WDUQ 90.5 FM

TASK: Appropriately celebrate the 60th anniversary of Pittsburgh's jazz and news station.

CHALLENGE: The station had recently been put up for sale, but we still wanted to discretely mark this significant event, without drawing too much attention to the behind-the-scenes instability.

SOLUTION: Use existing partnerships and the increased media scrutiny to get the station's story out, and ensure that the focus is on the past and not the future.

When WDUQ 90.5 FM celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2009, it did so as Pittsburgh's most-listened to public radio station. With a weekly audience of about 190,000 individuals, annual donations from more than 14,000 members, and important partnerships with cultural and civic organizations, it had come a long way from being just a college radio station. Unfortunately, the university that had held the station's license since its inception decided to sell the license, thereby putting the future of the station in doubt.

As DUQ's Marketing and Communication Director, I had spent several years talking to listeners, parsing listenership data, working along side many community groups and organizations, exploring DUQ's rich history, and, ultimately, helping build DUQ's story. I understood the necessity of recognizing the anniversary at a crucial time, but wanted to do so without prohibitive cost or negative attention at the station's predicament.

Logoed merchandise is an important part of any radio station, and I worked with our design firm to create a special anniversary logo that went on many of our pledge premiums (such as the travel mug atop this page). Also, I created a special 60th anniversary flyer to tell the WDUQ story. Since I had earlier replaced the station's print program guide with an e-mail version, we were lacking a good "take away" piece for distribution at the many DUQ sponsored events around town. This flyer suited nicely.


As a side note, all during DUQ's final year, the staff maintained the highest professionalism in never letting the behind-the-scenes uncertainty affect the on-air sound. As the Director of Communication, I made it an imperative to stay optimistic in all media interviews and station communications. (Click the image for a .pdf of our final station newsletter.)