring and the radio tower. Czelada, who owns over 20 radio stations in Michigan, drove down to Mississippi and spent several days on campus.
Mondy added that he hopes the station will eventually be livestreamed through the Internet so that the world, literally, can learn about Delta State happenings.
Alumnus J. Boyd Ingram ’64 (right) and his wife Carol, joined President William N. Laforge when Ingram announced he would donate and purchase equipment to help make the station a reality.
Other prime donors include alumnus J. Boyd Ingram ’64 and his wife Carol. Ingram recently sold the station he owned and operated in Batesville, Miss. The Ingrams donated and purchased equipment, which helped to make the station a reality. Ingram also helped with some of the initial equipment assembly.
“The Ingrams are very much to be credited for helping us get this show on the road,” said LaForge. “We also owe a great debt of gratitude to the Mondy family for assisting with the setup.”
Among others making contributions were radio station owner Larry Fuss, and alumnus Lee Baker ’89 and his wife Susie of Morse Communications.
While station programming has not been finalized, LaForge said it will provide a number of distinctive opportunities on campus. The Office of Communications and Marketing will be able to utilize the air space, as well as Delta State’s unique Delta Music Institute program.
Other areas that may be incorporated include news, weather, university calendar and information, athletics, live music and performance, and potentially music recitals occurring on campus.
A lot of this will be discussed and planned through a committee,” said LaForge. “In time, we will lay out an underwriting fundraising plan to support the station long term. The concept certainly supports things we’re doing at Delta State, like being the academic center of the blues.
“The station gives us a little pizzazz as a university and a community. Now we’ll have new opportunities to keep our constituencies apprised of events and activities. It will also give some of our students a chance to participate in the broadcast end of it. This will certainly be a nice addition to Delta State’s focus on music and culture.”
Follow all upcoming station updates at www.deltastate.edu.