HISTORY

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WZRD is Northeastern Illinois University’s radio station. It is a 100 watt noncommercial FM radio station that broadcasts primarily to Chicago’s north side and northern suburbs. Our signal has reached listeners as far as Cicero, Hoffman Estates, and Chicago’s far south side.

Our reputation as a source of alternative entertainment is the result of years of work by hardworking, creative, and technically resourceful students. In 1971, WRNE (Radio Northeastern) was chartered as a radio club that broadcasts in a carrier current capacity within the school only. This original group of students worked to obtain an actual broadcast license from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC granted a 10 watt FM non—commercial license and assigned the call letters “WZRD” in 1974.

Founding Wizards securing the antenna in 1974.
Founding Wizards securing the antenna in 1974.

In 1979 WZRD, along with a consortium of other 10 watt Chicago college and high school stations, began applying for a power increase to 100 watts. This power increase was granted in 1984. If you scan the radio dial in Chicago, you will find that WZRD has its own distinct sound. This is no accident. We consider ourselves responsible for providing a truly unique radio experience for the listening community. In order for WZRD to provide a meaningful community service, we must present programming that offers a different perspective from that found elsewhere in the mainstream media. There are more powerful stations that offer the listener rock music, “talk” radio, and a quick glance at news headlines. As a noncommercial station, WZRD has the choice of examining obscure or complex subjects that are ignored elsewhere.

Spinning Indie, 2013 WZRD Field Trip

Pacifica Network, 2014 http://pacificanetwork.org/pacifica-congratulates-wzrd-40-years-of-freeform-college-radio/

Chicago Tribune, 2014 Nelson Algren Award

BestColleges.com 2016 Best College Radio Stations http://www.bestcolleges.com/features/best-college-radio-stations/

Tune in to Chicago's unique freeform radio station at 88.3FM on your radio dial, on the Tune In App, or simply click on the Live Stream to hear WZRD from anywhere.