In 2009, the station faced state-budget cutbacks and reorganized its staff. (Isothermal Community College in Spindale owns the WNCW license.) At the time, it was one of three community college radio stations receiving state funding. WNCW bounced back and last year celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Kendrick, whose on-air personality matches his in-person vibe – friendly and easy-going – studied journalism at UNC Chapel Hill and took to the microphone at the college’s beloved WXYC campus station. At WNCW, he cut his teeth first as a volunteer, then programmed the station’s overnight hours before moving to morning show host in 2006 and midday host in 2008. Kendrick hosted his first WNCW show in October 1991, then ended up moving to Wilmington, N.C. He returned to the station in October 1995, and has been with the station since.
In a recent interview, Kendrick told me he’s excited about the opportunity to meet even more of a personal stamp on the station he loves, one that he calls a gem.
The job “has been my professional dream. It’s a huge honor, and kind of scary to think about, at the same time. But I’m up for it,” Kendrick said.
WNCW’s music “is an eclectic mix, an approach that goes deep and strives to be knowledgeable and represent the region and the community and the music from our own back yard,” Kendrick said. That core formula won’t change he said.
One big task that Kendrick plans to tackle is moving the station’s music into a digital database. “That’s not to say we will be computerized. It’s just that the days of playing CDs on the radio are more or less numbered,” he said.
Kendrick, who has blogged and experimented with video content, said he’ll continue to explore. “I love media in general, and I love collaborating. I have an idea to make us a little bit more dynamic by using some of the tools we have and don’t do much with, like our YouTube channel and our social media, just incorporate that more,” he said. “I think we can do things to make more content, and partner and share content.”
Beyond that, Kendrick said he’s looking forward to doing whatever he can to expand WNCW’s audience, a listenership that he estimates at about 100,000.
“There’s a whole generation that looks at radio as sort of a black-and-white movie, as something quaint. We have to meet them where they are,” he said. It’s a long wish list, Kendrick said, but one that he’s looking forward to taking on.