Some time very soon, Delaware’s first public radio station will hit the airwaves and Internet. WDDE-FM 91.1 will broadcast statewide from a studio on the campus of Delaware State University in Dover.
The station, a collaboration of Delaware First Media, DelState and the University of Delaware, is owned by DFM, a nonprofit that operates DFM News, an online local news service. WDDE will offer a strong Delaware news presence as well as talk, says Micheline Boudreau, DFM’s president.
“We consider ourselves to be filling a void and taking our place within the journalism community,” Boudreau says. “We’re non-partisan. It’s all part of a healthy journalism ecosystem.”
Followers of local media will recognize some of the journalists involved, including news director Tom Byrne, Boudreau, Nancy Karibjanian, Ann Ahl and Susan Swan.
The team will also include Liane Hansen, a 22-year host of National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” Hansen retired from NPR in 2011 and moved to Bethany Beach.
“We plan for Liane to have an on-air role,” says Boudreau, who called Hansen to tell her about the station. “We just wanted her to know. She was so excited and she immediately signed on. She got involved at a very core level.”
WDDE reports will be broadcast on NPR stations across the country. That means Delaware news will be available to more than 26 million listeners. Like other public undertakings, WDDE will depend on people to make donations.
“This is a member-supported venture,” Boudreau says. “This is a giant leap of faith that people in Delaware will support this. It has to be listener supported. That is the model.” —Drew Ostroski