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Guide to the WDBS Collection, 1949 - 1983

Summary

WDBS was Duke University's campus radio station from 1950-1983. It initially broadcast on AM by carrier current, a system in which radio signals were fed into the university's electrical system. In 1971, WDBS began broadcasting on FM 107.1 as a commercial, non-profit station. AM broadcasts ceased in the early 1970s. WDBS was sold in 1983 to repay debts the station owed Duke University. Collection includes annual reports, correspondence, proposals, newspaper clippings, advertising, program guides, record company photographs and press releases, and other materials related to the operation of WDBS. There are also reel-to-reel sound recordings of broadcasts from the 1960s and 1970s, including speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokeley Carmichael, Douglas Knight, Samuel Dubois Cook, Charles Goodell, Robert Shelton, Spiro Agnew, Julian Bond, Birch Bayh, William Kunstler, Floyd McKissick, Richard Kleindienst, and Terry Sanford. News events and other subjects represented on tape include the 1968 Vigil, the 1969 takeover of the Allen Building by the Afro-American Society, racial unrest in Durham, anti-war activism, the 1971 USA Pan-Africa track meet, the 1972 Republican National Convention, the dedication of the William R. Perkins Library, and the Duke Symposium. Musical recordings include an organ recital, the Concert Band, and the Glee Club. English.

Collection Details

Record Group
UA.31.12.0005
Title
WDBS collection
Date
1949-1983
Creator
WDBS (Radio station : Durham, N.C.)
Extent
8 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
English.

Collection Overview

Collection includes annual reports, correspondence, proposals, newspaper clippings, advertising, program guides, record company photographs and press releases, and other materials related to the operation of WDBS. There are also reel-to-reel sound recordings of broadcasts from the 1960s and 1970s, including speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokeley Carmichael, Douglas Knight, Samuel Dubois Cook, Charles Goodell, Robert Shelton, Spiro Agnew, Julian Bond, Birch Bayh, William Kunstler, Floyd McKissick, Richard Kleindienst, and Terry Sanford. News events and other subjects represented on tape include the 1968 Vigil, the 1969 takeover of the Allen Building by the Afro-American Society, racial unrest in Durham, anti-war activism, the 1971 USA Pan-Africa track meet, the 1972 Republican National Convention, the dedication of the William R. Perkins Library, and the Duke Symposium. Musical recordings include an organ recital, the Concert Band, and the Glee Club.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

In off-site storage; 48 hours advance notice is required for use.

Use of audiotapes from this collection requires the creation of reference copies. Reference copies for a few of the tapes have been made on audiocassettes, and if a reference copy exists, it is noted in this finding aid. To arrange for the creation of reference copies of other items, please contact University Archives staff. Although these recordings are now stored in a stable environment, their condition and playback quality is unknown.

warning Use & Permissions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], WDBS Collection, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Annual Reports, 1951-1970

Includes annual reports from the station manager, engineering manager, public relations manager, business manager, production manager, news editor, and other staff members. Also included are profit and loss statements, correspondence regarding equipment, equipment diagrams, program schedules, and other materials related to the operation of WDBS.

Annual reports, 1951-1970
Box 1
Folder 1-15
A Student Radio Station to Cover Duke Campus: Proposal, [1949]
Box 2
Folder 16
Charter, Bylaws, Operational Code, undated
Box 2
Folder 17
Clippings, 1970-1983, undated

Most of the clippings concern events surrounding the proposed sale of the station in the 70s, a proposal by WDUK to assume the operations of WDBS and give control of the station back to students, community opposition to the sale, and the final sale of the station in 1983.

Box 2
Folder 18
Correspondence, 1950-1970, undated

Memos and correspondence, including a 1950 plan for installing a campus radio station and a 1966 report on the feasibility of a campus FM station.

Box 2
Folder 19
Financial: Budgets, Advertising Brochures, etc., 1960-1968, undated
Box 2
Folder 20
History of Radio Station WDBS, Part I, 1947-1957. J. Robert Brubaker, 1958
Box 2
Folder 21
History of Radio Station WDBS, Part II, 1958-1968. J. William Veatch, III, 1968
Box 2
Folder 22
News Wire Reports, circa 1967-1968

Printed teletype reports from United Press International (UPI). Most of the news stories pertain to 1968 presidential primaries.

Box 2
Folder 23
Miscellany, 1954-[1978], undated

Bumper stickers, promotional items, and other materials.

Box 2
Folder 24
WDBS-FM: Loan Request Proposal with Exhibits and Related Data, copy 1, 1970 July 11
Box 2
Folder 25
WDBS-FM: Loan Request Proposal with Exhibits and Related Data, copy 2, 1970 July 11
Box 2
Folder 26
Radio Council, 1965-1971, undated
Box 2
Folder 27
Radio Council Petitions for Positions, circa 1962-1970
Box 2
Folder 28
Wiring Diagrams, undated
Box 2
Folder 29
WDBS 107.1 FM Stereo, circa 1974, UA96-95
(poster)
Oversize-folder MC20
Your Radio Station, 1971, UA81-71
(12 inch phonograph record, one-sided)
Audio-disc D1

3. Program Guides, 1973-1980

The WDBS Program Guide began as a weekly pamphlet that listed the week's programming. By 1974, it published monthly, accepted advertising, and featured articles, fiction, poetry, photography, and a calendar of local cultural events.

Program guides, 1973-1980
Box 3
Folder 30-35

4. Record Company Promotional Materials, circa 1970-1980

Photographs, posters, press releases, and other materials supplied to WDBS by record companies.

Promotional materials
Box 4
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 1: Herberg, 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0001
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 2: "Nature of the Predicament", 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0002
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 3: "Reactions of Man and Society to the Predicament" #2, 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0003
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 4: Hopper, 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0004
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 5: "Alternatives in Dealing with the Predicament" #2, 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0005
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 6, 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0006
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 7: Driver, 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0007
Post-Christian Man Symposium Reel 8, 1960 November 15-1960 November 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0008
Glenn Negley: Last Lecture, 1961 March 9
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0009
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Page Auditorium, 1964 November 13
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0010
Symposium on the South in Continuity and Change: Allan Sindler, 1965 February 22
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0011
Symposium on the South in Continuity and Change: Joseph J. Spengler, 1965 February 22
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0012
Rosa Weinstein Lectures: Dr. Martin Fox, 1966 February 16-1966 February 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0013
Symposium: Newcomen Society, 1966 April 14
Box 9
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0014
Stokeley Carmichael: Interview, 1967 March
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0015
Stokeley Carmichael: Page Auditorium, 1967 March
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0016
Middle East Crisis, 1968 March 8-1968 March 9
Box 9
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0017
Dr. Knight's Address: Page Auditorium, part 1, 1969 May 12
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0052
Dr. Knight's Address: Page Auditorium, part 2, 1969 May 12
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0053
University Convocation, 1969 September 25
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0057
Senator Charles Goodell: Baldwin Auditorium, 1969 November 12
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0058
WDBS feed from Washington, part 1, 1969 November 14
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0059
WDBS feed from Washington, part 2, 1969 November 14
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0060
WDBS feed from Washington, part 3, 1969 November 14
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0061
WDBS feed from Washington, 1969 November 15
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0062
Robert Shelton, 1969 November 28
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0063
Terry Sanford: Press Conference, 1969 December 14
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0064
Activism Potpourri, 1968-1969
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0065
Dedication of Chapel Organ, 1969 April
Box 9
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0051
Esso Educational Seminar, 1969 June 24-1969 June 25
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0054
Esso Educational Seminar, 1969 June 25-1969 June 26
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0055
Esso Educational Seminar, 1969 June 27
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0056
Perkins Library Dedication: Terry Sanford, 1970 April 15
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0066
Dedication of W. R. Perkins Library: Page Auditorium, 1970 April 15
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0067
Perkins Library Dedication, 1970 April 16
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0068
Cambodia: Duke Protest Rallies, 1970 May
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0069
Cambodia, 1970 May
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0070
Cambodia, 1970 May
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0071
Cambodia and Kent State Demonstrations, 1970 May 5-1970 May 7
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0072
Terry Sanford Inauguration, part 1, 1970 October 18
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0073
Terry Sanford Inauguration, part 2, 1970 October 18
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0074
Terry Sanford Inauguration, part 3, 1970 October 18
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0075
Spiro Agnew at Reynolds Coliseum, 1970 October 27
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0076
Spiro Agnew at Reynolds Coliseum, 1970 October 27
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0077
Terry Sanford, Baldwin Auditorium, part 1, 1970 November 7
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0078
Terry Sanford, Baldwin Auditorium, part 2, 1970 November 7
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0079
Mayday Coverage, Washington, DC, Tape #1, 1971 May 1-1971 May 2
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0080
Mayday Coverage, Washington, DC, Tape #2, 1971 May 3
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0081
Mayday Coverage, Washington, DC, Tape #3, 1971 May 4
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0082
City Council Reports, 1971 June 21
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0083
Pan-Africa USA Track, 1971 July 17
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0085
City Council Reports; Pan-African Track Meet, 1971 July 18
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0084
Julian Bond in Baldwin Auditorium, 1971 September 12
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0086
Julian Bond in Baldwin Auditorium, 1971 September 12
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0087
Senator Birch Bayh: Page Auditorium, 1971 September 22
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0088
Terry Sanford: Southern Regional Growth Board Keynote Address, 1971 October 3
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0089
Senator Fred Harris: Page Auditorium, 1971 October 18
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0090
William Kunstler: Page Auditorium, part 1, 1972 January 20
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0091
William Kunstler: Page Auditorium, part 2, 1972 January 20
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0092
Floyd McKissick: Gross Chemistry Building, 1972 February 16
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0093
Richard Kleindienst: Gross Chemistry Building, 1972 April 11
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0094
North Carolina Primary Election, 1972 May 6
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0095
Presidential Candidate Terry Sanford, Primary Night Statement, 1972 May 6
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0096
Republican National Convention, 1972 August 19-1972 August 21
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0097
Republican National Convention, 1972 August 22
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0098
Louis Redden, 1972 August 23
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0099
Louis Redden, 1972 August 23
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0100
Nixon: Vietnam Peace, 1973 January 23
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0101
Folk Festival, undated
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0102
Folk Festival: 2nd Nite, undated
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0103
Folk Festival: Workshop, undated
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0104
Friends of Library, undated
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0105
Vigil #1, 1968 April 5
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0018
Vigil #2, 1968 April 5
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0019
Vigil #4, 1968 April
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0020
Vigil #5, 1968 April 6
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0021
Vigil #7, 1968 April 7
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0022
Vigil #8, 1968 April 7
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0023
Vigil #10, 1968 April 8
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0024
Vigil #11, 1968 April 10
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0025
Vigil #12, 1968 April 10
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0026
Vigil: Baez, 1968 April
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0027
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #1, 1969 February 13
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0028
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #2, 1969 February 13
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0029
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #3, 1969 February
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0030
Page Meeting, part 1: Tape #4, 1969 February 13
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0031
Page Meeting, part 2: Tape #5, 1969 February 13
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0032
Dick Gregory Visit, Allen Building Takeover: Tape #6, 1969 February 10, 1969 February 17
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0033
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #7, 1969 February 13-1969 February 16
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0034
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #8, 1969 February 15
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0035
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #9, 1969 February 15, 1970 January 21
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0036
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #10, 1969 February 15
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0037
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #11, 1969 February 15
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0038
Convocation at Page following Allen Bldg. takeover: Tape #12, 1969 February 15
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0039
Convocation at Page Auditorium, part 2: Tape #13, 1969 February 15
Box 5
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0040
WDBS News: Tape #14, 1969 February-1969 March
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0041
Dr. Knight's Speech: Tape #15, 1969 February 16
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0042
Page Meetings, 2:30 p.m., part 1: Tape #16, 1969 February 16
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0043
Page Meetings, 2:30 p.m., part 3: Tape #17, 1969 February 16
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0044
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #18, 1969 March 12
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0045
Allen Building Crisis: Tape #19, 1969 February
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0046
Fuller and Afros at Baldwin [Howard Fuller and African-American Students at Baldwin Auditorium], part 1, 1969 March 5
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0047
Fuller and Afros at Baldwin [Howard Fuller and African-American Students at Baldwin Auditorium], part 2, 1969 March 5
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0048
Actualities Downtown, 1969 March 11
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0049
Racial Unrest in Durham, 1969 March
Box 6
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0050
Fleischer: Organ Recital, 1956 February 5
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0106
Sound Board: Master #1, 1956 Dec. 2
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0107
Sound Board: Master #2, 1966 Dec. 2
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0108
Duke Concert Band, part 1, 1967 April 14
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0109
Duke Concert Band, part 2, 1967 April 14
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0110
Senior Recital, part 1, 1967 April 17
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0111
Senior Recital, part 2, 1967 April 17
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0112
Men's Glee Club: Baldwin Auditorium, Session 2, 1967 April
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0113
Men's Glee Club: Baldwin Auditorium, Session 3, 1967 April
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0114
Men's Glee Club: Baldwin Auditorium, Session 4, 1967 April
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0115
Duke Symphony Student Soloists, 1967 May 12
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0116
Duke Symphony Student Soloists, 1967 May 12
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0117
Duke Concert Band, 1967 Dec. 8
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0118
Women's and Men's Glee Club, 1968 April 18
Box 7
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0120
Chapel Choir, 1968 March 17
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0119
Introduction Philharmonic Orchestra: Allan Bone, undated
Box 8
Audio-reel UA31120005-RR-0121
 

Historical Note

WDBS was Duke University's campus radio station from 1950-1983. It initially broadcast on AM by carrier current, a system in which radio signals were fed into the university's electrical system. In 1971, WDBS began broadcasting on FM 107.1 as a commercial, non-profit station. AM broadcasts ceased in the early 1970s. WDBS was sold in 1983 to repay debts the station owed Duke University.

In 1947, three classmates from Rocky Mount, NC started a carrier current station called WCDC (for "We cover Duke campus".) They were persuaded to make their station an official university activity, and in 1950, WDBS began broadcasting from the basement of the Gray Building. In 1963, WDBS moved to the Bivins Building on East Campus.

In addition to music, the station presented campus news, national news, Duke athletics, and coverage of special events, including the 1968 Vigil after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the 1969 Allen Building takeover, and anti-Viet Nam War activities.

In 1971, WDBS purchased its FM license from Durham's WSRC. AM broadcasts continued for a time but ceased soon thereafter. Although owned by Duke, WDBS-FM operated independently as a commercial but non-profit entity. Initially run by students, by 1975 it was primarily staffed by professionals. The station was known for its extensive record collection, free form rock programming, and coverage of local events.

The purchase of the FM license, made possible by a long term loan from the university that was to be repaid from advertising revenue, put the station into debt from which it never recovered. Talk of selling the station's license, in order to pay back the debt to the university, began in the mid-to-late 70s.

In May 1978, WDBS agreed to sell its license to Village Broadcasting of Chapel Hill, pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission. Durham residents opposed to the sale petitioned the FCC to stop the license transfer. In October 1979, the Board of Directors of WDBS withdrew from the sale, citing the lack of approval from the FCC.

In 1980, the station moved from Bivins to Broad Street. In an attempt to increase listenership, WDBS changed its format from rock to classical during the day and jazz at night. In August 1982, WDBS agreed to sell to Classic Ventures, Ltd., pending approval by the FCC. The sale was approved in April 1983 and WDBS became an easy listening station. In 1984, it became WXFC.

There are some connections between WDBS and the later FM station, WXDU. In 1974, the unused AM carrier current system was revived as WDUR, playing Top-40, rock, and jazz. In 1977, WDUR became WDUK after a local commercial station petitioned the FCC for the call letters WDUR. In 1977, when the sale of WDBS was being considered, WDUK staffers proposed that students take over and operate WDBS. This proposal was eventually rejected. When WDBS moved off campus in 1980, WDUK moved into its former studios. In 1983, WDUK began broadcasting on FM as WXDU.

Related Material

Joseph C. Wetherby Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Vice President for Business and Finance Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Celester Wesson Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The WDBS Collection was received by the University Archives as transfers and gifts in 1969, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1981, 1996, accession numbers UA69-55, UA72-55, UA72-78, UA74-25, UA74-187, UA79-95, UA81-71, UA96-95.

Processing Information

Processed by Dean Jeffrey

Completed Dec. 2, 2005

Encoded by Dean Jeffrey, Dec. 9, 2005

Other Notes

WDBS: Blue Devil Network, Duke University Alumni Register 36: Oct. 1950, pp. 239-241. Jeff Miller, Remembering WDBS: The Campus Radio Station of Duke University (1950-1983), http://geocities.com/wdbs560/