WDCB (90.9 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a public radio and jazz format. Licensed to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, USA, the station serves the Chicago area. The station is owned by College of DuPage, District 502 and features programming from AP Radio and Public Radio International. The station is also broadcast on HD radio.
WDCB 90.9 FM was founded as a 5,000-watt station in late 1977, and its original format was a mix of classical, educational, and news programming. Jazz programming was introduced in the early 1980s and became the primary format by the end of the decade. Since then, WDCB's format has expanded to include blues, roots rock, bluegrass, Celtic, folk, new-age, Afro-Cuban jazz, big band, and old-time radio shows, though straight-ahead jazz makes up about 80% of its music programming. The educational programming was dropped in 2001, and classical music continued to be heard on the station on weekends until late 2005. In recent years, some of the more eclectic and niche programming has been phased out for a stronger emphasis on jazz and blues.
As the result of a 2016 agreement with Chicago Public Media, WDCB's programming is now also heard throughout much of Chicago on WRTE 90.7 FM, from a low power 6-watt signal located on Chicago's near-west side. While WDCB's primary 90.9 FM signal does reach all of Chicago, the 90.7 FM signal offers better reception for many WDCB listeners on the west side of Chicago, as well as Chicago's near-north and near-south side neighborhoods.
Unlike most college-based stations, WDCB-FM is not student-operated, but rather very much professional in design and output. COD students, however, do work in a variety of roles at WDCB's offices during the week.
The station manager of WDCB is Dan Bindert. The music director is Paul Abella. The title of programming director is vacant, following the retirement of longtime manager Mary Patricia Larue in 2013. Brian D. O'Keefe is the news director.
WDCB's stable of on-air personalities include Bruce Oscar, Barry Winograd, Paul Abella, and John "British-American Buddy" Burnett, all of whom are prominent Chicago-based jazz musicians. The daily lineup of Abella (mornings), Winograd (middays), and Oscar (afternoons) has been intact since 2015; the previous lineup of Burnett (mornings), Winograd, and Oscar had been intact for 14 years. WDCB's extensive blues lineup includes a 10-hour block of blues every Saturday night, led off each week by popular Chicago blues and rock radio veteran Tom Marker, who began hosting on WDCB in 2015. WDCB is also the home of Those Were The Days, the long-running old-time radio program that used to be hosted by Chuck Schaden.On July 4, 2009, Steve Darnall took over as the second host of the show. Local celebrity Wayne Messmer also hosts a vocal jazz show on Sunday nights.