Drexel University’s WKDU 91.7 FM is still celebrating its 50th anniversary. The party continues this weekend with the station’s ode to all music electronic, the Electronic Music Marathon.
It’s surreal to realize that Drexel University’s student-run, free-format radio station, WKDU-FM 91.7 FM, is still in the throes of celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since July of 2021, the currently 800-watt non-commercial station has been touting its origins as “just 10 watts on the FM dial from high atop Van Rensselaer Hall,” and proudly devoting its on-air history lessons to how WKDU started as, and has remained “a prominent source of diverse programming that seeks to provide a platform to artists and community members that would otherwise be left unheard.”
For me, for as long as I can remember, that meant lo-lo-fi punk, hardcore and emo pop – everything from Fugazi out of D.C. to Modern Baseball from Philly – as well as Kevin Rice and company’s The Black Experience regular program covering all-brands of African-American music. It meant gathering up all sorts of local artists for July’s release of a WKDU & Friends: A 50th Anniversary Compilation cassette with bands such as Nothing and Mannequin Pussy.
One thing that didn’t get touted much was WKDU’s long history with multi-genre electronic music and local DJ culture, something that is rectified this week with the 17th iteration of WKDU’s Electronic Music Marathon. Running from October 8 at noon until October 11 at midnight, the marathon’s broadcasts stem from live and programmed events across Philly with all of its monies raised (the EMM is a donations-focused festival) going to West Philly’s Paul Robeson House, The Coalition for Black Trans Economic Liberation, and The Block Gives Back.
Beyond the well-deserved charities, however, ‘KDU’s Electronic Music Marathon, started by students back in 1997, has proudly celebrated the weirdest and most inventive of Philly’s outre music makers. Whether it is Dave P or the late Charles Cohen, the station and its EMM fest made the imaginary spheres of all electronic music, real.
The secret location late night bash with DJ Sega and friends, on October 9, can be found HERE.