The vibe is that of a low-key clubhouse.
A number of employees talk about growing up with the station and say that working there is a dream come true. Kyle Hofmeister, one of the DJs, grew up near Columbus but spent his college years in Florida.
"One of the big things about leaving town was I realized how much I missed this particular radio station," he says.
"We have kids who tell us, 'I grew up listening to you,' and now they've started a band, and now their goal is to get on the 'Top 5 at 5,' " Malloy says. "They're excited, and that excites us."
On a recent Tuesday morning, the DJs and interns pour into Lesley James' narrow office for their weekly music meeting -- a kind of rate-a-record free-for-all for new releases.
That one-hour guest DJ whom Andyman hired without seeing her resume is now the station's program director -- taking over after Davis died.
The music meeting is open to pretty much any staffer. As in Andyman's day, anything is fair game; record labels drop off new records all the time, but if a listener records a song in his dorm room and sends over the MP3, the gang will give it a go.
Tom Butler, the evening-drive DJ who shares an office with James, pops in record after record: the Dirty Projectors, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Grizzly Bear.
A new cut by the French turntablists C2C earns wildly different reviews: "It's innovative ... if that's what you're going to call it," says one staffer. Johnny Marr, the former Smiths guitarist, fares better with his latest.
Through it all, James scans Facebook, goes over playlists and takes notes. She lets the group offer their take and then she offers her opinion with a firm politeness that suggests she can hear whether the song fits with the station's overall feel.
Which is not to say that CD102.5 doesn't experiment. Its playlist includes more than 40 slots for new releases -- a huge number in the play-it-safe world of commercial radio. And James is aggressive: When the new David Bowie single was released, she didn't wait for a handout but paid the buck to download it from iTunes. It's not an unusual occurrence.
"We're a new music station," she says. "We love to break bands."
Among the groups that have used WWCD as a launching pad have been the Lumineers, Fitz and the Tantrums, the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons.
WWCD also likes to support the local community -- a connection that goes both ways, Malloy says. CD102.5 has been voted the city's best radio station in a local poll for almost two decades straight.
"We believe we make the city better," Malloy says.
The station offers "stress breaks," handing out treats from its ice-cream truck, maintains a "Green Team" beautification squad, participates in arts festivals and still engages with residents through the Andyman-a-Thon.
Jami Goldstein, vice president of marketing for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, says the station goes above and beyond.
"Other stations do provide promotional support but don't go the distance like CD102.5 does," she says.
"For a community to be truly vibrant culturally, you need to have really good institutions, access to great events and support for individual artists. The great thing about 102.5 is they help in all three areas."
Talent and technology
"So get off the wall, become involved All your radio problems have now been solved My treacherous beats make ya ears respond And my radio's loud like a fire alarm ..." -- LL Cool J, "I Can't Live Without My Radio"
Does anyone dream of owning a radio station anymore?
When I was in my teens and early 20s, my friends and I would fantasize about winning the lottery and buying a crappy AM signal. (An FM signal would be fine, too, but we figured it would be too expensive.)
Our model was a cross between the AM greats and the free-form FM stations, in which the DJs would be energetic, fun and a little off-color, and the music would be a mix of ... well, whatever tickled our fancy. It would be exciting, it would be rhythmic and fluid and honest, and we'd always tell listeners the names of the songs and artists they'd just heard.
If I were in college today, would I even dream of working at a radio station -- much less owning one?