Cavalier Radio moves from shared FM to 24-hour streaming

By Victoria Giordano
September 16, 2022

Matthew Rutherford hard at work for Cavalier Radio. Photo taken by Victoria Emmitt
Matthew Rutherford hard at work for Cavalier Radio. Photo taken by Victoria Emmitt

Cavalier Radio has joined the streaming era. On Aug. 24, Communication department chair Dr. Dawn Francis announced the station’s departure from an FCC license timeshare with Villanova University. 

In the 1980s, Cavalier Radio was only available via a connection from telephone wires to on-campus dorms. In 1991, Cabrini and Villanova began a timeshare partnership to split their times on the FM dial. 

Jillian Smith, associate director of student media, said Cabrini was 89.1 WYBF, while Villanova was 89.1 WXVU. 

Matthew Rutherford at work as station operations manager. Photo by Sydnee Reddy.

“For Cabrini, WYBF was on air Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and half of Sunday. The times that we weren’t on air, that’s when Villanova was on air.” 

Smith said as of this past summer, Cabrini has “ceased this timeshare.” 

“Villanova will take over the FCC license and be on air seven days a week,” Smith said. “We will continue to stream online as our sole focus, so Cavalier Radio will now be an internet-only station.”

Right time for change

Francis was a disc jockey and news director on the station. She said coming back as a professor meant a lot to her because she could help students be successful in the program. 

“I’m excited about what’s happening now for the switch because I know that younger audiences are not listening to terrestrial radio anymore,” Francis said. “They’re listening more to streaming media and podcasts. It seemed to me to be the right time to make this move and we’re excited about it.”

Smith said that students will be job ready by the time they graduate and are in the real world ready to be working in the field they choose. 

“Cabrini decided that in order for our students to be ready for digital audio, podcasting, and other technologies that are coming down the road, our best [bet] is to focus our efforts teaching those skill sets,” Smith said.  

“We have a 95 percent job-placement rate for our students after graduation,” Francis said. “That is not by accident, it’s by design.”

Matt Rutherford, senior communication major, agreed that by ending the FCC license and timeshare with Villanova, Cabrini communication students would be able to expand their learning and grow as media students. 

Opportunities for all

Cavalier Radio can now make a huge impact on the Cabrini community by allowing others to make their voices heard.

“I feel like it opens more doors and gives us more opportunities than we had before,” Rutherford said. “With the FCC license, we’ve had to abide by the rules that they’ve put into place. It frees up a lot of the government-set restrictions.” 

Rutherford explained that simply saying “Super Bowl” was restricted due to the event’s license, the NFL, and the trademarks. If those two words were spoken on air, Cavalier Radio would receive a fine. 

“Now, it’s something we can say and not have to worry about it,” Rutherford said. “That ceiling that we had to worry about is raised up.” 

Matthew Rutherford continues to work hard. Photo by Sydnee Reddy.

Streaming opens the door for all students who are non-communication majors to join Cavalier Radio. 

“Before, you had to take a pre-requirement to join Cavalier Radio. We’ve since removed that pre-requirement, so now this opens the door for more students who have an interest in music or radio to join,” Smith said. 

“I’m just really excited for the opportunity to go through and start a whole new era,” Rutherford said. 

Francis concurs. “Just as I was a part of Cabrini’s switch to FM in the early ’90s, the new era is theirs.” 

If you are interested in joining Cavalier Radio, contact Jillian Smith at CavalierRadio@gmail.com

Victoria Giordano

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