From left: Wagner Previato, Frank Petrone, Shamus McGroggan, Arlene Clendenning, Neil Hever and Alison DelRe pose in one of the studio rooms of Lehigh Valley’s local NPR radio station, WDIY. It has been one year since WDIY underwent a major power increase that has allowed it to be broadcast all over the Lehigh Valley and beyond. (Alek Mosholt/B&W Staff)

Lehigh Valley radio station celebrates one year of its largest broadcast reach


Editor’s note: This article was updated Dec. 5 to correct inaccurate information.

It’s almost been one year since WDIY gained the ability to reach 135,000 additional people and cover 350 more square miles, the most significant growth in the station’s history.

The power increase has allowed the station to reach three times its prior range of signal strength across the Lehigh Valley and beyond. WDIY relies on listener donations as well as other organizations to help fund the station. Their December pledge drive is one of its largest fundraising efforts.

“The big thing for us is the fact that it’s 21 years for us in the Lehigh Valley and this December marks one year since tripling the strength of the broadcast,” McGoggan said. “This is something that many people at WDIY have wanted to do for a very a long time. It’s very rewarding to us.”

Jamie Campisi, ’17, is an intern at the station this semester and has had the opportunity to see the progress WDIY has made.

“Because the station is an NPR station, we’re able to broadcast a lot of national programming,” Campisi said. “We have our own local public affairs, there’s all different kinds of musical shows too, from jazz to folk to classic, really to suit all kinds of tastes.”

Campisi said the station also broadcasts national talk shows as well as segments specifically run for WDIY.

Executive director Wagner Previato said the station is happy to reach the whole Lehigh Valley from the power increase.

“The whole month of December we are obviously talking about it and reminding people of the increase and will be mentioning it on the air,” he said.

Shamus McGroggan, the membership and development manager for the station, said fundraisers are an opportunity to go directly to listeners for support of the station.

“One of the reasons why I like the station so much,” McGroggan said, “is the people out there who listen to the service support it and December is one of the opportunities we have for that member support.”

Previato said the growth of the station only perpetuates itself. He said as the station’s reach grows, it is able to reach more listeners, in turn growing the pool of donors.

Campisi said the three pledge drives the station does throughout the year are crucial for WDIY. As a non-profit, this allows the station to remain on air throughout the year and continue to serve the Lehigh Valley.

During the December pledge drive, members of the station and different volunteers interrupt regular programming to go on air and talk about what membership means and directly ask listeners to pledge their support.

The December drive was started in 2013 and has been successful for the last four years. The station partners with a non-profit each year to support their fundraising efforts and gain exposure to how they serve the Lehigh Valley.

The station partners with Meals on Wheels, an organization that helps elderly and disabled people through nutrition and support services, each year

The process begins with people making a donation to the station. Then a third party makes a donation that matches a certain number of meals to Meals on Wheels.

When a member makes a donation to the station all of the member’s money stays at the station. Ward’s Oriental Rugs, a Lehigh Valley rug supplier, matches the member’s donation to Meals on Wheels, which in return provides extra funding, so they can provide more meals during the holidays.

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