Note: A more comprehensive station history can be found on the WWUH Radio History site with hundreds of photos!
compiled by John Ramsey, General Manager/Chief Engineer
Suggestions, corrections, and submissions are welcomed.
Contact: John Ramsey, WWUH
Fax 860-768-5701 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also of interest: A new, extremely interesting time line / history of CT Radio:
"TIME LINE FOR CONNECTICUT BROADCASTING"
Foreword: Why would anyone bother to create a written history of WWUH? Those who have volunteered at this truly unique station will understand the answer to this question. WWUH is, and hopefully always will be, more than just a station. Many of the thousands of folks who have volunteered at the station over the years know what I am talking about, and it is because of this that many consider themselves part of the “WWUH Family”.
Over the years, I have been saving old documents for the future. I never thought of attempting to write a historical document until I was putting together the station’s photo albums in preparation for the 30th anniversary in 1998. In going through the hundreds of pages, it came as a pleasant surprise that I was able to identify a significant number of the unlabeled photographs. It then hit me that, due to my “longevity” at the station, I had “saved” in my mind, bits and pieces of the station’s history that no one else might have. It was a wonderful legacy, but one that ultimately would do no good unless I started writing down my recollections. I welcome any corrections or suggestions.
The Early Years
Many of us affectionately call Clark Smidt (University of Hartford's Class of ’69) the “Father of WWUH". His ideas, dedication, and leadership made WWUH a reality and shaped its policies for many years to come. As one of the largest college radio stations of its time: the first in New England to broadcast in stereo, and one of the first to broadcast 24-hours a day. WWUH went on to become more than a college radio station, serving the greater Hartford area, coining the term Public Alternative Radio years before 'Public Radio' existed, and launching successful careers of many who crossed its path. WWUH continues today to offer the community different types of music, from classics to soul, in a noncommercial environment, to provide the University of Hartford a voice, and to act as a training ground for future broadcasters.
When Clark first developed the idea of starting a radio station at the University of Hartford, his love of - and commitment to - radio was already apparent with his part-time job at WBIS, a small AM station in Bristol, CT. Years later Clark would work as Program Director of WEEI and WBZ-FM, both in Boston, before starting his own broadcast consulting firm and later becoming licensee of WNNR-FM in Concord, NH, which, like WWUH, he started from scratch.
Here (with thanks to Bob Paiva’s "The Program Director's Handbook") is the story of WWUH in Clark’s own words:
"From day one of freshman orientation I started to ask about a radio station. I was told that people had thought about it before but that nobody had ever followed through. There was an open frequency at 91.3, and WTIC in Hartford had even agreed to donate a 1,000-watt FM transmitter and $2,000. I ran all over the school drumming up support for the project, and at the close of my freshman year, I was given the go-ahead to put together the University of Hartford radio station. I was still doing weekends at WBIS in Bristol, so I was considered a 'professional' and appointed the station’s general manager with responsibilities for the station’s programming."
"Support from the University community came from many sources: the Operations Department helped with the technical setup, engineering students were involved with station’s technical operations, and various professors contributed programming material. The late William Teso, a professor at the engineering school, and Harold Dorschug, Chief Engineer at WTIC, was instrumental in properly completing the technical part of the FCC application and training the students."
"It took nine months to get the application through the FCC and on July 15, 1968, we signed-on the station with 1800 watts of effective radiated power and the call letters: WWUH. It was later pointed out that once you mastered saying WWUH, you could work anywhere."
"Although we couldn't accept paid commercials, we got a few donations and pulled some fast deals for acknowledged donations. We convinced Lipman Motors to lease a 1967 Rambler station wagon to the station for $1 a year for use as a news car. We announced on-air that the news was compiled through United Press International wire services and the 'mobile team in the Lipman Motors UH news wagon.' The white vehicle with red WWUH NEWS lettering and license plates, equipped with lights on top, was stolen only months later."
"Prior to 1968, Louis K. Roth, a generous Regent of the University, had told the President of the University of Hartford that he would finance the radio station. Mr. Roth passed away before we got things rolling, but his family still came to us with a check for $40,000. While serious consideration was given to changing the station’s call letters to WLKR, we instead renamed the radio station the Lewis K. Roth Memorial radio station, and by the time I graduated in 1970, we'd built a complete stereo radio station and still had $14,000 of Mr. Roth's grant left."
"In the beginning, we were on the air from 6:00pm to 1:30am. We had an "easy listening" program for 45 minutes, 15 minutes of news, and a feature called, "Hartford Tonight," where we recapped things that were happening around town. We programmed information from 7-7:30, jazz from 7:30 to 10, and progressive rock from 10pm through sign-off. We ran opera on Sunday when we started broadcasting on weekends."
"For the first three weeks I had to run the control board for every show in order to train people, but within a year we were broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The response from the community was tremendous.”
Robert Skinner was the station’s first engineer, and is credited by Clark with “making it all happen, from putting up the walls to filling out the FCC applications to installing the wiring and the transmitter. It would not have happened without Bob’s expertise. He practically lived at the station the first year”.
Headlines that first year: India suffers the worst famine in 20 years;
President Lyndon Baines Johnson asks for $1 billion in aid to the country; Medicare begins (July 1); Supreme Court decides Miranda v. Arizona, protecting rights of the accused.
1967 The University of Hartford filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington for a new educational station in West Hartford, CT, and requested the call letters WWUH. The construction permit arrived in October from the FCC, giving official approval to start building the station. If the students built the station as promised, the FCC would grant them a license to operate.
As construction began and plans were finalized, WWUH took over rooms 328 and 330 of the Gengras Student Union, rooms originally allocated for the campus barbershop and valet. The layout of the station's facilities on the top floor of the Gengras Student Union was extensive for college radio. Room 330 was subdivided into four rooms and consisted of an on-air studio (approximately 8’ x 12’), a single small AM studio (approximately 6’ x 6’), and a small passageway which contained the large RCA transmitter and associated equipment. An entranceway /news room containing the teletype/ Room 328 became a production studio. The station office was a few doors down the hall. Soundproof walls were built around the studios proper. Later, an engineering shop was added on the first floor.
Major headlines in 1967: Israeli and Arab forces battle; Six-Day War ends with Israel occupying Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and West Bank (June 5).; Communist China announces explosion of its first hydrogen bomb (June 17); racial violence in Detroit; 7,000 National Guardsmen aid police after night of rioting. Similar outbreaks in New York City's Spanish Harlem, Rochester, N.Y., Birmingham, Ala., and New Britain, Conn. (July 23).Thurgood Marshall sworn in as first black US Supreme Court justice (Oct. 2); astronauts Col. Virgil I. Grissom, Col. Edward White II, and Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee killed in fire during test launch (Jan. 27).killed in fire during test launch (Jan. 27).
1968 As the engineering department continued with studio construction and transmitter installation through the first half of 1968, other members of the management team were busy recruiting announcers. WWUH alumnus Charles Horwitz (’70) recalled:
“I clearly remember sweating the audition to be on the air (little did I know that the station was so desperate for bodies that absolutely everyone passed the audition except for the most grammatically challenged). The day I opened the mail and saw my FCC License was the start of a big change in my life. Because of my enthusiasm (and lack of any social life), I was assigned the Friday and Saturday late nighttime slots. These rock shows followed Mel Peppers (who used the name Maceo Woods on the air) and his Soul Experience. As soon as Midnight arrived and I started playing the loud stuff, the phones died and I could feel hundreds of radios being turned off simultaneously. I quickly learned to ease into the hard stuff by starting with a mix of blues, jazz and oldies. As Program Director you are occasionally forced into service when someone fails to show up for a show and one early evening classic slot stands out in my mind. I was trying to be the epitome of culture and taste among the rubble of the studios as they went renovation. My two best buddies, Stu Kaufman and John Labella conspired to disrupt the solemn tone of my show by inserting a duck call into the hole where the studio doorknob used to be. But when Stu let out a long blast that sounded more like a fart than a duck, I did the best I could to stifle my laughing, put on my best professional voice and said “excuse me” as my mother has taught me to do and continued on as if nothing had happened. After getting a record on the air I chased both of them down the hall and down the steps to the first floor."
On July 15, 1968, Western Union delivered a very important telegram to the station's offices on the third floor of the Gengras Student Union building. The telegram, from the Federal Communications Commission, authorized Program Test Authority for WWUH, giving the University of Hartford permission to turn on their new radio station.
The students who had worked so hard for three years wasted no time. At 4:05 PM that afternoon, after a short ceremony, they threw a switch and WWUH went on the air for the first time as The Voice of the University of Hartford. Family and friends of the people who had worked so hard to put the station together, who were tuned to 91.3 at that exact time, heard “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by “WWUH, West Hartford” spoken by Clark Schmidt. WWUH was born!
From day one, the station was committed to providing the greater Hartford area with professionally produced alternative programming that was not available on the commercial stations. The 1,800-watt signal was one of the strongest of any college station in New England, and WWUH made its debut as the first educational station in the seven-state region to broadcast in stereo. At sign-on, the station counted 701 albums in its collection.
The first daily schedule ran from 4 PM to 1 AM. Even with this abbreviated schedule, listeners started to take notice. Students produced news and public affairs programs with an emphasis placed on alternative news and progressive issues of concern to the immediate area were produced and aired. Many considered the community affairs programs provocative and even controversial, but people liked what they heard, and the University was very happy about the positive response they were getting about their new station. Early programming consisted of classical, folk and jazz music, with two newscasts a day. Progressive rock also appeared on the schedule, occupying the “graveyard shift,” which ran from midnight to 3 AM each night. It was called “The Gothic Blimp Works,” a program name that is still used today. WWUH's broadcast of progressive rock music preceded the start of WHCN, which calls itself "Hartford’s First Rock Station." The histories of WWUH and WHCN intertwine often, starting with the fact that many WWUH rock music programmers were responsible for changing WHCN's format from classical music to rock music.
The WWUH transmitter, affectionately known as “Mother,” was located in Room 330 of GSU, and the antenna sat atop a 90-foot tower also located at Gengras. The station started out broadcasting 100% of the time in stereo at a time when many of the "major" commercial station were still mono. The first transmitter was the RCA BTF-1, donated by WTIC where its 1,000 watts were fed in to a 3 bay Collins antenna. Even with the power of 1,800 watts, the antenna was so low compared to the surrounding terrain that the station covered only about a five-mile radius.
When school started that fall, students were treated to a concert by Jefferson Airplane in the Athletic Center.
WWUH was dedicated on November 20, 1968 to the memory of Louis K. Roth whose encouragement and generosity, and that of his family, helped make possible the creation, expansion and continued operation of WWUH. It was named "The Louis K. Roth Memorial Station" in a ceremony presided over by University Chancellor Woodruff. The plaque commemorating the dedication hung outside the air studio in the Gengras Student Union building for 21 years. In 1989, the plaque was temporarily removed for cleaning and then remounted outside the new air studio in the Gray Center.
Louis K. Roth (Portions of the following are from a publication entitled “Hartford Jews 1659 – 1970 by Rabbi Morris Silverman, c 1970, courtesy of The Connecticut Historical Society.) Born in 1896, Mr. Roth was educated at New York University and Columbia University. He began his career in 1924 as an independent distributor of radios. In 1935 he joined Radio Corporation, Victor Division as production manager of their electronic division. In 1944, he set up, with two partners, Radio and Appliance Distributors in Hartford. This firm eventually became one of the largest radio wholesalers in Connecticut. Mr. Roth was involved in many civic and community organizations. In addition to being a trustee of the Connecticut Opera Association, Mr. Roth was a trustee of the Julius Hart Musical Foundation here at the University of Hartford. He also served on various university committees and served on the Board of Regents of the University of Hartford from 1961 to 1967.
The Hartford Times, in a May 1967 editorial said:
“In the brief span of 23 years Louis K. Roth made an indelible mark on the civic, cultural and business life of this community. He was a man of diverse interests, unbounded energy and willingness to give uncounted hours to non-business activities in which he had a special interest.
“The list of the social and civic agencies with which he was identified in lengthy. They range from those formed to help needy persons to societies of a musical or other artistic or cultural nature.
“Mr. Roth took his community responsibilities seriously. He was generous with his money, time and counsel whenever the call came for assistance. Hartford will recall Louis Roth with the warmest recollection as a civic-minded citizen of the highest quality.”
Major headlines in 1968: North Vietnamese launch the Tet Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam War (Jan.-Feb.); American soldiers massacre 347 civilians at My Lai (March 16). Background: Vietnam War; President Johnson announces he will not seek or accept presidential nomination (March 31); Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. is slain in Memphis (April 4); Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is shot and critically wounded in Los Angeles hotel after winning California primary (June 5) -- he dies June 6. Background: Timeline of Kennedy tragedies.
Staff: Clark Smidt - General Manager; Neil Portnoy - Program Director; Ronnie Berger - Music Director. Special Advisor and Record Procurement: Dave Alper
In a January 9, 1969 memo to 'All Promotion Men and Record Distributors', Clark Smidt wrote:
"According to the October survey of the metro Hartford area by the American Research Bureau, WWUH-FM has an overall .6% of the total audience. And from 7 pm to midnight, we had 3.9% of the 18-24 crowd. I know it's not much but in October, WWUH was only three months old! Right now our schedule is as follows:
Monday - Friday
4-7pm Easy Listening
12:30pm Progressive Rock
7 am - 7pm Rock
10 pm Progressive Rock
11am Easy Listening
7 pm Talk
7:30 pm Opera
10:30 pm Progressive Rock
"As of February 10, the new WWUH will be on the air with a carefully prepared rock format (with Top 40, Oldies, Progressive and L.P. cuts) from 6am to 5pm daily, and again from 10pm to 2am. Although we will remain mostly a stereo station, MONO CUTS WILL BE USED in playing new hits and leaning on good sides that other stations with tighter play lists refuse to play. 5-10pm will be devoted to quality, stereo programming with the emphasis on news features, classics, talk features and jazz. I hope we can count on your for continued service in ALL areas, in Stereo when possible…but if you don't have it, please send mono so we have the record. Thanks very much."
Programming continued to expand as more and more students and faculty became aware of, and involved with, the station as volunteers. The number of listeners grew as well, as shown by the increasing number of calls and letters the radio station received. Live musical performances were a mainstay of the station's programming with many performances presented live or prerecorded live. Recording engineer, Bob Katz, was instrumental in making these live broadcasts sound technically superior.
Major headlines in 1969: Communist China exploded its first hydrogen bomb (June 17); the US and USSR proposed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Background: nuclear disarmament; racial violence in Detroit; 7,000 National Guardsmen aid police after night of rioting. Similar outbreaks in New York City's Spanish Harlem, Rochester, NY, Birmingham, Ala., and New Britain, Conn. (July 23); Thurgood Marshall sworn in as first black US Supreme Court justice (Oct. 2); Astronauts Col. Virgil I. Grissom, Col. Edward White II, and Lt. Cadre. Roger B. Chaffee killed in fire during test launch (Jan. 27).
With Clark Smidt graduating in May, the students at WWUH held elections for a new Executive Committee (ECOM) on April 15:
Ken Kalish - General Manager
William Crepeau - Station Manager
Charles Horwitz - Program Director
Philip Cabot - Business Manager
Charles Allen - Chief Engineer
John Eppler and Charles Prunier - members-at-large.
In April, Stuart Kaufman stepped down as Music Director and Ann Harte took over that demanding job.
There was much discussion about subscribing to an audio news service such as Mutual Network News. Mutual was available for free, but the station would have to pay for the line charges. The ECOM decided that if network news were to be carried, it would be scheduled so as not to interrupt Classical programming, or it would be run after midnight. Also, UPI would be dropped. The staff was evenly divided about whether carrying some type of national network news would fit in with the station's philosophy of airing local programming. Some thought that it was contrary to this philosophy, while other thought it added quite a bit of professionalism to the station's sound, and provided the listeners with important information.
The 1970/71 budget, discussed at an ECOM meeting in April, included discussions on whether the station should purchase a toll-free WATTS line, Network News, an Ampex reel-to-reel recorder and back issues of records that the library desperately needed. The group also made plans to move the station's transmitter to Avon Mountain, to a space provided WTIC. The engineering department also began construction on tape delays and speakerphones to facilitate putting phone calls from listeners on the air. Later that year, $5,000 of the Roth Grant money would be appropriated for an audio console for the FM studio, completion of the production board, and an EBS monitor.
In addition to operating the FM station, the staff continued to run WWUH-AM, which operated without an FCC license by broadcasting through the wiring in the dorms. Because WWUH-AM did not need a license, there were no restrictions as to the airing of commercials, and WWUH-AM started selling airtime to businesses that wanted to reach the student population. They money raised was to be used to help fund the FM station. A commission schedule was finalized by the ECOM where 15% went to sales people (with no other reimbursement for expenses), 5% for Sales Manager (limited to 10% if he sells the ad) and 2% for the business Manager.
An ECOM meeting in May 1970 centered on censorship and the responsibility of the station's management, versus the University as licensee. Staff members had aired "A Night at Santa Rita," which contained several obscene words and had be previously prohibited by ECOM vote for airplay. The record was eventually taken off the air in its second side of play, but an on-air discussion about censorship followed.
As a result, the ECOM pulled several questionable records from the library because of the sensibilities of both the audience and the university's administration. Caught between the concepts of providing first class, professional sounding programming and embracing the first amendment to its fullest, the ECOM felt secure in its decision as long as the University held the station's license.
Changes were made to the WWUH Constitution in 1970 to allow the station to receive funds from the Student Association, to allow for absentee ballots, and to provide for voting by proxy.
The ECOM was wary of its association with the Student Association as the SA had shown that they clearly didn't understand what was involved with running an FCC licensed FM broadcast station. If finally determined that the SA Could audit the station's financial records and could run the AM station, but they would have no control over the FM station. While the association with the SA Was a positive thing, it also prevented community volunteers from a direct voice in elections and other policy votes.
At this time, all on-air personnel needed to have a third class FCC with Broadcast Endorsement license if they were alone in the studio. The station held training sessions for this license quarterly, and students organized car pools to Boston and New York City for the exams.
Programming on WWUH-AM included the live broadcast of Student Association meetings (at the request of the S.A.) and football games from the athletic field.
In October of 1970, Brian Lord was voted in as Program Director at a special election, and discussion about whether to have a monthly Program Guide continued. One could be produced for $70, which included 1,000 but no photographs and the staff would do the formatting and typing. It was hoped that the cost would be underwritten by selling ads in the guide.
In December of 1970, the ECOM decided that the AM station could find personnel from outside of the student population. Plans were discussed to install 150 feet of Christmas lights and a peace symbol on the WWUH tower on Gengras for the holiday season.
The station spent $4000 for two Scully 280B 1/2 track reel-to-reel machines for use in production. This was nearly one-third of the station's total budget, but it was justified since these machines would allow the station to greatly expand its production department and facilitate the broadcast of pre-recorded concerts. These state-of-the-art machines, the "pride" of the station, remained in use until 1989.
Audio processing at this date consisted of a CBS Labs Audimax and Volumax. The transmitter was controlled by a custom extension-metering panel, on the over bridge above the air console. This panel was designed and built by station engineers and allowed all applicable transmitter readings to be taken while in the on-air studio, and allowed for filament and plate on/off switching and power adjustment.
The air studio equipment consisted of a 5-channel Sparta console, QRK turntables with Microtrack arms, two Spotmaster stereo cart decks and two Ampex 354 reel-to-reel machines. The announcer spoke into two AKG D-200 microphones connected for stereo, which meant that the listener would hear the announcers voice moving between their speakers as the DJ turned to one side or another while speaking.
WWUH-AM utilized transmitters in each of the five dorms. The WWUH AM studio was the small "booth" next to the air studio.
Major headlines in 1970: US troops invade Cambodia (May 1). Background: Vietnam War; four students at Kent State University in Ohio slain by National Guardsmen at demonstration protesting incursion into Cambodia (May 4).
WWUH election results from the February, 1971 election:
Ken Kalish - General Manager
John Michael - Station Manager
Brian Lord - Program Director
Philip Cobot - Business Manager
Charles Allen - Chief Engineer
Michael Joy - AM Sales
Sherman - Member-at-Large
Staff: Charles Allen, Philip Cabot, Michael Joy, Ken Kalish, Bob Katz, John Labella, Brian Lord, John Michael, Sherman Advisor: Chuck Wansley
WWUH alum Charlie Horwitz was Program Director during some of the time period ('69-71), and he submitted this recollection of one of his shows in the early seventies. "One of my favorite recollections was one I shared alone. It was the time when Hartford's connection to the sea and whales in particular was getting air airplay and local ink. In fact a local group had recorded a sea chant of sorts that we played and I think the station had done an interview with them. Their name escapes me. "Well one night, after my Gothic Blimp Works show, I was determined to incorporate that song into a PSA about Saving the Whales. I put in several hours to get 60 seconds of moderately coherent information and put the whole project to bed on a nice new cart. Leaving the Gengras Center just before dawn, I was struck by the sounds of whales whistling down the empty hallways. Now I know that it was just the wind whistling through the opened doors and not the voices of thankful whales but I checked those doors and there were all properly closed. So I went outside and meditated with the ghosts of those voices and have felt very in tune with their song ever since". "I had spent 3 years hanging around the station; watching it being built and seeing my friends go on the air. I almost auditioned for a folk music show, but got involved in the theater department and never followed up. I was supposed to graduate in June 1971, but had one more semester to go. As I always had a work-study job, I managed to get assigned to WWUH for the summer. I was there the Friday of Memorial Day weekend 1971 working on cataloging the classical library, all pre-computer of course. I'm not sure who came in, but I think it was Ken Kalish who asked me if I ever thought I could do a female, easy listening type of program. I said if I did a show it wouldn't be easy listening and he said, great, you go on in 15 minutes. YIKES! I learned the 5-channel Sparta board pretty quickly and since I had spent many hours hanging around, I had a sense of what was supposed to happen. Ken assured me (as there was NO ONE ELSE in the building at the time) that he would be there if I had any problems. SO off I go. My first song at 11:00 AM was Stage Fright by the Band. And except for forgetting to turn off the mike (but potting it down) and taking off my headphones and thinking I was sending dead air out when I wasn't, I did OK. UNTIL, about 25 minutes into my show, when Ken came in and said a tower light went out and since it was a top blinking one, he had to go to the tower ASAP to change it. I was doing great, so I said, see ya! Of course, about 10 minutes later, I lost cue in the right hand turntable and spent the rest of my shift only playing the first cut of the record because I could see to cue it up. Brian Lord was program director that summer. And for some strange reason, he liked what he heard and offered me midday's for the summer. I still have my play lists and I will e-mail a sample day to you at another time. "I have an old air check from my second week on the air and I have NO IDEA why Brian put me on the air! "My most memorable day on the air was the day the draft lottery numbers were announced. I remember playing long cuts so we could gather the info from the wire to read on the air. That was the year my kid brother was in the lottery... imagine how I felt when his birthday came up as number 8....and I still had to be professional and read the rest of the dates. (He turned out to be 4-F from an old skiing injury, but that's another story for another place)."
The ECOM frequently discussed funding sources during the early years of the station. The station needed $15,000 for operating expenses over the next 12 months, and while the F.C.C. required the station to be on the air 36 hours a week, the ECOM determined that it would need to be on the air 48 weeks a year to qualify for any grants, so steps were taken to expand the station's broadcast day by adding more shows.
The ECOM also discussed the possibility of and requirements for qualifying for Federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants. They voiced concerns about the possible loss of student power and participation that might occur if "outsiders" were allowed to run the shows. There was also much discussion about whether a paid staff would be in keeping with the purpose of the station.
Marilyn Nabors was appointed as Program Guide Editor, and a decision was made not to have advertising in the first issue.
The station also planned for a fund-raising Marathon in April, with a goal of $7,100. The programming department would use this money for tape decks, tapes and records. It was later postponed until the spring of '72.
The station held is annual banquet at Valle's Steak House in Hartford on May 14. The cost was $6.50 per person, which included dinner. The speaker was the News Director of WWDC in Washington, DC, one of the top news stations in the country.
The ECOM voted to draft a letter to the Federal Communications Commission outlining the station's position on recent FCC concerns about the mention of drugs in the lyrics of songs. The station felt that any restrictions based on the lyrics of a song would be a clear violation of the first amendment by the federal government.
The topic of changing the station's constitution was discussed. A proposal was made to change the section that said "a person must be actively involved in the station and also be a student in order to be an active member." Discussion centered on changing the policy so that people who were not students could become active members. The staff at the 3/9/71 General Staff meeting ratified this change.
The ECOM voted that "dope" was not allowed in the studio, and that guests needed prior permission to visit. The station also acquired a large safe, nicknamed Hector. No one has been able to say what was originally kept in the office, it was too large and gave people the feeling that they weren't to be trusted, although tools and equipment had a way of disappearing. It was finally moved down the hall.
In September, the ECOM met and focused on ways to get Mr. Patricelli, owner of WTIC, to offer WWUH space on its Avon Mountain tower to place its antenna. The ECOM also decided not to pursue Corporation for Public Broadcasting qualifications for fear of losing student interest by hiring a paid professional. In addition, operational costs had increased to about $15,000 a year. The ECOM stated that it was looking for a more definite commitment for financing from the University, along with a request for more space in Gengras.
To increase funds, staffers made efforts to sell underwriting at the rate of $5 per hour, with commissions for the Salesman, Business Manager and Underwriting Coordinator totaling 15%. Underwriters would be acknowledged twice per hour on the air. The staff also made a decision not to use national PSAs unless they apply to the local area, nor PSAs that asked for money.
Chuck Wansley was appointed by the Black Peoples Union as an advisor to WWUH. A constitutional change was made on October 14 to remove the AM Sales Manager position from the ECOM, to be replaced by a 2nd At Large member. Tom Canaday and Rob Weitz were elected to these positions. Brian Lord undertook a study of the feasibility of having Spanish language programming on WWUH.
The new programming schedule featured the following weekday programs:
7:00 - 9:00 AM - Light music
9:00 - 11:00 AM - Classics
11:00 - 11:15 AM - Children's Corner
11:15 - 2:00 PM - Recess Rock
2:00 - 5:00 PM - Afternoon Roll
5:00 - 8:00 PM - "Stereo Classics"
8:00 - 8:30 PM - UH Presents
8:30 - 9:00 PM - NPR or Pacifica programs
9:00 - 12 Midnight - Accent on Jazz
12:00 - 3:00 AM - Gothic Blimp Works Specialty shows were:
5:00 - 8:00 PM Fridays - Folk
8:00 - 12:00 Midnight Friday and Saturday - Soul
5:00 - 8:00 PM Saturday- The "Katz Meow," featuring engineering Guru Bob Katz.
1:00 - 2:00 PM Sunday - Composer's Forum from NPR
2:00 - 5:00 PM Sunday - Contemporary and Modern Music
5:00 - 6:30 Sunday - Radio Theatre
6:30 - 9:00 PM Sunday - Opera
Live remotes from the Suisman Lounge featured the Hartt Jazz Band.
In May, the engineering department discovered that the present stereo generator and exciter would not pass the mandated FCC proof-of-performance. The ECOM allocated $3,200 for replacements. At this time, the station purchased a state-of-the-art Wilkinson solid-state FM exciter to replace the old tube type RCA unit. It also purchased a Wilkinson stereo generator. When installed, these units greatly improved the sound and reliability of the station's signal. The ECOM also approved $5,000 for two Scully tape recorders, $120 for speakers and mikes, $600 for a portable reel machine, and $350 for five AM transmitters to be installed in the dorms for WWUH-AM.
Major headlines in 1970: Nixon ends the US trade embargo against China. (Apr. 14); US Supreme Court rules unanimously that busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation (April 20); Pentagon Papers published (June 13); twenty-sixth Amendment to US Constitution lowers voting age to 18. (June 30).
Fall 1972 Elections held in November had the following results:
Operations Director - Tricia Beatty
Director of Minority Affairs - Anne Harte
Director of Development - Judy Corcoran.
Election of officers on February 29, 1972:
General Manager - Phil Cabot Station Manager - Robert Weitz
Program Director - Tom Canady
Business Manager - Michael Ditkoff
Chief Engineer - Charles Allen Members-at-large-Anne Harte and Dave Radka
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Ummuna and Ed Nelson
Active members on the roster in the fall: Dave Achelis, Charlie Allen, Ron Barisano, Art Barlow, John Barone, Sharon Boudreau, Tricia Beatty, Andy Brownstein, Phil Cabot, Paul Cailler, Bob Cleary, Judy Corcoran, Ron Davis, Michael Ditkoff, Bob Dunkley, Roger Fennig, Peter Godoff, Eileen Harris, Patrick Hill, Stu Jaegger, Pam Johnson, Yvonne Jordan, Bob Katz, Mike Joseph, John LaBella, Sandy Lavery, Alex Leslie, Dawn Magi, Tim Muldoon, Bill Papoosha, Mark Persky, Mel Pepper, Carl Prutting, Dave Radka, Cliff Scheley, Jim Shanahan, Bob Smolin, Terry Sobestanovich, Joe Soya, Roger Stauss, Leslie Terry, Joe Terzo, Jim Theobald, Rob Weitz, Nel Wilson.
Advisors to the station: Dr. Viamonte, Dr. Umunna, Ed Nelson, Ken Kalish and Tom Canaday.
WWUH, in a testament to the professionalism of the staff and programming, was invited to "move Mother to the Mountain." Raising the height of the antenna to almost 500 feet above average terrain and moving it to Avon Mountain increased the stations reliable coverage from five miles to nearly 20 miles. Charles Allen, Chief Engineer, did all of the legwork in getting the transmitter ready to move to the mountain, but was unable to finish the project due to a work conflict. The project was passed to engineer, Larry Titus, who, along with Stu Yeager and Steve Shore, presided over the actual move.
The station raised money for the move in its first fund-raising marathon that spring. This move was a major step for the station, and it would necessitate the purchase of a new antenna. It was also was the first time the station had to pay for the transmitter's electricity, which, at about $100 per month, was a significant budget line item. As a result, the first Program Guide was published in April to help raise funds and reward those who donated to the station.
Station management had their hands full running the FM side of the station so a decision was made to concentrate on the FM and allow the AM to fall by the wayside. While the intent was to operate the AM station as a training ground for students interested in getting on the FM, running two stations had become just too much work, and everyone wanted to be on the FM so that they could broadcast to the whole community.
The Student Association donated $2,000 to enlarge the station's record library.
The station's first Marathon fundraiser was planned for midnight April 7 to midnight April 23. Donors received a subscription to the Program Guide for a $5 donation. Announcers were asked to mention the Marathon once every 15 minutes during the 16-day event. The goal was set at $1700, earmarked for the transmitter move. Hourly totals were posted on a blackboard.
A Black Coalition, formed within the radio station, demanded more black programs on the air. Their concern was that soul and jazz were being neglected, and that there were not enough albums. A separate library was set up for black records and programs. The station also began a series of programs on Youth and Draft counseling.
Staff Awards presented at a banquet to Mel Peppers, Tricia Beatty, Dawn Magi, Roger Stauss, Anne Harte and Michael Ditkoff, with a special award to Louis Sampliner.
News aired from 11:30-11:45 am and 5:00 - 5:30 pm weekdays.
From the November 20, 1972 WWUH Newsletter: "During the Thanksgiving vacation, we will be renovating the studio, tearing down walls, putting up walls, fixing, destroying, etc. Hopefully the studios will be improved. . ."
Marathon started on November 3rd and featured Hartford Mayor George Athanson, who co-hosted a morning show with Mark Persky. $700 was raised to benefit the Newington Children's Hospital.
WWUH was not exempt from the problem of record theft that all college stations were subject to. In an effort to catch those responsible, ECOM members did spot checks, and a one-month moratorium was placed on having guests in the studio.
The ECOM approved the printing of 3,000 Guides for October. Program Guide Advertising rates: full page - $50, half page - $30, and quarter page - $20.
Tom Canady resigned as Program Director due to graduate workload. Roger Stauss was appointed Acting Program Director in September and became the permanent PD in October. Roger's first act was to request the ECOM's permission to program the station 24 hours on Saturday, giving it a full 24-hour broadcast day.
The ECOM discussed changing the two At-Large ECOM positions to two new positions: Minority Affairs Director and Development Director. The former would be responsible for coordinating and developing the ethnic and specialty programming on the station, and the latter position would be in charge of fund raising, promotions and staff development. These new positions were approved pending ratification of the Constitution. Anne Harte was later elected as Director of Minority Affairs and Judy Corcoran was elected to the position of Director of Development. Tricia Beatty became Operations Director.
The station entered into an agreement with the Connecticut Transit bus company that starting September 1, the bus would carry promotional advertising for WWUH on the back and sides of select buses for a period of one year.
The October 26, 1972 ECOM meeting minutes end with the following statement: "…Discussion tabled, immediate adjournment (news over teletype of Vietnam PEACE agreement!!!) -- 12:50 pm."
The ECOM drew up the following temporary policies regarding personal "editorializing" by announcers: "Any announcer may state his opinion as long as he makes it known over the air that it is his opinion and not necessarily the opinion of the station. No announcer is to make any statement that may be taken as libelous. No announcer is to state his opinion on personal issues or on internal station policy or decisions."
An agreement was reached to exchange advice and expertise with Weaver High School station WQTQ (89.9 FM).
UH Professor Viamonte undertook a survey of students on campus during the fall of 1972 as part of a class project. The results show that 92% know where WWUH is on the dial, and 56% listen to WWUH part of the time.
Fall of 1972 brought more concerts to the UH Campus, including one featuring the band Ten Years After w/James Taylor as the opening act.
The station held a fund-raising Marathon for the Newington Children's Hospital, Nov. 3 with a remote broadcast and celebrity visits. $3000 was raised.
Major headlines in 1972: President Nixon makes unprecedented eight-day visit to Communist China (Feb. 17); Britain takes over direct rule of Northern Ireland in bid for peace (March 24); Eleven Israeli athletes at Olympic Games in Munich are killed after eight members of an Arab terrorist group invades Olympic Village; (Sept. 5); Nixon orders "Christmas bombing" of North Vietnam (Dec.). Background: Vietnam War; Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama is shot by Arthur H. Bremer at Laurel, Md., political rally (May 15); Five men are apprehended by police in attempt to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex-start of the Watergate scandal (June 17); US Supreme Court rules that death penalty is unconstitutional (June 29).
Elections were held in March with the following results:
Judith M. Corcoran - General Manager
Joel Schechter - Station Manager
Roger Stauss - Program Director
Steve Shore - Business Manager
Charles Allen - Chief Engineer
Mel Peppers - Director of Minority Affairs
Terry Sobestanovich - Director of Development
Jim Shanahan - Music Director
Ron Barisan - Production Director
Stew Jaeger - Assistant Chief Engineer.
Station management included Judy Corcoran-General Manger; Marc Andrews, Operations Director; Roger Stauss-Program Director; Steve Shore-Business Manager; Maceo Woods,-Director of Minority Affairs; Charlie Allen-Chief Engineer; Stew Jaeger-Assistant Engineer; Jim Shanahan-Music Director; Ron Barisano-Production Director; Steve Foss-Traffic Manager; Carl Prutting ;Sports Director; Sharon Boudreau-Personal Director and Terry Sobestanovich-Director of Development.
Staff: Vickie Germaine, Steve Messino, Tricia Beatty, Margi Adler, Art Barlow, John Barone, Ron Davis, Bob Dunkley, Peter Godoff, Randy Goule, Eileen Harris, Don Helfer, Patrick Hill, Marty Kayne, John Klupsak, Alex Leslie, John McKinney, Debbie Nelson, Mark Persky, Neil Portnoy, Sandy Rosoff, Joel Schechter, Cliff Schley, Bob Smolen, Leslie Terry, Joe Terzo, Leon Thompson, Rob Weitz, Ray White, Bob Kiel, Neil Alein, Dave Delisle, Paul Rosenbloom, Marty O'Toole, Lloyd Robinson, Hank Michkoff
Advisors: Philip Cobot, Clark Smidt, Ken Kalish, Michael Forman, Tom Canady, Ed Nelson, Dr. Umunna, Dr. Viamonte.
The station routinely signed off at 2 AM most nights, although Gothic announcers were allowed to stay on the whole night if they so chose. Sign on was always at 6 AM. By mid-1973, the All Night Show was added making the WWUH the first college station in the state to broadcast 24-hours a day.
WWUH operated a campus-on AM station, known as "WWUH-AM" during the early years of the station, but it was mostly neglected by station staff due to the demands of keeping the FM going. Since students were able to get the station on the FM dial, and the AM signal did not go off campus, the station donated the AM system to the Student Association. Thus, WSAM (Student Association Media) was born. The donation of the WWUH-AM equipment allowed WSAM to be heard in the dorms on campus through a process known as "carrier current radio" (which utilizes the building wiring as an antenna).
The only advantage that WWUH had with the AM station was that since the AM was unlicensed, commercial spots could be sold. However, this required that the AM programming be separate from the FM, something that was difficult to arrange due to the demands of the FM side of the operation.
The Transmitter move to the mountain was put on hold because of the pending sale of WTIC to the Washington Post.
Special programming was produced and aired for Black Week, March 5-12. The station aired a series of PSA's on Vietnam aid and revitalization.
The ECOM discussed having detailed classical programming notes in the Guide to help make it more interesting to listeners.
The ECOM voted unanimously in February to go ahead with the transmitter move, despite concerns about whether we had our programming act together, whether we had enough money, and whether we had enough technical personnel.
Money allocated by the ECOM for the FCC Application:
$5,000 from University
$4,000 from Restricted Account
$3,000 from Operating Budget
$1,400 from donations
$11,650 Equipment costs
A 'Mini-Marathon' to get Guide subscriptions was scheduled for March 3-5.
Joe McKernan designed the 1973 T-shirts. The shirts cost the station $0.90 each, and the station ordered 300 of them to be sold at cost to staff and offered to listeners for a $5 donation. The station also printed WWUH matchbooks, along with "bicycle bumper stickers" and car-window stickers.
A meeting was held with UH President Dr. Woodruff to discuss the University's opinion regarding obscenity in public affairs programming.
The station banquet was held at the Steak and Brew in Farmington, CT in April. Active guests, advisors and invited guests were paid for by the station, all others charged $7.
A review of station membership on February 22, 1973 listed 32 active members.
Judy approached the Student Association with a request of $3,000 to go towards the transmitter move.
From a September 6, 1973 memo to Dean McKinley: WWUH is growing. We recently received permission for the Federal Communications Commission to move our transmitting facilities to Avon Mountain. This means that WWUH we be broadcasting to almost the entire state of Connecticut. However, currently we do not have sufficient funds to carry out our plans. Presently our main concern is moving the transmitter. The entire cost will be $12500, of which we have only $9,500. We are in a great hurry to get this money as we are working against time --- the Mountain Move must be made within two months before the cold weather sets in, and the equipment takes between thirty and sixty days to deliver. We would also like to purchase a tape recorder that would allow us to record UH lectures, community happenings, press conferences etc. We are an educational station and such plans could greatly increase public affairs programming. We would also like to purchase a "Sherlock Holmes Series" from the BBC at a cost of $1300. And last but not lease this year we were forced to hire a chief engineer because our technical staff was very weak. "Radio is growing rapidly,. Now many high schools are starting their own radio stations. For example, WWUH is helping Weaver High School organize their new station. With this new interest in radio broadcasting among high school students, if WWUH grows to become a better quality station, WWUH could attract many new perspective freshmen.
Since FCC rules required that WWUH's chief engineer have a first class license, and since the station constitution required that the chief engineer be a UH students, the only person with such a license on the staff was Larry Titus, who had been with the station since the beginning. The ECOM agreed to pay for Larry to take 2-3 courses at Ward College. In return, Larry would sign up as Chief Engineer. He could not put in the required 15 hours a week, but would keep the station legal and on the air. Larry was elected to the position on September 20, 1973.
From the September 18, 1973 ECOM Meeting minutes: "The Student Union Board of Governors (SUBOG) decided that the public address system in the campus center will be set on WKND (a local black station) from Noon until 2:30 PM daily, and on WWUH the rest of the time."
General Manager Judy Corcoran set up the Connecticut College Broadcasters Association and held an all-day conference at U of H with speakers from local stations. Topics included sales, programming, technical, legal and ethical issues.
Telephone and Electricity were set up at our location on Avon Mountain with the move planned for early November. The station would be off the air for 1-4 weeks.
Several options were discussed to raise additional funds for the transmitter move, including a special Marathon, asking the Student Association for a donation, and borrowing from UH. The ECOM decided to borrow. In preparation for the transmitter move, the engineering staff dug a trench from the building to the tower, and the antenna was ordered.
Many staff members who were concerned about using it effectively questioned the necessity of the United Press International newswire, which cost the station 16% of its budget each year. The ECOM had asked announcers to read some news items at the start of each show but not everyone was doing so.
Program on the West Indies is auditioned.
After six years of hard use, the station had out-grown the tiny Sparta air studio board. In addition, the board was also wearing out. The ECOM allocated $3,000 to purchase a state-of-the-art Fairchild ten-channel audio console for the Air Studio, and the Sparta board that had been used in the air studio was repaired and moved into the production studio.
In November, the ECOM approved the airing of PSAs for Trinity College's radio station, WRTC (89.3 FM). They were off the air with transmitter troubles, with no money for repairs.
WWUH had its own problems with the new Fairchild Board, serial number 1. Even though the board had dramatically improved the improved the air sound and expanded the on-air capabilities of the announcers doing shows, it was problematic. Steve Shore, the Business Manager said he wouldn't pay for it since he was so disgusted with the situation. Optionally, he would send the company $1 a week until it was paid off (about 3000 weeks later!) Andy Bronstein proclaimed at that time he would be 38 and wondering what everyone looked like!).
The station produced a special Christmas show featuring 160 kids from the Annie Fisher Elementary School and the Annie Fisher Choir. Sandra Rosoff offered some special holiday readings and the Hartt Brass and Rhythm Department, along with the Emmanuel Congregational Church performed the Bach Christmas Oratorio. In addition, the Hartt College Suzuki class for 3-8 year olds performed at the event, where volunteer Marc Persky appeared as Santa Claus.
Paul Payton wrote the following about his experiences at WWUH, which started in 1973: One of the late night progressive shows; I had also guested on the Street Corner Serenade. The blessing of 'UH for me and many compadres was that you guys let us come up while we were "between stations" and keep our chops sharp. You gave me a place to hang my hat, stay in touch with the trade, and not coincidentally allowed me to help pump up record service a bit for 'UH. My last show there was filling in for Paul Bezanker on Street Corner Serenade one week when he couldn't make it. It was wonderful - it's the only show I did from the new studio, and I felt like I was *really* back on the radio! (I think I brought up about 4 hours of music for the two-hour show!) But the magic of 'UH (and other "real" radio stations in college environments, like WBRU - as opposed to 10-watt or closed-circuit ego trips) is that no matter how much one does for the station, it always does more for you - sometimes you just don't realize in what ways until later.
Cathy Spann offered the following recollection about 1973: I remember rolling in at 6AM one morning to do FM on Toast, only to be greeted by this man wearing what I would describe as a small leather loincloth. That was Sweet Pie, and that's how I remember him, sitting practically naked in the announcer's chair that morning, with long curly brown hair and a smile. That'll wake you up fast!
Major headlines in 1973: A ceasefire is signed, ending involvement of American ground troops in the Vietnam War. (Jan. 28); US bombing of Cambodia ends, marking official halt to 12 years of combat activity in Southeast Asia (Aug. 15).; Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) hikes oil prices tremendously in retaliation for Western countries' involvement in Yom Kippur War. Nixon, on national TV, accepts responsibility, but not blame, for Watergate; accepts resignations of H. R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman, fires John W. Dean III as counsel (April 30). Spiro T. Agnew resigns as Vice President and then pleads no contest to charges of evasion of income taxes while Governor of Maryland (Oct. 10). In the "Saturday Night Massacre," Nixon fires special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus; Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson resigns (Oct. 20).; US Supreme Court rules on Roe v. Wade.
The ECOM consisted of:
Judy Corcoran-General Manager
Mel Peppers-Operations Director
Marcia Simon-Program Director
Larry Titus - Chief Engineer
Mel Yates - Business Manager
Adrienne Rivers - Director of Minority Affairs
Julianna Kovach - Director of Development
Staff: The staff list as of December 5, 1974 showed 25 active members, and 30 associate members: Anita Alexander, Charlie Allen, Doris Artis, John Barone, Ron Barrsano, Tricia Beatty, Al Brennan, Art Barlow, Andy Bronstein Jerry Burke, Kathy Carrrol, Paul Cailler, Judy Corcoran, Ron Davis, Dave Delisle, Bob Dunkley, Steve Foss, Wayne Geig, Walter Gibson, Don Helfer, Joza Karas, Michael Kaufman, nna Kovach, John Klupsak, John Labella, Coby Leyden, Mickey McClosky, Dawn Merriweather, Nay Nassar, Mel Peppers,Mark Persky, Bill Popoosha, John Ramsey, Adrienne Rivers, Maurice Robertson, Michael Rosenberg, Paul Rosenblum, Cliff Schley, Jim Shanahan, Marcia Simon, Terry Sobestanovich, Steve Shore, Diane Sinisi, Dianne Smith, Bob Smolen, Roger Stauss, Bob Thompson, Lloyd Leslie Terry, Joe Terzo, Larry Titus, Ifekandu Umunna, Ray "Moby" White, Mel Yates, and Stacy Zwaik
The station received awards from the following groups for various contributions: The American Kidney Foundation, The Jaycees, Aware, The Advertising Council, the American Chiropractic Association, and the Inner Peace Movement.
"Moving Mother To The Mountain" was the name of the project to relocate the station's transmitter and antenna from the Gengras Student Union to the WTIC transmitter site on Avon Mountain. The station was off the air for part of the spring as the transmitter was installed on Avon Mountain. WWUH engineers Larry Titus, Charlie Allen and Stuart Yeager accomplished the actual move. A brand new 3-bay Gates FMC-3 antenna with radomes was installed on the old radar tower in Avon. Our transmitter moved from Gengras and was reinstalled in a small wooden building that had been used to house the center feed network for an old WTIC-AM antenna. The station signed back on the air on April 22 with the new transmitter site. The move had cost $14,000.
After the transmitter was moved to the mountain, the wall separating the "transmitter room" from the FM studio was removed, making the air studio "L" shaped and nearly twice as large.
John Ramsey recalls hearing only silence at the 91.3 spot on the dial during the spring and waiting for the station to come back on. "I didn't know why they were off, it seemed pretty strange that they would be off so long, but as soon as the station came back on the air after the transmitter move the increased coverage was simply amazing! I hadn't volunteered in the station in well over a year, and decided that I had been away too long. A few days later, I called the station and spoke with Roger Stauss, who invited me to come by that afternoon for a visit. When I walked into the Air Studio, Roger and I spoke for a few minutes and then he said "hey, can you do the rest of the show, I've got to go" so I was back on WWUH again!"
The increased range of the station's signal really began to be felt. Listeners called into the station day and night, and favorable letters poured in.
The station sponsored the WWUH Festival of Folk Music from the Gengras Cafeteria at 1 pm on May 4th. Featured performers were The Morgans, Jan Armstrong and Will Welling. The station's engineering department coordinated the technical set up and broadcast the entire show live on the air.
Another series of live broadcasts took place the weekend of August 3 when the station covered the West Indian Week celebration in Hartford. This was the beginning of what became a strong relationship between WWUH and Hartford's West Indian Community. WWUH applied to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a grant, but was turned down because there was no full time professional staff. As a result, the goal for the upcoming fundraising marathon was set at $10,000.
Larry Titus resigned from the position of Chief Engineer on July 8, with student Charlie Allen taking over the position via acting status.
WFCR in Amherst asked us to produce Public Affairs Programs for them in return for cash. This was high praise for WWUH since WFCR was known as one of the top public radio stations in the country.
The price of a Program Guide Subscription was raised to $10. Station Music Director worked with WSAM to help them get record service since many companies were reluctant to service two radio stations on one campus.
A course entitled "FM Broadcast Workshop" was offered, taught by Linda Goldfarb from WHCN.
Judy Corcoran, in an annual report entitled "Insight into WWUH" in May 1974, had this to say: "During the last promotional campaign for WWUH, we tried to find an adjective to describe WWUH. It is almost impossible to describe WWUH in one word. We feel too big to be called college radio. We're not quite public radio because the government does not fund us, although we air the kinds of programs many public radio stations do. And we're more than alternative rock, because we air some of the best soul, jazz and classical music around. We finally decided on WWUH: Public Alternative Radio.
Working at WWUH has been a unique experience for most of us. At most college stations, radio is a hobby. To most people at WWUH, radio is a lifestyle and WWUH is our family. The people rarely leave or lose contact wit the station. This has been one part of the success of WWUH. The other part has been the staff's dedication to forego almost anything to keep the station on the air with quality programming. And with a staff that turns over nearly each semester (some of us even graduate), keeping the high programming standard is no easy feat.
Judging from listener response and due largely to the Program Guide, WWUH has a steady audience who are finally realizing that we offer different forms of programming at specific times. Consequently, they tune back. There is also a small audience who listen to UH most of the time, people who like jazz, classics, rock, public affairs, and special programs.
One advantage of non-commercial college radio is that it is constantly growing and experimenting. Some problems come and go, some remain, but the basic concern for the station is always there. WWUH has addressed three major concerns this year: lack of money, lack of space, and lack of academic credit for the work that is done.
WWUH took a big step this year when it finally moved its transmitter to Avon Mountain. Besides making UH one of the largest college station in the East, the move cost around $14,000. After begging and borrowing, we came up with the money. In the past, WWUH has had a reserve fund from the original Roth family grant but now that account is almost empty.
Fiscal year '74-75 should be extremely tight. We have received $14,000 from the University for the past few years as an annual operating budget. This year we purchased a new audio control board for $3,000 and now we are in need of automatic gain control, an FM exciter, cart machines, a production board, and eventually, a new transmitter.
There have been many meetings and memos this past semester regarding the building of the Communications Department to provide a Major in public communications. There is much interest among students at UH for such a program, as many people at WWUH have, are and will work as professionals in broadcasting. Fortunately, WWUH allows non-students can work here, both on and off air. This is one of the reasons the air sound is so good. During this past year, about seven announcers have had previous professional experience. This arrangement is beneficial to both listeners and to students, who learn from these professionals.
The programming department became very strong during the past year. With much credit due to Roger Stauss, Program Director, WWUH has been on the air, with a few exceptions, for 20 hours a day, 365 days a year. WWUH has also regularly produced its own programs such as "Music from Czechoslovakia," hosted by Joza Karas, an hourly program featuring native artists performing music composed by Czechoslovakians. Another WWUH original weekly program is "African Worlds," hosted by Professor Ifekandu Umunna, which highlights many different African cultures.
On April 22, WWUH signed back on the air with its new transmitter facilities. The move cost a lot of money, caused a lot of work, produced a lot of headaches, and took a lot of time. The move is probably one of the most significant things that have happened to WWUH since it began. A big fundraising marathon and arts festival were planned for May but cancelled in April because at that time we didn't know when the transmitter move would be completed. It has been rescheduled for the fall.
Another project in the works concerns the rights of a non-commercial station to state its editorial opinions. Currently, Section 399 of the Communications Act of 1934 states: "No non-commercial, educational broadcasting station my engage in editorializing or may support or oppose any candidate for political office." I have written to the FCC for confirmation that this law is still in effect. If so, I plan to notify the non-commercial college station across country and work in a combined effort to change the law.
WWUH has been gaining recognition in the community. The Program Guide, under the editorship of Terry Sobestanovich, has helped publicize both the station and the many different programs offered on WWUH. Donations have been averaging $20 a week and many programs have been underwritten by commercial institutions. Complimentary letters average about three a week.
The main thing that I have noticed is that WWUH is becoming known as "a radio station." WWUH is often played in stores and can be heard on car radios and blasting from people's rooms and homes. Window stickers are often sighted and area professionals are aware of us. But we haven't done it alone. Much of the credit for the current station's success is due to the people who started WWUH. Everyone who has passed through its doors has been touched and has touched others. WWUH is a good place."
The cover of the June, 1974 Program Guide featured "The Official Nixon Countdown Calendar" where listeners could mark off the days until the president was impeached! While many people liked the cover, a number of people objected and complained directly to the university.
Judy Corcoran wrote about the controversial 1974 Program Guide cover in 2003: The countdown calendar was a real "poster" I purchased somewhere. I forget when Watergate broke, but it took several months/years to come to a head. Nixon, mainly because of the war, was about as popular with half the country as George Bush is today. The countdown calendar counted Nixon's days in office with a little box to scratch off each day. I don't recall that we got in trouble for it. Someone might have said something in passing, but it wasn't huge. It would be akin to putting a George Bush countdown calendar to the next election or similar "bumper sticker art" on the cover of the program guide today. Would you get in trouble from the university and listeners? Speaking of bumper stickers, the bicycle bumper stickers were little 1.5 inch by 1 inch "stickers" in assorted neon colors. We ordered them for no real reason, probably just for fun to stick around places. When they arrived, I said they looked like "bumper stickers for bicycles."
The staff list as of December 5, 1974 showed 25 active members, and 30 associate members: Anita Alexander, Doris Artis, John Barone, Ron Barrsano, Tricia Beatty, Al Brennan, Art Barlow, Andy Bronstein Jerry Burke, Kathy Carrrol, Paul Cailler, Ron Davis, Dave Delisle, Bob Dunkley, Steve Foss, Wayne Geig, Walter Gibson, Don Helfer, Michael Kaufman, John Klupsak, John Labella, Coby Leyden, Mickey McClosky, Dawn Merriweather, Nay Nassar, Mark Persky, Bill Popoosha, John Ramsey, Maurice Robertson, Michael Rosenberg, Paul Rosenblum, Cliff Schley, Jim Shanahan, Steve Shore, Diane Sinisi, Dianne Smith, Bob Smolen, Roger Stauss, Bob Thompson, Lloyd Leslie Terry, Joe Terzo, Ray "Moby" White and Stacy Zwaik.
Michael Cummings was elected general Manager on December 15, 1974. The minutes of the election meeting, gave the following account of his acceptance speech: "The station is really something. I hope things will continue as they are because I feel that WWUH is going places."
Major headlines in 1974: Nixon and Brezhnev meet in Moscow to discuss arms limitation agreements. Background; Leftist revolution ends almost 50 years of dictatorial rule in Portugal (launched Apr. 25); India successfully tests an atomic device, becoming the world's sixth nuclear power (May 18); Patricia Hearst, 19-year-old daughter of publisher Randolph Hearst, kidnapped by Symbionese Liberation Army (Feb. 5); House Judiciary Committee adopts three articles of impeachment charging President Nixon with obstruction of justice, failure to uphold laws, and refusal to produce material subpoenaed by the committee (July 30); Richard M. Nixon announces he will resign the next day, the first President to do so (Aug. 8); Vice President Gerald R. Ford of Michigan is sworn in as 38th President of the US (Aug. 9); Ford grants "full, free, and absolute pardon" to ex-President Nixon (Sept. 8).
The election saw the following people elected:
Mimi Spillane -General Manager
Steve Berian-Operations Director
Donna Burton-Director of Development
Tom Gomez -Acting Business Manager
John Anderson, Gene Chapdelaine-Chief Engineer
Jackie Peart -Director of Minority Affairs
Bob Gross, Bob Browning-Program Director
Appointments were made for these positions:
Michael Plen-News Director
Joel Salkowitz -Production Director
Linda Faulkerson-Program Guide Editor
Tom Gomez was appointed acting Business Manager in May.
Staff: Charlie Allen, John Anderson, Ed Barks, Steve Berian, Bob Browning, Steve Berian, Bill Brady, Donna Burton, Gene Chapdelaine, Bob Cohen, George Michael Evica, Linda Faulkerson, Eric Gordon, Tom Gomez, Bob Gross, Marsha Lasker, Frank Nowicki, Chuck Pagano, Jackie Peart, Melvin Peppers, Michael Plen, Neil Portnoy, Joe Rudich, Joel Salkowitz, Steve Shore, Mimi Spillane, James Sutton, Mel Yates
The ECOM listed the three major functions of WWUH:
A) to serve the greater Hartford Community, B) to serve the University of Hartford Community, C) To train UH students in the field of radio.
The ECOM felt that active community volunteers should be allowed to vote, but that students should still have control of the station by holding the ECOM offices. They strongly felt that all of the people actively contributing to the station should have a say in who runs the station.
In January, local station WFSB TV-3 approached ECOM with a unique proposal. In an effort to better serve the Spanish community of Greater Hartford, they wanted WWUH to simulcast their six o'clock news program in Spanish. The ECOM realized that the loss of some classical programming time was more than made up for by being promoted on one of the most influential media outlets in the state.
Michael Cummings ratified as acting General Manager at an emergency meeting held in July.
The February 15 ECOM Minutes mention a problem with an announcer refusing to sign the programs logs while airing a tape because he disagreed with the content of the tape! Further discussions centered around the "censoring" of the "None of the Above" program about Gay and Lesbian issues by Program Director Joe Rudich on February 9. Joe had kept the program from being aired because he hadn't heard the tape and he was concerned about FCC prohibited words being broadcast. The ECOM decided to make it mandatory for the Program Director to audition all tapes before airplay.
The March 7 ECOM meeting saw a discussion of the station's programming. The station continued to follow the pattern, established long ago, to program whatever sounded good. The question was raised of whether the station belonged to the University or to the community.
Spontaneous Combustion, a program about the "arts-life-alternative energy experience", made its debut in March. Segments included specials on the exploration of dreams, a reading of the Long Sheet, Jim Baker and Tabla, a creative satire on commercial radio, readings by members of the Hartford Stage, the Magic Shop, and readings by area poets.
With elections looming at the end of the spring semester, volunteer Ed Barks, expressed an interest in running for the Program Director position but he was told that he could not because he was only a part time student. Ed protested the decision to the University. The ECOM and the University researched the matter and determined that a part time student could run for an ECOM position because the station's constitution doesn't make a distinction between full and part time students.
From the April 11 ECOM Minutes: "Joe Rudich was asked to withdraw his name as candidate for the Program Director position based on his statement that he resents the Executive Committee. Following that request, Joe Rudich resigned as Program Director and as a member of the station."
Bob Gross was appointed Acting Program Director in April.
At the April 20 election meeting, the various candidates presented their positions. The statements below were excerpted from the minutes of the election meeting on that date: Mimi Spillane, who was running for the position of General Manager, said that she wants to see the station run in an open manner and asked for feedback from the staff "because all people are here for the station".
Steve Berian, who was running for Operations Director, stated that he wanted to improve the efficiency of the station and to bring all sections of the station into one cohesive unit. He also called for openness and said that he intended to speak with all members of the station about their basic philosophies about the station.
There were two candidates for the position of Program Director, Ed Barks and Bob Gross.
Ed Barks spoke first. He said that he wanted to see training in production and news for all announcers. He also said that he would work to try to bring out the potential of all people. He presented a written document, "Programming Ponderances, Volumes I through V" to the staff.
Bob Gross, the other Program Director candidate, said that he would try to bring together everyone as one group to best serve the Hartford community; that he was running on his past actions as acting Program Director and that he hoped to improve the quality of the sound and to teach radio to all who work here.
The Director of Development candidate, Donna Burton (Firefly) stated that she had experience working in the same type of position at WHUS. She felt that the job centered on public relations for the station with the University and with the community in general. She submitted written copies of her ideas for the department.
John Anderson, the Chief Engineer candidate, asked for everyone's help. He said that he was running on his past performance.
Bob Cohen, on the ballot as the only candidate for the position of Business Manager, withdrew his name but offered to help anyway.
Minority Affairs Director candidate Jackie Peart was unable to attend the meeting.
During the year, there was much discussion between some staff members about the Accent of Jazz shows, which aired from 9-12 in the evening. The issue that was also noticed by several listeners who wrote to the station was that these "jazz" shows were featuring more "rhythm and blues" music than jazz.
The following is an excerpt from Director of Development Donna Burton's letter to the ECOM during this period summarized the concerns: ". . . Jazz programming cannot be equated with black programming. If it is, then we are doing a great injustice to the music and to the talented people to make the music. Jazz is a universal music. Jazz transcends race, age, and nationality. What is Black Programming? Black programming, musical, educational, and cultural, is programming that speaks directly to the Black community. It is extremely important that we serve the black community with relevant programming. The time blocks from 9-12 pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 8-12 Friday and Saturday (note I am not including Monday, 9-12 pm, the jazz show that I do) is oriented specifically towards black listeners. That is why Earth, Wind and Fire, Taj Mahal, Aretha Franklin, and other black artists who do not play jazz are included in these programs. In my opinion, this slot has been misnamed "Accent on Jazz." If it is black programming, let us call it black programming. Otherwise, our listeners will be confused . . . there is nothing wrong with Black Music Shows; in fact, they are a VERY IMPORTANT part of our programming here at WWUH. The audience is there. Anyone who has watched the phones light up for Maceo or Art Barlow can attest to that. "I request that we straighten this out, this jazz programming/black programming confusion. They are different. There is definitely room for both at this station. Let's make room for both. Let's call the programs by their proper names."
This letter was just an example of the controversy surrounding the stations evening programming. Amid turmoil at the station over black programming and other programming concerns, the ECOM made the following statement pertaining to philosophy and direction of WWUH at the June 19, 1976 ECOM meeting:
"We the Executive Committee of WWUH, for the year 1976-77, feel that "Public Alternative Radio" WWUH should serve as the voice of the Greater Hartford area. The station should feature Public Affairs programming, produced within its own studios that deal with the area served. WWUH should also provide diversified programming, "alternatives" to that which is offered on most commercial radio stations, in both music and non-music programming.
"As the station of the University of Hartford, WWUH should draw on the resources available within the University, as well as drawing upon those outside the University. This would mean that while training students for jobs in radio, the station should strive for the best programming possible.
"WWUH is, and should strive to remain, "public alternative radio" in Hartford. Its schedule and staff should remain flexible, able to accommodate change when necessary, but maintaining an air of professionally at all times.
"We call ourselves "Public Alternative Radio"; let us think that way and work in that direction."
Ed Barks, Program Director, made the following proposal: 1) Extend "Morning Jazz" one hour, to run from 9 am - 12 noon Monday through Friday. 2) Move our current midday Public Affairs hour from the present 11 am - 12 noon slot to 12 noon to 1 pm each Monday through Friday. 3) Consolidate "Recess Rock" and "Afternoon Roll" into one shift, from 1 pm to 4:50 pm.
Another controversial issue during this time period concerned the presence and official status of community volunteers at the station. This would be addressed by the1976 ECOM, who felt that since many of the students at UH were from out of the Hartford area, they had little knowledge of and/or feel for Hartford. The consensus was that the input of the community people who work at WWUH is very important. They kept WWUH and the University in touch with the community, and brought their various experienced from the outside to the station and the students.
Michael Plen stated that he planned to start up a News Bureau at the station.
The annual staff banquet was scheduled for Thursday May 6 at the Terrace Room at Bradley International Airport.
Program Guide editor, Linda Faulkerson, decided to combine the issues and put out one "fat" guide for the summer months.
The ECOM as of October 1975:
Mel Yates-General Manager
Bob Cohen-Business Manager
Steve Shore-Operations Director
Bob Browning-Program Director
Mimi Spillane-Director of Development
Melvin Peppers-Director of Minority Affairs
Charlie Allen-Chief Engineer
Sub-Department heads as of September 11 included:
Assistant Chief Engineer - Gene Chapdelaine
Production Director - Bob Gross
Program Guide Editor - James Sutton
Asst. Operations Director - John Anderson
News Director - Joe Rudich, Bill Brady and Bob Browning
The station's engineering advisor was Ed Nelson, a faculty member at Ward College and former NASA engineer.
In the fall, the ECOM stated the following membership policies:
Membership would be open to all with no barriers, but with the expectation that the volunteer would actively participate in the station. After a period of time, the new member would be brought to the ECOM to be recognized as a full member. Active status could only be conferred on full time UH students who have show an active interest in the station. They would have voting rights. Associate status would be conferred to part time UH students or non-students who have demonstrated active participation in the station.
The demand on the station's production studio was so great that the ECOM decided that non-station production could only be done in the studio between the hours of midnight to 8 am.
As the reputation of the station grew, local broadcasts began to notice that WWUH announcers were a cut above the DJs from other college stations. Both WHCN and WKSS approached the station in search of interns.
Limited elections were held on September.25th for General Manager and Business Manager positions.
Along with the station's success came a number of growing pains. The September 28 General Staff Meeting had the following items on its agenda... The ECOM set a firm policy regarding record theft: Anyone caught removing records from the station would be fired. No drinking or smoking in the studio would be allowed. Advance notice had to be given if someone was going to miss a show. Announcers must perform behinds the scenes work other than just their show. More care must be taken with meter readings and the logs.
In reaction to the increasing reoccurring problem of albums disappearing, spot checks were made at different hours day and night in order to try and alleviate the problem. Misfiling was also a problem.
From the October 1, 1975 ECOM Meeting minutes: "Neil Portnoy spoke first, saying that the station will lose its 'alternativeness' by being 24 hours. He suggested that a limit be put on the rock programming and that our produced programming be increased as much as possible."
Joe Rudich resigned from the position of News Director, Bill Brady and Bob Browning were appointed to share the job.
Mel Yates and Bob Browning attended a WSAM ECOM meeting in November in order to promote better relations with WSAM. Discussions were undertaken for a combined student training effort.
The annual budget for the station for FY 75/76 was $17,000.
Further discussion on the controversial "None of the Above" program centered on the ECOM's concerns: A) Whether or not the producers of the show were using WWUH to air personal views (This because of their extensive coverage of the gay liberation issue), and B) Whether the producers were being too commercial by listing the gay bars in the Hartford area.
The ECOM agreed that only FCC prohibited material could or should be censored by the Program Director. Some staff members present at the meeting were concerned with outside pressure on the Program Director, and were concerned that the station would not be a "free channel".
In response to some announcers abusing the privilege by showing up late, not filling out logs, missing Ids, etc. a "Permit to Operate" system was put in place based on the three college semesters. It was designed so as to enable the station to secure a penalty against a staff member who disregarded FCC law, general station policy, or ECOM directive. The system was based on the fact that a WWUH volunteer, like any licensed individual, is expected to follow the rules governing on air and internal operations. Strikes against the permit would accumulate from policy and rule infractions; after a certain number of infractions, the permit to broadcast would be suspended.
Program Director Bob Gross submitted his resignation in August 1976 citing personal problems. He stated that he had been affected both physically and mentally by station and staff problems, and that it was difficult to still care about the station. However, he did stay on as a staff member.
The ECOM promptly set up an interim programming committee consisting of Donna Burton, Roger Stauss, Marsha Lasker and Mimi Spillane.
Steve Berian submitted a proposal to consolidate the Minority Affairs, News and Community Affairs Department into a new department to be called the Community Affairs Department, which would be headed by a Community Affairs Director who would be an ECOM member. Under his proposal, the Program Director would be responsible for music and entertainment programming and day-to-day scheduling and the Community Affairs Director would be responsible for the News, (non-music) Minority and Public Affairs Programming.
Dave DeMaw was appointed acting Director of Development in September, filling the slot that Donna Burton has left.
On November 4, 5 and 6, the station sponsored the Citizens Committee of Inquiry into the JFK assassination. The event took place on campus, and the station broadcast a large portion of it. George Michael Evica headed the event which featured key note speaker Mark Lane (a noted expert on the JFK assassination and author of the book "Rush to Judgment") and guest speaker Jim Garrison, the New Orleans's District Attorney who, many years later, would feature prominently in Oliver Stone's controversial movie, "JFK'! Garrison conducted his own assassination investigation, which led to the trial of Clay Shaw in 1969.
WWUH once again demonstrated its commitment to the community to taking part in and/or broadcasting live from the following area events: The New England Fiddle Contest, Clown Day in Hartford, Soccer with the Connecticut Yankees, The West Indian Celebration, The Harames Festival '75 and the Hartford Family Folk Festival.
The new Connecticut Freedom of Information Act Commission held one of its first meetings at U of H in October. The station covered this session in depth.
The RKO Radio Network planned on forming a human chain across the country on July 4, 1976 to celebrate the country's bi-centennial. WWUH offered to be the official Hartford station.
The winter holidays always bring out the best in many WWUH announcers, and the airwaves are full of songs celebrating Hanukah, Christmas, Three Kings Day and Kwanzaa. In December, the station aired a special program, "A Christmas Carol" for the holiday season.
A twelve-hour live broadcast was undertaken from Bushnell Park as part of the New England Fiddle Contest on May 29th.
An April 1, 1975 engineering report showed a very active engineering department, staffed by Tom Gomez, Chuck Pagano, Neil Portnoy, Joel Salkowitz, Joe Rudisch, Frank Nowicki and Steve Berian. Projects being worked on at the time included: The installation of the new Technics turntables in special acoustical isolated pedestals in the air studio; Work on the custom production console (in the works for over three years!); designing of a main studio power panel. At the transmitter site, the Wilkinson exciter was returned to the manufacturer for the installation of upgrades. Tours of the studios of local stations, including WTIC and WDRC, were held for the engineering staff.
Parts were purchased to build a production board from scratch. The design for the console originated in house by WWUH engineering personnel. The console would be very large, almost 7 feet across, and feature 12 stereo channels, with three independent stereo output busses.
The EBS system was changed to the two-tone system in early 1976, requiring the station to purchase new equipment.
By this time the engineering shop had moved from the first floor (near the SW stairway) to the 3rd floor next to room D.
The ECOM consisted of:
Mel Yates, Mimi Spillane-General Manager
Bob Browning and Joe Rudich-Program Director
John Anderson and Steve Berian-Chief Engineer
In addition: Tom Gomez-Programming Coordinator; Gary Zenobi-News Director; Sally Noble-Station Librarian.
Staff: John Anderson, Wayne Beebe, Doug Berghardt, Steve Berian, Bob Browning, Gene Chapdelaine, Henry DeKastrozza, Dave Demaw, Joe Ferreira, Tom Gomez, Fred Hull, Steve Keiley, George Krochin, Frank Nowicki Sally Noble, Chuck Pagano, Neil Portnoy, Mimi Spillane, Joe Rudich, Joel Salkowitz, Joe Spinelli, Larry Titus, Randy Witlicke, Mel Yates, Gary Zenobi
On January 13, Mel Yates, using the powers vested in him as the General Manager, declared an emergency state in the station. In order to insure the continued smooth operation of the station, John Anderson and Steve Berian were appointed acting resident Chief Engineers. They replaced Gene Chapdelaine until the ECOM felt Gene could resume his duties. Bob Browning resigned as Program Director, and Joe Rudich temporarily assumed his duties.
Chief Engineer John Anderson moved on to channel 30 leaving a legacy of technical excellence and hard work.
Larry Titus, one of the founders of WWUH, and Chief Engineer of WTIC in 1976, once again came to the station's aid by volunteering to be posted as WWUH chief engineer. This was extremely important since the FCC rules required that a station have a First Class Licensed engineer as "Chief Operator" and since no staff members had the license we would have been in trouble if Larry hadn't stepped in.
Ward student Jim McGivern took over in the engineering department from John Anderson, although Larry remained the licensed engineer until Jim passed his First Class test at the end of 1978.
A fire on the first floor of the student union forced the station off the air for five minutes until the extent of the fire could be determined. WWUH was falsely implicated by several sources as being responsible for the fire since our announcers were the only people "officially" in the building at the time.
The General Manager suspended the talk show format program "Speakeasy" until a delay system could be installed because "sensitive material" was broadcast.
A proposal was submitted in February for the creation of a weekly half-hour show by and about women.
As part of his platform in his candidacy for reelection as Program Director, Joe Rudich submitted the following paper on WWUH programming philosophy and suggested programming changes at an ECOM meeting held in January, 1976:
The philosophy of WWUH in regard to programming (past the initial first three years on the air) seems to have been "because we've always done it". (Marcia Simon, a past program director, undertook a survey of the announcers that worked for her. What she found was most people were dissatisfied with the way WWUH was programmed). Most programs are in the slot they're in because they were put there and no one bothered to take them out because people just wanted to do them at the time specified. It is interesting to note, however, that shows were not always in the time they are now in.
"My recommendations as a programming person, for WWUH, are to find a certain type of programming concept (or format, as the word may be, although I prefer concept) and design the programming of the station after that concept. In order to design a concept, it is necessary to ask us, WHAT THE HELL KIND OF AUDIENCE DO WE WANT? and then proceed from there.
"As a programmer, the broken up "half quarter, half programming" now is a ridiculous approach to a radio format. An audience needs a multiplication table, calculator, and wipe'n dries to figure out what's on when. The Program Guide with its limited circulation is no real help. We must be a tightly run, total radio station and not a play toy for about 60 people.
"CONCEPT ONE: "Contemporary Station". This would use the resources of the more than 40 people who can do rock 'n jazz very well to develop WWUH as a prime station for people 20-34. The emphasis on rock during the day, with a variant of contemporary top 40/progressive as the music. Public affairs would be aired from 9-10 am, when people listen to the radio longer, to get more and steadier listeners for Public Affairs. Evening Public Affairs would be aired 6-7 pm so that would not be forced to compete with prime time TV shows, which command a great share of the potential audience. This concept would also utilize a good deal of Jazz, but the major jazz time would be from 7-9 pm, which would enable WWUH to be a major station in bars, (not many) but mostly stores, stereo shop and the like, where we could receive lots of publicity. Weekends would remain the same. This format is very free and flexible and enables programs such as the news show to be feasible. News would be featured on an hourly basis (not on the hour) and be somewhat different than other stations news, while emphasizing "hard news" too. This concept is most feasible because it looks realistically at staff, records, production capabilities, power and how good we will sound. This concept would provide the best sound for WWUH.
"CONCEPT TWO: WWUH as the ALL-JAZZ station in Hartford. This concept would include every type of jazz available in the broadcast day. Early, funky, avante grade, all mixed together with Public Affairs 9-10 am and 6-7 pm. This concept is unfeasible because of untrained announcers who would take months to gather the necessary knowledge for this type of format. Also, our Jazz collection is much too small for this type of format.
"CONCEPT THREE: WWUH as day contemporary or day jazz, nights same as now: partially feasible.
"CONCEPT FOUR: This is the most unfeasible for WWUH A "public affairs"/classics station. To begin with, not enough staff to do the shows. Not enough production time to produce the shows, not enough money to buy shows. This format would sound the sloppiest, and is fairly dumb with both WFCR and WTIC-FM both taking the lion's share of the audience. Under this format it would also behoove us to operate from 6 am to midnight.
"CONCEPT FIVE (fantasy): We could be the NBC NIS (News and Information Station) outlet on FM. Ridiculous to even contemplate."
Another set of suggestions came from Dave DeMaw, who also spoke at the meeting: "We have a basic problem of conflicting ideologies at WWUH. Because WWUH is a college station many think that anything goes. And, because we bill ourselves as the Public Alternative, an infinite number of interpretations arise. One faction believes that WWUH exists primarily to serve the public, thus more public affairs shows are requested. A second faction operates on the premise that students are working at the station without benefit of money or credits in lieu of the radio experience that they will need when job hunting. It is my contention that while we exist to serve the public, we also exist to train students who are interested in a broadcasting career. By offering the public a non-continuous format, we reap a very small audience. Therefore, we are not serving the public at large. Granted, we cannot challenge WDRC or WHCN in the ratings, but we can grab a much larger slice of the pie by taking a close look at our format and by making some major changed in programming. I suggest that we keep the specialty music shows, but air more toward rock and jazz. We should rid ourselves of morning classics and opera Matinee. Public affairs should have a wider scope and should cover the Hartford area. Get rid of the syndicated shows that have no interest but simply fill time. Public Affairs should be aired on the weekends, as done at commercial radio stations. Rock shows should contain ample amounts of the announcer's personality, but certain requirements should be met (e.g., a required play list of new releases)."
The ECOM election was held on February 4, 1976.
Marathon '76 was held in mid March. Two days of the event (March 28 and 29th) were broadcast live from the center court of Hartford Civic Center! A total of $2,752 was received in pledges.
Station budget figures for 1975/76 showed the station $4,441 over budget, with $23,016 spent with only $18,545 allocated.
The major portion of the station's revenue came from the university, with $2,752 pledged during the Spring Marathon (only $1,416 had been collected as of the fall)!
Plans were in the works for a Duke Ellington special to run for four hours during Marathon week, and to have Woody Allen appear during the event!
At the September 1976 general meeting, Mimi reported that Gary Zenobi has been appointed acting News Director, and that Sally Noble was the station librarian. There were open slots are for Program Coordinator, Chief Controller, Director of Development, News Director, Chief Announcer and Business Manager. She also reported that record theft continued to be a problem at the station and that 24-hour notice is required if a staff member cannot do his/her shift.
The station took out two ads in the Advocate in December promoting the station.
The station's annual dinner took place at the Terrace Room at Bradley International Airport on May 6. Don Noel, Jr. senior Eyewitness News staff channel 3 was the guest of honor. Mel Yates GM.
The following volunteers were listed as members of the station engineering department as of April, 1976: John Anderson, Wayne Beebe, Doug Berghardt, Steve Berian, Bob Browning, Henry DeKastrozza, and Joe Ferreira. Tom Gomez, Fred Hull, George Krochin, Chuck Pagano, Neil Portnoy, Joe Spinelli, Joel Salkowitz, Randy Witlicke Chuck Pagano, Joe Rudisch, Frank Nowicki and Larry Titus.
A report on engineering department activities dated April 1, 1976 included the following notes:
New high quality direct drive turntables are being installed, Tom Gomez and Bob Gross are working on Production Studio wiring layout, tour of WTIC studios arranged, along with those of WDRC and. The film "On Solder" that described NASA soldering specs was viewed.
The guy wires on the Gengras tower were replaced, and the tower was galvanized.
In the fall, the ECOM became aware that the owner of WHCN was becoming concerned about what he thought was commercialism on WWUH. WWUH was accused of blurring the distinction between a promotional announcement and a commercial, especially when it came to concert announcements and ticket giveaways.
Veteran Hartford broadcaster Michael Picozzi wrote an article that basically supported the concerns that WHCN management had about commercialism on WWUH.
In 2004, Picozzi related the story:
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Picozzi "I owe it all to WWUH"
The band I was in during college broke up. I could study with that free time but…well there was a radio station starting up. I got a shift then became the Music Director then the Program Director. New college. Shift then Sales Manager then General Manager (a paid position…$25 a week, thank you.) Straight out of college radio (3 stations, 2 colleges, every kind of music imaginable) into overnights at WSAR Fall River. Nights and Production Director. Mornings and Program Director. Now I'm the king of radio. They change formats to all news. I'm gone. Back to the parents' basement in Bloomfield and now everyone's got career advice. "Get a real job". "You should be on WHCN". Wow, I listened to that in high school, they're WAY too cool for a geek like me. I sent a tape anyway; the Program Director never returned my calls. "Review bands for the Hartford Advocate". Now, that made sense. I played in bands. I drink. Go to clubs, imbibe, listen to live music, try and remember enough to write about. I must be the only guy with that idea, right? I send the resume; I make the call. They don't care about my party plans. But, they do want to use my radio experience.
It seems they have noticed WWUH, a free-form college station sounds more and more like WHCN, ("ugh" said with an upturned nose) a commercial station. They noticed similar music, " Why, I think they even did an album giveaway!" I was told in disgust. They wanted to know why and I was the radio guy to find out. Off I ran with my little pen and paper.
The college radio "powers that be" couldn't wait to tell me their story of success. "We tricked the record company"; they said. "Yeah, we're just college kids we don't know any better" (Insert Dr. Evil's evil laugh here.) "What a couple of boobs" I said to myself. They have the opportunity to play anything they want; say anything they want and they're playing the same songs commercial radio is. And doing dumb giveaways. To myself I said all this because while they were bragging, I was writing. "WHCN is scared of us," they blurted out. Oh my God, are they high! Then I was off. "Thanks boobs". I'm off to call the Program Director of WHCN to get his side of the story. Sure, like he'll talk to me. Well, there might have been no returned calls to out of work Picozzi, but Picozzi of the Advocate…he couldn't wait to talk to me. "Come on in, let's chat". Hey, my new best friend.
Basically, he agreed with me. College radio is freedom, no sponsors to answer to, no ratings to mass appeal program for. What a shame to toss that away. College radio is the time for experimenting. Finding new music, finding your voice, finding tomorrows commercial styles and stars. As I was leaving, I said; "by the way…while I'm here…you have my tape." He fumphed around, cleared his throat, and said he'd try and find it.
The phone was ringing when I got home. "Come back, let's talk." "Ah great, he's going to bribe me for a favorable write-up in the article". He told me my tape was good and he offered me a Saturday mid-day shift. I told him I was offered a Saturday night shift elsewhere, he said; "I think you'd be wasted on Saturday night". Exactly! I re-started radio at WHCN, the Advocate printed my story and paid me $15.
As for the college radio guys…thanks boobs!
Station budget figures for 1975/76: $18,545 allocated with $23,016 spent, a $4,441 overrun.
The major portion of the station's revenue came from the university, with an additional $2,752 pledged during the Spring Marathon (only $1,416 had been collected as of the fall)!
At the September 1976 general meeting, Mimi reported that Gary Zenobi has been appointed acting News Director, and that Sally Noble was the station librarian. Open slots are for Program Coordinator, Chief Controller, Director of Development, News Director, Chief Announcer and Business Manager. She also reported that record theft continued to be a problem at the station. 24-hour notice is required if a staff member cannot do his/her show.
Thom Gomez was appointed Programming Coordinator by the ECOM on October 17. Frank Sturgis, who served in Fidel Castro's revolutionary army and later trained Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs Invasion, spoke about the JFK Assassination in the South Cafeteria in an event that was broadcast live on WWUH on the evening of November 22, 1976. (Editors note: Frank Sturgis, also known as Frank Fioni, had been one of the Watergate burglars. Some speculate that he and E. Howard Hunt were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy).
Ten Eighty Corporation, owners of WTIC in Hartford, donated money to WWUH in November to send representatives from the station to the Chicago NAEB convention. Chase Corporation and WTIC also donated two ITC cart playback units and a cart recorder.
WWUH applied for a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council, which would enable a specific public affairs show to originate from WWUH.
1976 STAFF LIST: Steve Keiley
Major headlines in 1976:: Israeli airborne commandos attack Uganda's Entebbe Airport and free 103 hostages held by pro-Palestinian hijackers of Air France plane; one Israeli and several Ugandan soldiers killed in raid (July 4); US Supreme Court rules that blacks and other minorities are entitled to retroactive job seniority (March 24); Nation celebrates Bicentennial (July 4); Mysterious disease strikes American Legion convention in Philadelphia, eventually claiming 29 lives (Aug. 4); Jimmy Carter elected US President (Nov. 2).
Mimi Spillane, General Manager, Operations Director
Joel Salkowitz , Program Director
Jim McGivern, Chief Engineer
Michelle Demas, Development Director
Mark Smith, Business Manager. Music Director
Personnel changes: Joel Salkowitz resigned from Program Director position.
Staff: Michelle Demas, Eric Gordon, Jim McGivern, Mimi Spillane, Joel Salkowitz, Mark Smith, Robert E. Smith
When Hartford's WTIC-FM, which had broadcast classical music for years, changed their format abruptly to top-40 popular music in late1976, many former listeners vowed to do something about it. These listeners banded together to form the Classical Listeners Guild of CT. That organization's only goal was to force the change of WTIC-FM's new Top-40 format back to classical music, at almost any cost. The Guild mounted a letter writing campaign and petition drive but this ultimately made no difference. The Guild than decided to go to the F.C.C. for help, and this resulted in the WTIC-FM license renewal being held up for more than a year. (The F.C.C., in their defense, refused to hear the case based simply on the change in format, but did decide to investigate when members of the Guild pointed out that in their FCC filings, the new owners had said that "they did no anticipate" any major changes in programming!) Because WTIC had been involved in assisting WWUH since day one, the ECOM thought they could make the fiasco a "win-win" situation.
From the February, 1977 ECOM minutes: "The station approached WTIC in January in the hopes of acquiring some of the WTIC classical library. However, in a meeting with Leonard J. Patricelli (President of WTIC), Mimi found that the management of that station would like to see an expansion of classics here if they were to donate some of their library. However, after discussion, there was a consensus among ECOM members that expansion was not feasible because of the lack of qualified announcers to do shows, and the solid line up of jazz programming prohibited a time change for classics, or expansion of existing programs."
Several months later, the situation had changed.
WTIC-FM donated their record library, consisting of over 10,000 classical records to WWUH. They also provided a daily, one-hour taped classical program hosted by Robert E. Smith, one of WTIC-FM's most popular veteran classical announcers that we aired from 5-6pm and they offered to assist in making our signal "equivalent to their FM signal" by offering us an old 5,000 watt FM transmitter as well as engineering help to file an application with the Commission. WTIC no doubt felt that this would be good public relations and would go a long way towards appeasing the Classical Guild. From the start, the management of both WTIC and WWUH knew that there was no hope of giving us a signal similar to WTIC-FM due to the fact that our signal is surrounded on all sides by other stations that had to be protected from interference. However, station management knew that WTIC might be of assistance in helping us increase our signal in other ways. With the acquisition of the WTIC Classical library, and the new listeners gained both through the publicity the donation generated and by the airing of Robert E. Smith's program every afternoon, the ECOM was very concerned about our classical programming and about presenting the best quality program possible. Volunteers were coached in proper pronunciation, jargon and manners.
"Marathon 77", which ran on the air for a week, resulted in 450 people pledging a total of $3,600. Performances by the Hartt Choral and Max Creek were planned for Marathon.
There was a concern on the minds of some staffers, as early as the latter part of the previous year, as to whether our "progressive" rock shows were still progressive. According to the minutes of several meetings, there were also thoughts of cutting the afternoon rock show back to end at 4 pm instead of 5 pm.
1977 saw another programming change: The name of the Recess Rock slot, which had aired from noon to 2 pm for many years, was changed to Midday Fuse to more accurately reflect to increasing amount of fusion (jazz/rock) music being played (in addition, many on the staff thought the Recess Rock name was silly sounding).
"Early Midday Fuse" hosts included Mark Smith, John Ramsey, Fred Hull, Marsha Lasker and Rick Kelman.
This change was the beginning of a trend in the focus of the station's afternoon programming, a change that seemed to reflect the station's slow move towards ever increasingly alternative music programming, and a change that would ultimately (in 1978) result in the combining of Midday Fuse and Afternoon Roll into a single slot, from 1pm to 4pm, to be called Synthesis.
Several live performances were aired from Bushnell Park during the summer
The station broadcast the New England Fiddle Contest which resulted in an excellent article about WWUH's involvement with the Contest in the Hartford Courant's Sunday section which included a photo of the engineering staff "in action" at the park.
The series of summer broadcasts culminated in a broadcast of The Paul Winter Consort in September. The show took place on a wonderful late summer evening. Many of the volunteers present that evening clearly remember the strange and wondrous feeling they felt when Paul Winter somehow was able to get nearly everyone in the audience to howl like wolves into the chilly fall air the end of one composition. Another highlight of the performance was the utilization of recorded whale-song in one of the songs.
The public affairs program "None of the Above," produced by volunteer Eric Gordon, and was terminated by the ECOM on March 4, 1977 "because of language utilized in a recently aired radio play". According to station records, the show and producer had been suspended for a month previously due to the airing of "offensive" language, material that was most likely in violation of F.C.C. rules. The termination came as a direct result of the producers negative comments about WWUH in the Advocate and after his refusal to abide by FCC and station policies as determined by the ECOM. Also, the "internal strife at WWUH as a result did not merit the continuation of the show." (From March '77 minutes).
Community Ascertainment was undertaken with the help of the school's Communications Department. The FCC required quarterly ascertainment, which involved teams of students making hundreds of phone calls to area residents in an effort to "ascertain" community needs.
According to the March 4, 1977 minutes, a radio listening survey conducted by a UH class showed that WWUH captured 6% of the listening audience with 72,000 out of a possible 1.5 million listeners.
UH President Dr. Woodruff was the guest of honor at the WWUH Banquet on April 24, 1977.
The United Press International wire service was dropped, with Associated Press picked up in April 78.
The station's technical plant at this time needed quite a bit of work. While the RCA transmitter that had been in use for close to ten years at WWUH was reliable, the studio experienced frequent failures. The production studio was a disaster; build around a board that actually overheated and smoked occasionally!
The ECOM made the decision to upgrade the studio and Chief Engineer Jim McGivern installed a new Autogram 10 channel console in the production studio in the fall. This greatly enhances the station's production capabilities, and soon new PSAs and promos were heard on the air.
Major headlines in 1977: Scientists identify previously unknown bacterium as cause of mysterious "Legionnaire's disease" (Jan. 18); Carter pardons Vietnam war draft evaders (Jan. 21); Supreme Court rules that states are not required to spend Medicaid funds on elective abortions (June 20).
Walter Miskin (and later Steve Nichols) as General Manager
Marsha Lasker-Operations Director
Walter Miskin, Program Director
Mark Smith-Business Manager
Patty Kurlycheck-Development Director
Jim McGivern, John Ramsey, Chief Engineer
Marty Peshka -Production Director
Bill Kaplan-Production Director
Fred Hull-Music Director
Dan King (Kriwitski)-News Director
Staff: Deji Ayinde, Pat Beckford, Joel Blumert, Thom Bolan, Burrito, Carolyn Carlson, Chuck Carter, Mike Crispino, Phil Deangelis, Michelle Demas, Dave Demaw, George Michael Evica, Francis Dillion, Mike Farrell, Mort Fega, Dennis Gagne, Diane Goldsmith, Sylvia Guglietti, Shelly Hassman, Joel Hofman, Bob Holdswirth, Ruth howell, Fred Hull, Irving Jones, Wayne Jones, Bill Kaplan, Rick Kelman, Mike Kirvan, Dan King, John Klupsak, George Krochin, Darlene Kruse, Patty Kurlychek, Tom Laroche, Marsha Lasker, Stu Lovejoy, Pete Margeson, Melonae McClean, Paul McGuiness, Charley Midura, Sally Noble, Chuck Pagano, Greg Paternostro, Abe Perlstein, Marty Peshka, Neil Portnoy, John Ramsey, Alison Rasmussen, Richard Ray, Maurice Robertson, Lloyd Robinson, Annette Salvucci, Billy Samboy, Bob Scherago, Robert E. Smith, T.J. Smith, Roger Stauss, Chris Stevens, Ed Stivender, Joe Terzo, Rick Virello, Terry Weichand, Jeff Winn, Andy Zeldin. Faculty Advisor: Ed Nelson.
Walter Miskin resigned from the position of Program Director on December 1, 1978. Steve Nichols assumed the position. Marty Peshka was appointed Production Director. Dan King (Kriwitski) was appointed News Director in October 10, 1978.
In early January '78, WWUH made arrangements to air Pat Metheny live from Mad Murphy’s Cafe on Union Place in Hartford. Four station volunteers (Mark Smith, Alyson Rasmussen, Sylvia, and John Ramsey) set out on the 3 mile journey from the campus to the club in the snow at noon on the day of the broadcast, wanting to get to the club early enough to set up the radio broadcast equipment. They didn’t travel more than about a half-mile before they were held up in traffic that was stuck in the storm, as the snow got deeper and deeper. It took eight hours for the remote crew to make it to the club and by that time, not only had the artist cancelled (Metheny was stranded in Boston), but the governor had closed the state. All of the downtown hotels were booked solid, so the intrepid remote crew was invited to spend the night at the nightclub. The owner said “we don’t have much food in the house but the booze is free for the night!”
A programming highlight occurred in January of 1978 when WWUH produced and aired a live broadcast from Mad Murphy's Cafe in Hartford featuring jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. This was the second attempt at the Metheny broadcast, the first attempt failing because of the aforementioned blizzard. On the date of the first scheduled Mad Murphy's Metheny broadcast, the remote crew, consisting of Alyson Rasmussen, Sylvia, Mark Smith, Jim McGivern and John Ramsey, became snowed in while setting up at the club the governor closed the city. The night they spent at Mad Murphy's café was one to remember!
The Metropolitan Opera contacted WWUH in the spring to see if the station would carry the Met for their 1978/79 season. The ECOM agreed to carry the Met. Even though the opera was already being aired on Connecticut Public Radio, the folks at Texaco (the sponsors of the Met) had determined (correctly) that CPR's signal was not adequate in the Hartford area and that our signal would help server the greater Hartford area. The ECOM considered the program a real "feather in our cap" and thought that it would enhance the station's image and provide alternative programming to the community. Stereo program lines were installed in October, and the Met debuted on WWUH for the first time on Saturday, November 7.
Adding the Met to the station's line-up required a major compromise in programming since the Opera preempted the very popular four-hour Focus on Jazz slot. Even though the Met was broadcast on several other southern New England stations (WFCR in Amherst as well as CPR) our broadcast was the only stereo broadcast of the opera, a fact that many listeners appreciated, as demonstrated by the phone calls and letters received. The picked up the cost for the two 15 KHz lines which brought their stereo signal to the station from a Hartford downlink.
In the spring, the University requested that the station mention the University of Hartford more often on the air. The ECOM quickly adopted a policy requiring the top of the hour ID to mention UH. This was especially significant as it was the first time the university had asked the station to do something specific on the air.
During the summer of 1978, a series of jazz concerts sponsored by the Community Renewal Team, were broadcast live from Bushnell Park. These concerts included performances by artists Bill Evans, Pat Metheny, Toots Thielsman and others. In addition, a number of the Thursday Peace Train night concerts from the Park were aired as well, featuring artists such as Maria Muldaur, Pat Metheny, B.B. King and Tito Puente.
Over 30,000 people attended the New England Fiddle Contest, which also took place in Bushnell Park. The fact that WWUH was airing the concert live was mentioned hourly from the stage, assuring that many of the people who had to leave before the end of the event could still listen in. Throughout the day, staff members walked around the park interviewing audience members. These recorded comments were incorporated into the broadcast. In fact, the entire ten-hour broadcast was originated completely from the park, without relying on sending the broadcast back to the studio at all! This was made possible by careful advance planning, and by the use of two cart machines at the park. Listener response to the broadcast was very favorable, with many folks calling to say that while they weren't able to go to the event, they were able to feel as if they were there since they could listen to it on the air.
The station started once again to have two newscasts a day, one at noon and one at 4 pm. These segments, called "In The Hartford Interest", originated from the small studio next to the air studio, which had been turned into a news booth, complete with a microphone, mixer and cart machine. In the early years, the studio had been used for WWUH-AM.
The quality of the newscasts varied greatly early on and they got better as the semester progressed, but everyone involved got an "A for effort". Early on, most of the copy came from the AP teletype at the station, but an effort was made to incorporate more local stories and to cover stories that the local commercial media didn't, so many newscasters started researching and writing their own stories. Some music announcers delighted in trying to distract the newsperson during a live newscast by making faces, gestures and other various antics. It is a credit to the dedication of the new staff that these antics didn't disrupt the newscasts, at least not to the extent that the audience would know it. However, it wasn't unusual for the practical joker to be chased down the hallway the moment the newscast ended.
In the fall, a live broadcast was produced from the Hartford Stage Company, featuring the band Spiral, in concert. This band was unique in that their instrumentation consisted of "sound sculptures", objects of art designed to be both visually pleasing sculptures and aurally pleasing musical instruments. Created by the Bachet Brothers from France. One of the instruments looked like a birdbath on a pedestal! This piece had long glass-like tendrils rising vertically out of the water and the instrument was played by the musician dunking their hands in the water and the stroking the tendrils which produced a sound not unlike running a wet finger around the edge of a fine wine glass. The pieces were on loan to several area musicians. Needless to say, our engineer had to learn to "mike" these instruments for broadcast, which was a real challenge.
The fall brought staff discussion of a possible name change for the All Night Show: "Afterburn," "Nightwatch" and "Nocturnal Emissions" were considered and then rejected by the staff, not necessarily because the names were not good, it was just because no consensus could be had.
The idea of merging the station's weekday afternoon shows, "Midday Fuse" and "Afternoon Roll," into one show was again discussed. The staff did not support this change, in part because five volunteers would lose their slots. Another concern was that the resulting four-hour shift would be too long for an announcer to handle.
Due to a lack of qualified staff members interested in filling the slot, the Friday "Sounds of the City" soul show was eliminated and replaced with "Accent on Jazz" in December 1978. This resulted in a significant amount of mail from our soul listeners and a petition from some staff members, but the fact was that no one on the staff was interested in filling the slot.
In mid-January Connecticut was hit by the "blizzard of the century" which shut down the state for several days. WWUH stayed on the air throughout, staffed by three volunteers, Allison Rasmussen, Mark Smith and John Ramsey, who were literally snowed into the Gengras Student Union for three days. The snowdrifts were up to the second story windows. For the first twelve hours or so, the volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having the radio station all to themselves. However, sometime in the second day of the event, two things happened: First, they realized that they were unable to leave the building because none of the outside doors could be opened because of the snow drifted up three to four feet high in front of them! Luckily, none of them had claustrophobia. Second, they ran out of money. They had been eating out of the vending machines on the first floor of Gengras, which at that time consisted of a number of machines that dispensed all sorts of goodies. There was a machine that dispensed candy, another soft drinks, another for ice cream, a fourth coffee and another for things like hot dogs, tuna sandwiches and even microwave popcorn (which had recently made its debut in the consumer marketplace). The food that the volunteers consumed from these machines while they were trapped in the building while certainly not nutritionally redeeming but it kept the hunger pangs away and probably provided the caffeine and energy necessary to operate the station hour after hour. Public Safety came to the station's aid by ferrying in food to our volunteers, who produced over 72 hours of programming between the three of them.
It would have been great if someone had recorded the programming produced by these volunteers, but the important thing was that the station remained on the air for the duration of the blizzard.
Marathon 78 was held February, and featured parties in the Pub with rock band Max Creek, the Latin Jazz band Talking Drum and a fusion band by the name of Upside Down. All of the concerts were broadcast live. The 1978 t-shirt was red with white lettering (the logo) on front.
In an effort to make marathon pledge processing more efficient, a five-part carbonless form developed for marathon pledges. The top portion was the part that the operators wrote the caller's information on. Part two was the first reminder, which could simply be pulled out and put into a window envelope. Part three was the second reminder, with wording reflecting that fact. Part four was a Thank You and Acknowledgement of the donation.
As the members of the station's ECOM were confronted by apathy (and sometimes hostility) from various University departments, they decided that steps had to be taken to improve the station's image on campus. The ECOM made a commitment to present a much more mature and professional image to the university, and to promote the university as often as possible on the air. The result of this effort was the development of decent working relationships with the majority university departments.
A disgruntled student staff member sent a letter to the UH administration alleging rampant marijuana use at the station. The allegation included the ridiculous claim that the student was refused membership in WWUH because he didn't smoke pot! Campus security followed up by interviewing ECOM members individually and found that there was no cause for action. Just in case, the ECOM reminded the staff of the "no smoking" policy at the general meeting in November.
The ECOM reviewed the types of station suspensions. A suspension could either be "off air" or "off promises". An off air suspension would be given to someone who had violated FCC rules or station policies directly relating to on air operations. An off promises suspension would be given to someone who jeopardized the safety or security of station operations or station staff.
The engineering department personnel worked hard pouring over terrain maps and working with Faculty Advisor Ed Nelson in the hope of putting together an FCC application to allow the station to increase power. By using "roughness correction" factors they attempted to prove that our signal didn't really go as far as the formulas say it did due to terrain blockage. Thousands of points were plotted and curves analyzed. Before they were ready to file, the F.C.C. abandoned the practice of accepting roughness correction factors for FM stations, leaving the station with little hope of a power increase.
When Jim McGivern passed his first class license test in early summer of 1978, he became chief engineer and immediately went to work trying to upgrade the station's facilities. Jim accomplished a number of significant projects and presided over a number of live broadcasts. Unfortunately, his diligent efforts as chief engineer were cut short by a full time job offer from WTIC, which he accepted. Jim continued his efforts as chief engineer at WWUH for several months while working full time at WTIC, and stepped down when John Ramsey got his license in October of 1978.
The engineering department was faced with a number of serious challenges, including: the conspicuous lack of engineering records or documentation of any kind; various university departments which were apathetic or worse, openly hostile to WWUH, because of their previous experience with the station; a technical plant that could barely pass the F.C.C.'s minimum technical standards and absolutely no redundancy in system design (no back up systems).
A program of documenting as much of the engineering department's work as possible was immediately started. The old maintenance log form was scrapped in favor of a new log form, which provided much more space for detailed descriptions of the required weekly transmitter inspection. A system was also developed to document all of the new wiring.
Major headlines in 1978: The US Senate approves Panama Canal neutrality treaty (March 16); "Framework for Peace" in Middle East signed by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin after 13-day conference at Camp David led by President Jimmy Carter (Sept. 17); Jim Jones's followers commit mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana (Nov. 18);US Supreme Court in Bakke case, bars quota systems in college admissions but affirms constitutionality of programs giving advantage to minorities (June 28).
Patty Kurlychek-General Manager
Marty Peshka-Operations Director
Rick Virello and Rich Aubin-Program Director
Tina Podlowski-Development Director
Doug Maine-Business Manager
John Ramsey-Chief Engineer
Bruce Smith-Community Affairs Director
Paul Zulpa-Assistant Chief Engineer
Jim Fifield-Music Director
Rich Aubin-Program Director
Joanne Bilotta- Classics Director
Paul Robertson, Jim Fifield - Music Directors
Andy Winters and Lisa Polski, co-News Directors
Jeff Wynn and Chris Watson - Program Schedulers
Staff: Charlie Allen, Laurel Aronstemm, Rich Aubin, Deji Ayinda, Joyce Bass, Jeff Becker, Pat Beckford, Bob Bowser, James Brown, Sharon Burchfiel, Dave Burkhart, Burrito, Carolyn Carlson, Tina Colada, Martha Cohen, Mike Crispino, Phil DeAngelis, Ron DeFord, Dave Demaw, Vijay Dixit, Bill Dougal, Jim Douglas, Bob Edgar, Ron Elliot, GM Evica, Mike Farrell, More Fega, Carol Fournier, Howard Frydman, Tom Goehring, Diane Goldsmith, Tony Grant, Lee Green, Hector Hannibal, Shelly Hassman, Joan Hoffman, Sue Heske, Ruth Howell, Fred Hull, Margaret Johnson, Wayne Jones, Bill Kaplan, Rick Kelman, Brian Killiany, Dan Kriwitsky, Patty Kurlychek, Marsha Lasker, Doug Maine, Gary Margolin, Leo Matos, Jim McGivern, Peter Michaelson, Walter Miskin, Peter Moon, Scott Munsey, Steve Nichols, Nat Needle, Greg Paternostro, Paul Payton, Jackie Peart, Abe Perlstein, Roger Perrin, Marty Peshka, John Ramsey, Alison Rasmussen, Wally Remes, Mark Rinas, Mark Roberts, Maurice Robertson, Paul Robinson, Sam Rogers, Gordon Roland, Joel Salkowitz, Billy Samboy, Dottie Shami, Mark Smith, Mike Soltoski, Lee Sparapani, Roger Stauss, Ed Steivender, Joe Terzo, Brian Twiss, Terry Weichand, Helen Wassel, Jeff Winn, Roger Wright, Vic Vince, Rick Virello, Dave Von Kleist, and Andy Zeldin.
As usual, there were a number of personnel changes throughout the year. Jim Fifield was appointed Music Director, and he put in an enormous amount of effort through August when he had to step down. Paul Robertson took over the MD job from Jim. Chris Watson took over scheduling from Jeff Wynn in September and became Program Director in January. Bruce Smith resigned from the Community Affairs Director position in August citing lack of time. Ward student Tina Podlowski was appointed acting Development Director and Joanne Bilotta was appointed Classics Director in August.
During the spring, a group of volunteers lead by Ed Stivender started producing a weekly program called "Myth America". This program featured original dramatic, satirical and comedy works, and featured some excellent production techniques. One of their most memorable productions was a song entitled "Nothing Ever Happens in Hartford" which they put out on cart immediately after the collapse of the Hartford Civic Center roof. This satirical song quickly became a favorite among our listeners, and for a while was the most requested song on the station.
The Saturday programming line-up as of April, 1979 included Focus on Jazz from 11 am to 4 pm, Myth America from 4 pm to 4:30 pm, African Worlds from 4:30 pm to 5 pm, Portuguese programming from 5 pm to 6 pm, West Indian Rhythms from 6 pm to 8 pm and Sounds of the City from 8 pm to12 midnight. Geetanjali, a program of Indian music, was scheduled for the Friday 8-9 pm slot.
The annual WWUH Banquet was held at the Ramada Inn in East Hartford. Arnold Klinsky, New Director of Channel 30, was the guest speaker.
Live broadcasts of the CRT jazz concerts again took place during the summer. WWUH had been doing live broadcasts from Bushnell Park for several years prior to 1979, but the quality of these broadcasts left much to be desired. This was due to the poor quality of the remote equipment, the previous staff's unfamiliarity with the technique of live sound broadcasting, and the tendency to treat these remotes as parties by station staff. All felt that these live broadcasts should be something to be proud of from both a programming and technical standpoint.
Operations Director Marty Peshka and Chief Engineer John Ramsey, along with Jeff Winn, Doug Maine and other volunteers, produced 14 live concerts from Bushnell Park during the summer of 1979. Included in the line up were such diverse artists as Stephane Grappelli, Maria Muldaur, John Hartford and Doc & Merle Watson. The last two concerts included a live simulcast with Connecticut Public Television!
The station also broadcast the 6th Annual New England Fiddle Contest from Bushnell Park on May 26th.
At the start of one of the live broadcasts from Bushnell Park there was an interesting "incident" that is humorous in hindsight. John Ramsey writes:
"During summer, the air studio was undergoing renovation so all programming was being aired out of the Production studio. There was a live, call-in show on the air right before the start of the remote broadcasts from the park, and everything was fine at first. The board operator at the studio got the park feed on the air just fine, and on-site announcer Doug Maine was just starting to welcome the listeners to what he was sure to be an outstanding evening of live jazz. I was the engineer at the site, and I was listening to the first minute of the broadcast on the air when I heard in my headphones "Hi, WWUH" followed by a listener asking a question about when the station's music director would be in! It didn't take more than a second for both Doug and I to realize what was going on, The board operator had forgotten to turn off the phone feed in the studio after the last show, and he was taking routine phone calls and putting them on the air by accident!
Poor Doug, there he was trying to do an ad-libbed live introduction, and all of a sudden he was hearing a telephone call loudly in his earphones. I was worried that he would stop talking, which would be a natural reaction, but which would have made the problem even worse since the listeners would be hearing just the phone call, and silence when the caller hung up. Doug did not stop talking which would have been a normal reaction. He didn't even stumble as he described the show that was about to begin. Doug did something that only a seasoned veteran announcer would ever think of doing. He simply took off his headphones (so that the phone call wouldn't distract him) and kept on with his announcement!
I grabbed the phone and started calling the station Hot Line number. As the phone was ringing, I was thinking of the best way to get the board op to realize what had gone wrong. I had to identify myself, and then tell him specifically what the problem was and how to correct it. Trouble was, with such a common first name, I realized that I would have to give my last name as well so that he would not think that I was a prank (the board op didn't know there was a problem since he had turned down the speakers in the studio at the start of the broadcast to answer the phone).
As I was thinking all of these things, with the telephone to one ear and one side of my headphones to the other, I heard the board op say "Oh, I've got another call, I've got to go" in the phone ear followed almost immediately by "Hi, WWUH" IN BOTH EARS (both on the phone and on the air!). I used the board ops name and said "Dave, this is John Ramsey, the phone is on the air, turn off pot ten". Both the listeners and I heard this, and they heard his confused reply, "What did you say?" I paraphrased myself and said "Dave, this is John Ramsey, this conversation is on the air, turn off pot number ten" to which he responded "Oh Shit!" before he turned off the phone feed. The thousands of WWUH listeners who were tuned in for the evening's jazz performance heard this entire exchange. It was not uncommon for listeners to record these live broadcasts back then, if anyone has a tape of the start of this broadcast, I would love to hear it."
In addition to the CRT Monday night jazz concerts, the station broadcast the Peace Train concerts on alternate Thursday nights.
In the fall, arrangements were made with the Talcott Mountain Science Center to provide weather reports to the station! It was arranged for their meteorological department to call the station twice a day (at noon and at 4 pm) to feed weather reports over the phone for use over the air These segments would provide basic weather forecasts developed by the students at the school, and they would also have an emphasis on astronomical events. These feeds were recorded for playback during the afternoon and evening.
In June, WWUH acted as the point of origination for an interview for the Australian Broadcasting Company on the topic of Franco-Russian writer and revolutionary Victor Serge. Dr. Richard Greenman, assistant professor of French at the University and an authority on Serge, was in our studio for the program, while the interviewer and host of the program were in his studio, in Sydney, Australia! The two stations were interconnected via phone lines and satellite circuits.
In December, the station started a series of live evening jazz broadcasts from the 880 Club in Hartford called "Jazz Alive!" Volunteer Mort Fega was the host, and the series featured such performers as trumpeter Ted Curson. Gene Bertoncini and Bobbi Rodgers, and audience reaction was very favorable to the Monday night broadcasts.
An interview with rock drummer Bill Bruford was recorded via the phone and aired on both the Synthesis and Jazz programs.
Because of concerns about staff moral, a questionnaire was handed out by the ECOM at the November general meeting, with the request that it be filled out candidly (and anonymously) by staff volunteers. A review of membership on 11/28/79 listed 10 members eligible to vote in station elections (to be eligible to vote, volunteers had to be full time UH students who had attended the last two general meetings.
Students Andy Winters and Lisa Polski were appointed co-News Directors in November. They worked well together and shared the responsibilities of the position.
Bill Domler approached the ECOM in November about doing a weekly folk show. The ECOM was very enthusiastic.
During the spring, the station was given the opportunity to move its offices from down the hall to the area directly across from the studios. While this move didn't increase the usable space that was available, it did provide two more rooms. The room directly across from the studio was designated the office, and the small room attached to this the inner office for the General Manager and Business Manager. Just down the hall was a newsroom (later to become the jazz library) and another large room, which became the large classical library.
The station moved into the new offices on July 1st, 1979.
A Champagne reception for WWUH Classical listeners was held at the A.S.K. house on Prospect Avenue on February 16th.
Marathon goal was set at $20,000. Premiums included yellow with blue sign wave logo T-shirts for a $5 pledge, and Guide Subscriptions for a $10 pledge. As part of Marathon, Myth America appeared live on Monday Accent on Jazz, the Hartt Jazz Band appeared on Tuesday, Dave Ramsey and his big band played for the wine and cheese party in room G, the Hartford Arts Ensemble was aired live on Thursday and live bluegrass was carried on Saturday. The event ended with a party on Sunday featuring the band Talking Drum in the Cafeteria.
Marathon returns total $22,500!
Throughout the late seventies and early eighties, the Marathon phone room was located in Gengras Room D, which provided a great view of the Hartford skyline.
At the April 1979 general meeting, the candidates for the various ECOM positions presented their platforms:
Marty Peshka, running for Operations Director, spoke of his knowledge of non-commercial radio. He said that he wants to smooth out the problems and get everyone working together.
Doug Maine, a sophomore in the Communications Department, who running for the Business Manager position, admitted that it was a tedious job, but felt that he could handle what needed to be done.
John Ramsey, running for re-election as Chief Engineer, stressed preventative maintenance of the equipment, and said that he would run on his past performance.
Rich Aubin was nominated for the Program Director position and felt that he would be "good for another 12 months".
Marsha Lasker, one of the two candidates for General Manager, said that she wanted to keep the station ideal the same: WWUH should be a place to learn radio. She would work for a more creative learning environment. She was against a paid management for the station (something that had been discussed in passing during the past year).
Patty Kurlycheck, the other candidate running for the General Manager position, spoke of four pressing issues she would address if elected: The proposed rewrite of the Communications Act in Washington, the long sought after power increase for WWUH, eliminating the crisis management mentality of the ECOM, and improving the communications among ECOM members and with the staff.
Randy Borowsky withdrew his name when it is determined that he cannot run because he is not a student at UH.
Student Bruce Smith, who was running for the newly created ECOM position of Community Affairs Director, spoke of the station's tradition of serving the local community, a tradition that he hoped to continue.
The election of the following ECOM members took place on April 5, 1979:
Patty Kurlychek-General Manager
Marty Peshka-Operations Director
Rich Aubin-Program Director
Doug Maine-Business Manager
John Ramsey-Chief Engineer
Bruce Smith-Community Affairs Director
(Bruce became the first person to hold that newly created position).
In an open letter to the ECOM dated April 12, 1979, Steve Berian summarized the station's previous year and looked to the future:
". . . In the previous year, we were saddled with a GM who chose to function as a committee chairman. That had both positive and negative effects: it caused or at least opened the door for achievement by and acknowledgement of sub-ordinate ECOM members. Operations of the station fell squarely on the shoulders of the Operations Director. She handled it the best she knew how, albeit sometimes with haste, sometimes without consulting all the other ECOM members, sometimes missing appointments and meetings. DON'T forget--she was learning!
"Mark (Smith) did the organization a tremendous favor by being Business Manager. He added a crystal clear facet of logic to its operation. He is to be credited with keeping us solvent . . .
"Patty came up through the ranks and radiated her capabilities from the start. She mastered the Development Department in the shortest time I've seen it done. She too asked questions: acquired knowledge. She demonstrated a marked ability to learn - FAST. She was integrally involved in Marathon - to the station's clear benefit.
"John and Marty stepped into an engineering department with Jim McGivern that was a shambles. This trio, later to become a duo with the loss of Jim to WTIC, was responsible for implementing the cleanest signal with the cleanest paths that we've known in several years. John and Marty compliment each other . . . They work as a team - a point to remember and apply at several levels of thought concerning UH as an entity.
"We knew Rick Virello as Program Director for only a short time. He came out of the shadows - an untried leader - one that had not, at the time, demonstrated but a fraction of his capabilities. Leaving us, Rick was replaced by Rich Aubin . . . a fast learner who can be counted on for good, well thought out decisions.
"Throughout the year, two people have been ever hovering in the not-too-deep background. Walk Miskin and I have tried to teach our comrades how to cope with the intricacies of their respective positions, their relations with one-another and those with the outside world. We have explored the microcosm of station management with them as well as the macrocosm of its effects.
"At some points we were told to go away: something that we had expected, indeed wanted to have happen. However, we never went so far that we couldn't be reached. . .
"We have lost considerable ground in some areas of University politics in that we are being viewed as more of a "student" organization despite our cosmopolitan membership. Though a delicate issue, we must face it and regain our posture as an organization non-dependent on the office of the dean of students. We have demonstrated capability to manage our own entity, not without faults, but considerably better than some other university departments over a ten year record of volunteer staff and management.
"We must come out of our holding pattern style media membership and again assume the point position. We have come to be regarded as leaders in area radio - not merely college radio or public radio. We are an acknowledged threat to all radio in this market.
"We must continue in that frame - strive to be alternative to all radio commercial and non-commercial; strive to enlarge our audience base; strive to improve radio programming.
"I am confident, as are my colleagues, that we can do it."
There were technical problems with the remote broadcasts from Business Park during the summer due to the limited quality and flexibility of the remote equipment. Realizing the programming value of these broadcasts (no other station in the state was doing live music on a regular basis); management felt it was important for the station to acquire better equipment.
In keeping with goals, parts were purchased in the fall of 1979 to build an eighteen-channel microphone splitter that would allow interfacing with the stage microphones so a broadcast "mix" could be done. Hours were spent building the splitter, which cost close to $1,000 in parts! In the following three years, renting the splitter to Connecticut Public Television during those periods when we were not using it brought in more than twice that amount.
Motto, a fusion band, and Cocinando, a Latin-jazz band were chosen to play at the summer picnic, which took place on the lawn in front of the Gengras Student Union.
The Hartford Courant ran an article that praised the efforts of the station and mentioned the excellence of the remotes from Bushnell Park (and the convenience of being able to listen at home, as Owen McNalley, the writer, was sick and had no other way to review the performance).
With the goal of improving the fidelity of the station's signal while at the same time installing as much redundancy as possible, it was decided that the air studio had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. Not only was the equipment and wiring in poor condition, but also the carpet, the walls and ceiling were in terrible shape. Since the renovation of the air studio meant operating the station out of the production studio for several months, the renovation of the production studio became first priority.
A new 10 channel Autogram board had been installed in the production studio in mid 78, but because the station was pressed for both time and money, the installation left much to be desired. The new board sat on an ordinary table, and the studio lacked such basic features as direct drive turntables and a patch bay. The ECOM decided that the renovations should be done right this time, with adequate time and money allocated to the project. The station's staff was easy to convince, and thanks to a successful Marathon 79, money was made available.
The actual construction work on the production studio took place during the Christmas '79 school vacation. The station was very lucky to have Paul Zulpa, an EE student at UH, assist Chief Engineer John Ramsey with the work. Paul's previous electronics experience, his ability to see a job through to the end, and his incredible ability of producing, on a moment's notice, just about any tool or part that was needed, helped the project along. Paul convinced a friend to donate his time and woodworking abilities to the project. The result was professionally built counters to hold the equipment.
Since most of the major equipment was on hand already, the station only had to purchase a few pieces of equipment (two direct drive turntables, a distribution amplifier, a small microphone mixer, and JBL monitor speakers). The studio was designed and built to be functional and rugged, with enough flexibility to allow for future expansion. Ease of maintenance and repair was of primary concern, as was simplicity of operation. All of the wiring was fully documented.
Along with the equipment and wiring renovation, a suspended acoustic tile ceiling was installed and fluorescent lights were replaced with incandescent lights on a dimmer circuit. This was in keeping with the philosophy of making the studio esthetically pleasing as well as functionally efficient.
The station was off the air for 48 hours toward the end of the year because of major transmitter problems involving high voltage bypass capacitors in the final stage. This long duration outage, along with several other STL-related equipment failures around the same time, made staff realize the importance of equipment redundancy. The engineering department set out to specify, design and install back ups for all major sub-systems: transmitter, exciter, STL, processing and studio. Since the station's volunteer staff was making such a major commitment to the station, management felt it was only fair to commit a portion of its financial resources to ensuring redundancy, so volunteer efforts wouldn't be wasted should a major piece of equipment fail.
As part of the station's arrangement with WTIC about Classical Programming, WTIC had offered us a used 5,000-watt FM transmitter for us to use for our power upgrade. The transmitter was very old, and it was unlikely that we would ever need it, so we asked WTIC to sell it for us. They did so and we received $2000 for it.
The U-H Radio Pub Night held in October netted $215 for the station.
Realizing the importance of students to the station's mission, the ECOM would undertake a recruitment drive on campus each fall. Student recruitment efforts in 1979 included a meeting for interested people that was attended by close to 60 students, a campus WWUH "Pub Night" featuring the band Sol Rubin, and participation by the station at the Student Leader's night and the Student Organization night.
During the period when the production studio was being rebuilt, most public affairs programs were aired live out of the air studio. For those programs that had to be taped in advance, a reel recorder and mikes were installed in the office to allow programming to continue almost interrupted.
Over the years WWUH had garnered a lot of support with area commercial broadcasters. WTIC had been a supporter for years, but WDRC, right next door in Bloomfield, also helped WWUH from time to time.
The following story is an example of WDRC's generosity:
In July, we were given only 12 hours notice that WWUH would have to vacate the building for at least 24-hours so that it could be fumigated (apparently the cafeteria was having a bit of a problem with bugs). Rather than leave the air for more than a day, WDRC came to our rescuer with a loan us their mobile studio for the weekend! WWUH broadcast from that studio, which was parked in front of the student union, for over 48 hours. Because the record library couldn't be moved, all the announcers had to pull their music in advance. The fumigation also happened to coincide with the annual WWUH birthday picnic causing numerous additional complications but one big plus - we were able to broadcast from right in front of the crowd that was attending the picnic! Because of time limitations, staff could not get the transmitter remote control to work from the portable studio, so an operator had to be posted at the transmitter site for 48 hours! Staffers Bruce Kampe and Tom Bolan volunteered for transmitter duty, and spent many hours sleeping in the woods "babysitting" the transmitter!
Major headlines in 1979: Shah leaves Iran after year of turmoil (Jan. 16); revolutionary forces under Muslim leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, take over (Feb. 1 et seq.); Carter and Brezhnev sign SALT II agreement (June 14); Iranian militants seize US embassy in Teheran and hold hostages (Nov. 4); Soviet invasion of Afghanistan stirs world protests (Dec. 27); Ohio agrees to pay $675,000 to families of dead and injured in Kent State University shootings (Jan. 4) and Nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island, Pa., releases radiation (March 28).
The ECOM at the start of the year consisted of:
Patty Kurlychek-General Manager
Marty Peshka-Operations Director
Chris Watson-Program Director
Doug Maine-Business Manager
Tina Podlodowski-Director of Development
John Ramsey-Chief Engineer
Department heads included: Paul Robertson - Music Director; Joanne Bilotta - Classical Director; Sharon Burchfiel - Sales Director; Leora Sparapani - Program Guide Editor; Anne Minicozzi -Traffic Director; Lisa Nash, Andy Winters - News Directors, Dale Maine - Production Director.
The staff list, taken from the June 1980 Program Guide: Bob Ames, Mary Anderson, Lauren Aronstamm, Rich Aubin, Jeff Becker, Pat Beckford, Jeff Blanchette, Brooks Blanchard, Sharon Burchfiel, Carolyn Carlson, Michael Clare, Tina Colada, Mike Crispino, Dave Demaw, Vijay Dixit, Marissa Donza, Jim Douglas, and GM Evica. Mort Fega, Felix, Jim Fifield, Greg Fontaine, Peter Frederikson, Tom Goehring, Diane Goldsmith, Donna Goodwin, Hector Hannibal, Susan Heske, Ruth Howell, Margaret Johnson, Wayne Jones, Bill Kaplan, Dan King, Keri Kucmeroski, Martial LaRoche, Marsha Lasker, Leo Matos, Jim McGivern, Rob Meehan, Peter Michaelson, Eric Miller, Joyville Morris, John Mueter, Reynolds Onderdonk, Jackie Peart, John Ramsey, Alison Rasmussen, Brad Regaglia, Wally Remes, Mark Rinas, Maurice Robertson, Mike Rojek, Billy Samboy, Jeff Segla, Dottie Shami, TJ Smith, Gene Solon, Roger Stauss, Ken Steen, Rod Steier, Andy Taylor, Sue Terry, Joe Terzo, Craig Tryon, Vic Vince, Chris Watson, Terry Weichand, Steve Williams, Tim Wolf, Dave Yudkin, Andy Zeldin and Paul Zulpa.
The "Notes from the General Manager" article in the February Guide:
Patty Kurlychek wrote about the issue of FCC deregulation, lamenting the fact that the requirements that restrict the number of commercials per hour, that require commercial stations to broadcast news and public affairs programming, and that require stations to conduct formal studies to "ascertain" the needs of their communities (so that they could air programming addressing these needs) would soon be a thing of the past.
Radio deregulation was the subject of many station meetings, and the ECOM was determined to continue WWUH's tradition of alternative excellence. WWUH should be a place where listeners could turn to hear programming that was truly alternative.
The history of WWUH would not be complete without mentioning the impact that two unique books had on the future of the station during this time period. The books were "Playing In The FM Band" by Stephen Post and "Sex and Broadcasting" by Lorenzo Milam.
John Ramsey recalled:
"Post wrote about his experiences as General Manager of WBAI in New York City during the late sixties, when Pacifica's flagship station was in its infancy. The passion he displayed for non-commercial radio rubbed off on many UH staffers who read it at the time. Post believed that station managers and programmers were stewards of a frequency, and that their job was to make sure that the frequency was being used for the public good. He considered college/community radio as a huge experiment in individual expression in the pubic arena. There was no doubt that Mr. Post was in awe of the importance and power a well run non-commercial radio station could have in a community.
"Sex and Broadcasting" had the phrase "A Handbook for Community Radio" on its cover and it certainly served that purpose at WWUH. The author had founded a number of community radio stations on the west coast in the sixties, and was considered by many an expert on alternative programming. Some WWUH volunteers who had been doing what they thought were alternative shows for a number of years on WWUH were shocked to find that they only recognized a few of the "Best Alternative Recordings of All Time" listed in the book While some of the things outlined in the book seemed outlandish, I think that everyone who read the book looked at the station and at their programs in a new light after being exposed to Milam's world of radio. .
"By the end of the year, we had to photocopy all three hundred pages of Milam's (out of print) book since the original was so worn from being passed around between staffers. Together, these two tomes helping many volunteers realize how an alternative station really can become a major part of a community and that individual programmers could make a difference.
"Keep in mind that not all members of the staff took the time to read either of these books, or agreed with the ideas expressed in these books. There is no doubt in my mind that these two controversial books had a dramatic impact on the future of WWUH. They were the subject of many discussions at the station since there were still some people on the staff who thought that WWUH's primary purpose was to train students in the art of broadcasting. Others thought that WWUH should give some of the commercial stations a "run for their money" by offering the same type of programming found on the commercial stations but without any commercials."
The station's renewed commitment to serving the public manifested itself in part through the station's presentation of a number of specialty show in the 8-9 pm, Monday through Friday time slot. These programs included: Insight by Jackie Peart , Con Salsa, a Latin show with Billie Samboy, Women In Your Ear, produced by a local Women's Collective, Sharon Burchfiel's Artist's Corner, Assassination Journal with George Michael Evica and Geetanjali, Indian Music with Vijay Dixit. The drama of Sherlock Holmes rounded out the weekday evening lineup.
Community affairs programming was a priority in 1980, and an emphasis put on issues not covered by the mainstream media.
One such issue was the danger posed to all of humanity by nuclear weapons. WWUH had a long and proud history of airing programming aired at informing the public about nuclear issues, a subject that affected everyone in one way or another but that the mainstream media seemed blind to. The syndicated series "Shadows of the Nuclear Age" was run during the fall in the noontime Public Affairs hour. This program was acquired from the Pacifica Archive and dealt with a variety of related issues, including the Pentagon's scramble to develop "first strike" nuclear weapon systems such as the Trident submarine and the MX missile.
The station featured a seven days of Women's programming in July, in conjunction with the UH Woman's Collective.
The fall 12 noon - 12:30 weekday public affairs lineup was as follows: Monday-Sherlock Holmes (syndicated from the BBC), Tuesday-"Frog Hollow Review" (a locally produced poetry show), Wednesday-Assassination Journal, Thursday-West Indian Public Affairs (locally produced), and Friday-Astrology Almanac. The evening slots saw the addition of "Gay Spirit" on Thursday nights and a Spanish Public Affairs show called "Latin Affairs".
The ECOM met with Rob Meehan in September 1980 to discuss his ideas for a radio show. They liked his proposal and agreed that a half hour show about Gay and Lesbian issues would make a welcome addition to the station's Public Affairs line up.
Mary Anderson, a student from the state of Maryland, became News Director, and immediately went to work building a staff for the noontime news broadcast called "In The Hartford Interest". These newscasts initially relied on the AP wire for information but as the year went on the news staff started developing sources of their own and covering local and state stories frequently ignored by Hartford's other media outlets.
Weekend specialty shows included Poesis and Modulacao Cultural, both on Saturday afternoon.
The artists featured on the Midweek Spotlight series on the Midday Fuse show in January and February included Hartfield and the North; Sammla Mammas Manna, Pekka Pohjola, Yochk 'o Seffer and Alan Holdsworth, Jan Akkerman, Gary Boyle and John Abercrombie.
From the January 4, 1980 minutes:
"A folk show may be substituted for FM In Bed from 6-9 am."
The program "Conversations," produced by Roger Stauss and Mike Crispino, featured interviews with guitarist Pat Metheny and Alto and Flute player Frank Strozier in February.
Mbira, a program of world music hosted by Tim Wolf, aired on Sunday afternoons at 4:30.
When Arista Records mailed a notice to non-commercial stations stating that they would be charged $300 per year for promotional copies, station management went wild! They felt that once Arista got away with this, other companies would soon follow and station's like WWUH would be unable to afford to pay for records they were currently getting for free. The ECOM saw this major threat to college radio.
Calls to Arista management were made to explain the fact that stations like WWUH would not be able to afford the cost of what amounted to a subscription for promotional copies but these calls did little to change Arista's new policy.
The ECOM decided to discuss the situation with other stations in similar positions, and after many phone calls and networking the decision was made for WWUH to spearhead a "boycott" of Arista products: As long as the company insisted to charging a fee for promotional service, the stations participating in the action would not play any Arista recordings, new or old. Husker Du, Patty Smith, Carly Simon were just a few of the artists who's music would not be heard on WWUH or any of the other dozen or so stations that were participating in the "boycott". WWUH got great coverage in local and national media on this boycott. Shortly after word got out, we got a call from the Connecticut States Attorney's Office. WWUH was advised in no uncertain terms to cease and desist. While individuals may participate in a boycott, organizations may not join together to do so. This would be a violation of anti-trust and fair trade laws. WWUH was told to distance itself from the boycott immediately. It was also informed that this was a courtesy call since the Attorney General's task is to enforce these laws, not warn people about them.
General Manager Patty Kurlychek met with University General Council Charles Condon and a representative of the University's law firm about the Arista boycott situation and found out that there was nothing that WWUH could do other than back out of the boycott movement and hope that Arista wouldn't press charges! We then issued a statement saying that we were undertaking unilateral action only.
The unilateral action we took against Artista nevertheless worked, and they dropped their promotional service fee.
When the production studio renovation was completed in January of 1980, several weeks were spent training the staff. The new studio was built around a sturdy wooden console topped with Formica. Room was provided for guests, who when seated, would face the producer, facilitating an interview setting. A stereo mixer was installed to allow up to six mikes to be used at once, and the phone system was tied into the board so that callers could be incorporated into the programming.
Along with the FY79/80 Budget and Financial Forecast, Business Manager Doug Maine wrote:
"Marathon '79 brought us clear evidence that we are filling a need in Hartford radio: $22,500 in revenue. Indeed, we have still not received our long heralded power increase. Yet our aggregate audience demands that we continue to provide alternatives to commercial radio programming available in the region. Just one example: our summer remote broadcast jazz series, enhanced by equipment purchases . . . have been very warmly received by the public.
"We seek therefore to enlarge our operations, especially our commitments to Community Affairs, Jazz and Classical programming and technical excellence. The vibrancy and responsiveness our staff and management will ensure the continued dynamic performance that has come to be expected of WWUH"
In February, the station's Marathon activities included live performances and broadcasts of Latin Jazz band Cocinado, Jazz Pianist Don Pullen, Blues artist Albert Otis and the Homewreckers and the swing sounds of Julie Bass. David Allen (founder of Gong) was also brought to the University for a WWUH benefit. Daevid Allen performed solo and was accompanied by tapes. His concert was very poorly attended, and the financial loss we incurred dampened the enthusiasm for doing concerts for quite a while.
Sharon Birchfiel, who had submitted a successful application for a "Meet the Composer" grant, arranged the Don Pullen concert. I kind of remember having a decent turnout for that one. Mr. Pullen played solo piano, wore bells around one or both ankles for percussive effect and performed two sets of single set-long pieces.
Marathon pledges collected as of September totaled $17,101.00.
The minutes of meetings clearly show that the ECOM was concerned about the rising cost of putting on a Marathon. Marathon '81 was projected to be close to $5,000! Some of the costs included T-shirt production, pledge form printing, typewriter rental, phone installation, pledge and premium postage costs and envelopes.
U of H President Trachtenberg, a long time WWUH supporter, sent the station a letter in February complaining that UH was not mentioned on our T-shirts and bumper stickers. While some members of the staff felt that the university should pay for the articles if they wanted their name on them along with "ours", the ECOM decided that this was a reasonable request and decided to comply.
The Annual WWUH Staff Banquet was held Friday, May 2 at Farmington Woods. The guest speaker was Joe Celli, the director of Real Art Ways in Hartford. During the formal part of the evening, Joe spoke for a few minutes about the importance of WWUH as an independent voice and as a station that put a priority on the art of music. Then he put on a twenty minute solo performance for the staff, using tapes and a short wave receiver, accompanied by his voice!
Wayne Mulligan (VP WDRC) and Lee Steele (Chief Engineer, WRCH) were special guests at the event. Wayne was there because he had arranged for the loan of the WDRC remote truck when we were fumigated out of Gengras over the summer and Lee because he was instrumental in setting up the donation of a Collins exciter to the station. While both of these gentlemen knew that the station offered alternative programming, they weren't quite prepared for Joe's avant-garde performance.
Arrangements were made for local station WRCH to donate a used Collins exciter to the station. Since the exciter unit serves as the very heart of a FM transmitter, having a second unit was a very good thing.) This unit was sent back to Collins to be rebuilt and was used to replace the problematic Wilkinson unit which the station had purchased in 1971. This gave us a redundancy in exciters.
The rebuilding of the production studio was a valuable experience for the engineering staff as no one on the staff had ever built a broadcast studio before.
When the engineering staff completed the production studio rebuild in early1980, they had a short time to relax a little before tackling the air studio renovation. They found relaxation in the form of a live concert series that was broadcast from Bushnell Park in the summer of 1980 that featured such acts as Milt Jackson, Stephane Grappelli, Bobby Hutchenson, Sun Ra, Sam Jones, Clifford Jordan, Maria Muldaur, Bill Hardman & Jr. Cook and Woody Shaw! All of these concerts, which occurred on Monday and alternate Thursday nights, were broadcast live on WWUH, much to the delight of our listening audience. During intermission, the headline artist was often interviewed live from the park.
In an effort to improve the quality of the remote broadcasts over other years, discussions were held prior to the start of the season and recommendations were solicited from the staff on how to make the broadcasts better. Just about everyone agreed that the party atmosphere at the remote site in past years detracted from the quality of the broadcast and interfered with the ability of the remote crew to do a professional job. Therefore, the ECOM set up strict guidelines for on-site volunteers, including no drinking. The station's remote staff started the season determined to produce as professionally sounding programming as possible.
The dedicated phone lines connecting the concert site at Bushnell Park with the studio were a never-ending source of trouble during the summer. It took a visit to the transmission department of the phone company by our engineering staff to get these problems straightened out.
The success of Marathon '80 meant that the air studio renovation could go ahead as planned, and an 8 channel Autogram board was ordered in early spring. The new console would be nearly identical to the production console, making staff training easier. Staff also planned and installed solid counters to hold the equipment, replacing the old counter work, which had seen better days. New speakers, new phono preamps and a distribution amplifier were also purchased.
Since space had always been a problem in the air studio, the decision was made to remove the two walls that formed the "news booth" in the middle of the studio. The booth was used only occasionally for news, and had become the catchall of miscellaneous junk. Removal of the walls would mean an increase in usable studio space of approx. 40 percent, making the studio square instead of L shaped. The university Operations and Maintenance department did the demolition job, as well as the installation of new carpet, ceiling tiles, ductwork and electrical wiring. The four pane sound proof window from the booth was salvaged and moved in to the front wall of the air studio, allowing the operator on duty to have a view of the hall for the first time. Operations Director Andy Winters convinced his uncle to install new carpeting on the walls for free, and fortunately the carpenter who did the production counter work for free volunteered to do the same thing in the air studio since he was a friend of engineer Paul Zulpa's.
All programming during the renovation was done out of the production studio.
Air Studio construction was bogged down by delays in the work being done by the campus Operations department during the summer, and dragged into the fall semester. Frustration with Operations reached a climax when the station received their bill for carpeting the 100 square feet of the new air studio for $4700! A quick check revealed that this was the bill for carpeting the Suisman Lounge.
The station's 12th Anniversary picnic was held on July 13th, and featured live performances on the Gengras lawn by Northern Rhythms, Billy and the Buttons, The Anglion Audio Theater and the Sue Terry Jazz Band. The entire day was broadcast live from the outside stage.
September brought the students back to the campus, and with them several technically inclined volunteers willing to help with the Air Studio project. Freshmen Dave Viveiros, Dave Gardiner and Dan Steeves all joined the Engineering Department, and all three were quickly put to work helping with the wiring of the new studio. In fact, these new recruits accomplished most of the studio wiring. Both Dave G. and Dave V. remained actively involved with the WWUH Engineering Department for over ten years.
Work on the air studio was finally completed in early October 1980. Staff reaction to the new studio was uniformly positive. The new studio offered the following features: lots of room for guests, handicapped accessibility, 3 different types of dimmable lighting, much more room for record storage, a new board, and fully documented wiring. In addition, the fact that there was now a window from the studio that looked out at the door added a lot to the facility.
It's interesting to note that all of the station's rock and jazz recordings could fit on a 12 by 7 foot wall in the air studio in 1980. Our small bluegrass and urban library was housed in the production studio, and the classical records we got from WTIC were housed in a room of their own down the hall.
Ever since the transmitter had been moved to Avon Mountain a mysterious soft whistle sound could often be heard on the air. It would could come and go, and had plagued the station for years and defied many attempts to find it. Engineering decided to track down the cause of the noise, and after several dozen hours of troubleshooting, finally traced it to interference at the tower site from channel 3's signal which was causing interference to the first local oscillator in our STL receiver in Avon.
The first cassette deck was installed in the air studio at the request of the staff. This made it possible for us to play the large amount of new and local music we received on cassette.
Dickey Robinson on WRCQ interviewed Wilde Wayne Jones, host of Rock and Roll Memory Machine in January.
The Hartford Hellions offered to pay line charges in order for us to carry their games. According to the minutes of the ECOM meeting where this was discussed, this idea was turned down by the ECOM as "not alternative".
The station sponsored a pub night in October with Trudy Silver's jazz band. The event was well attended by students and community members alike and netted $110 for the station. During these pub nights, station announcers took turns making announcements from stage, and T-shirts and albums were given away.
Community ascertainment was done during the summer for the license renewal, which was due at the Commission on December 1. Ascertainment procedures required that volunteers make hundreds of phone calls at random to households in our listening area to ascertain the ten most pressing problems facing the community. These surveys were required by the F.C.C., and we had to make a showing on our license renewal application describing how we were addressing the issues on the air. The major problems identified were, in order, crime, education, and integrity in politics, housing costs and the environment.
The University had given the station a loan in the mid 70s, to be paid back at an interest free rate of $500 a year. The payment term was renegotiated to go through '83.
Leora Sparapani brought lots of creativity and color to the monthly program guide during her term as Guide Editor. The staff loved working with her since she was always willing to lend a hand with writing or layout of articles.
Joanne Bilotta, a community volunteer, was Classical Director for the first part of the year. Jeff Blanchette, a student of the Hartt School of Music, followed her. Both of them worked hard coordinating the classical department, keeping the massive classical library organized, and making sure that the classical listings were submitted to the Program Guide on time each month.
"Astrology Almanac" aired for the first time in November in the Friday noon slot. The 30-minute live show featured astrological discussions, readings and answers to telephoned-in listener questions. Audience response was quite good, although a number of staffers questioned the validity of the program. There were also questions about whether this show belonged in a pubic affairs slot.
At the September 9 ECOM meeting, several staff members presented a proposal to combine the "Midday Fuse" and "Afternoon Roll" slots into one show to make room for a new 12 noon - 1 pm Public Affairs hour. The first 20 minutes of this new slot would be devoted to local news, followed by 10 minutes of specials like "In The Public Interest" and "Star date". The 12:30 - 1 pm slot would be reserved for locally produced public affairs shows.
The proposal also included the creation of a new afternoon music show; to be called Synthesis was warmly received by the staff. Although this new show would take the place of both Midday Fuse and Afternoon Roll, most of the staff thought it was worth it. The ECOM hoped the Synthesis should emphasize fusion and world music, and other styles of music that weren't being played elsewhere in our schedule. In essence, it was to be "the alternative's alternative".
The original hosts for Synthesis were Mark Rinas on Monday, John Ramsey on Tuesday, Michael Claire on Wednesday, and Carole Brosseau on Fridays. Thursday was initially an open slot reserved for student hosts. The new show first aired on November 3, 1980.
WWUH had always shied away from religious programs. The consensus was that there were a number of other radio stations in the area that aired religious programming, so such programming was not "alternative". There was also the feeling over the years that religion was a personal thing, and that as such WWUH would not broadcast regular religious programs. Note that over the years a number of religious "specials" were aired, these were one time shows presented as part of a community celebration of such events as Quanza, Three Kings Day, etc.
A new Christian music show was proposed by a member of the community, and accepted, with the understanding that the host would not be allowed to preach. While listener reaction was very favorable, it wasn't long before the host started making religious commentaries on the air. He was reminded several times that he sound "let the music" speak for him, but his commentaries quickly started sounding like sermons. As a result, he was called into an ECOM meeting. When he refused to stop preaching, his show was cancelled and his membership was revoked.
Metropolitan Opera broadcasts started on December 6 and ran through April 21. A strike that was settled just before the airdate might have forced the broadcast of recorded Operas for a good part of the season. We received the opera through a pair of stereo telephone lines from the satellite down link at CPTV. Although the Opera was available on several other stations that were audible in Hartford, many listeners preferred our strong stereo signal to the mono signal of WFCR in Amherst or the weak, noisy signal of Connecticut Public Radio's Middlefield transmitter.
In the fall of 1980, we received a call from Elton John's manager. Elton was in town for show at the Hartford Civic Center, had been listening to WWUH all afternoon and had asked his manager to see if the station wanted to set up an interview with him. Patty took the call and said as diplomatically as she could that while she was delighted that Mr. John liked the station, we would have to decline the offer of an interview. The manager didn't want to take no for an answer and persisted, and Patty told him that we wouldn't do the interview since it would most likely never make it on the air! Patty did her best to explain that the station's philosophy was to play alternative music, and that while WWUH had indeed played lots of Elton John's music when he was an unknown artist, we had stopped playing his songs since he had become successful. Needless to say the manager was left speechless. What the manager didn't know was that the person on the air at the time refused to interrupt his show for an interview with such a mainstream musician.
When word got out to the staff that we had turned down an interview with Elton John, some thought that we were crazy. There were divided opinions as to what we should have done with the interview. Some folks thought that we should have done the interview and made someone play it on the air, while others thought that we should have taped it as a courtesy but not air it. But, according to the minutes of a Sept.18 general meeting, most of the staff agreed with the decision not to compromise our programming principals, even for a famous artist such as Mr. John. However, we did receive fallout about the decision from various record company reps in the weeks following the incident although quietly a number of record reps said that they had a new respect for WWUH's independence.
Several staff members returned from the annual National Student Broadcaster's Convention with the feeling that WWUH was "light years ahead" of the other stations in attendance. Most of the other stations seemed quite commercial, and used commercial programming gimmicks on the air. Many stations didn't seem to realize that they had a commitment to the community off campus as well as on. Program Guide subscriptions numbered about 650, with 1,000 additional guides distributed around the area by Jim Douglas. Wendy Weichand was appointed Guide Editor in June.
Volunteer Carol Brosseau, who spent months reorganizing both the rock and jazz libraries, was appointed acting Director of Development in November.
Carol immediately went to work making plans for Marathon '81. This included the airing of carts asking listeners to submit designs for the new t-shirt. Listener kits, consisting of a shirt, guide subscription and bumper sticker, were to be offered for a $25 donation. A decision was made not to broadcast the bands that would perform at Marathon because it was felt to be too disruptive of our regular programming, and counter productive to the fund raising process.
The T Shirt was tan without logo but front and back printed. Lowercase call letters on front, drawing on back of old radio with different programming bubbles coming out of it.
The decision making process about the color and design of the yearly T-shirt was always interesting when left to the staff and this year's discussion of the several different designs submitted for the 1981 shirt was no different. The staff had voted 35 to 8 in favor of a black shirt over an orange shirt after a lengthy and somewhat heated debate. The shirt offered in Marathon '81 would be black with yellow balloons, with different types of programming written inside each balloon.
Underwriters on the books as of November were Capitol Record Shop (Wed. Gothics and Friday Morning Jazz), Fantasy Factory (Friday Gothics), India Assoc. of Greater Hartford (Geetanjali), Wagon Shed Restaurant (Monday Night Rub), Fisherman's Marker and Golden Realty (Cultura e Vida).
Marissa Donza, class of '81 wrote:
"My very first radio show was hosting FM On Toast in the Spring of '80. At that time those slots were very free form but shortly after I started, one by one, every "Toast" turned into a morning Folk show. So Tuesday stuck out like a sore thumb - or rather - "the middle finger" that it was . . . loud and raunchy and filled with the rebellious punk music of the day; Elvis Costello, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols. Well, one particularly frusterating morning after about two months of fielding request from folk fans who obviously weren't listening, I christened my slot "The Folk-Off" show during a break! Rob Banks, program Director, who happened to get into the office early that day, came into the studio and nervously told me that I couldn't call my show that - too offensive or something. But it stuck, it captured the spirit of the show and the folk announcers were great sports throughout the duration of the show".
Dave Gardiner recounted another story from 1980:
"I can remember being at a staff meeting and someone complaining about waking up to AC/DC at 6 am; over in the corner Marissa Donza was hiding her head saying "Was that me?"
Major headlines in 1980: Ronald Reagan elected president in Republican sweep (Nov. 4); six US embassy aides escape from Iran with Canadian help (Jan. 29); US breaks diplomatic ties with Iran (April 7); Eight US servicemen are killed and five are injured as helicopter and cargo plane collide in abortive desert raid to rescue American hostages in Teheran (April 25). Background: Iran Hostage Crisis; Iraqi troops hold 90 square miles of Iran after invasion; 8-year Iran-Iraq War begins (Sept. 19); F.B.I.'s undercover operation "Abscam" (for Arab scam) implicates public officials (Feb. 2); US Supreme Court upholds limits on federal aid for abortions (June 30).
Patty Kurlychek, Dale Maine-General Manager
Andy Winters, Chris Watson - Operations Director
Dale Maine, Lisa Polski - Acting Business Manager
Doug Maine, Doug Zimmerman - Community Affairs Directors
Tina Podlowski, Carol Broussau-Director of Development
Sue Terry-Program Director
John Ramsey-Chief Engineer.
Other managers included Paul Robertson, Marissa Donza, Teri Kuchmeroski as Music Director, Brian Killany as Scheduler, Jeff Blanchette, Rob Meehan-Classical Director; Wendy Weichand as Guide Editor, Gary Brenner, Tracy Leuteritz-Traffic Director; Mary Anderson-News Director; Daniel Steeves-Production Director.
Chris Watson was appointed Operations Director in June when Andy Winters had to resign. Chris picked up where Andy left off, and immediately went to work. Chris was an ideal Operations Director, he could troubleshoot problems quickly, whether they were technical or procedural, and he was particularly adept at helping to improve staff moral.
Wendy Weichand was appointed Guide Editor and lent a professional touch to the production of the Guide. The cover of the January issue of the Program Guide was dedicated in the memory of John Lennon who has been murdered on December 8th. The issue featured the lyrics of the song "Imagine" on the cover, and Guide Editor Wendy Weichand wrote a eulogy that was printed inside.
The issue also included excerpts from Lorenzo Milam's book Sex and Broadcasting. Subjects included "How To Terrorize Your Local Broadcaster" which explained how to get commercial broadcasters to be more responsive to their local communities by looking in their public file and "…using the Fairness Doctrine to get on the air."
WWUH was voted "BEST RADIO STATION" in the Hartford Advocate in September. This was a major triumph since this was the first time that the Advocate had a "Best Of" section and WWUH had won "Best Radio Station", as opposed to "Best College Station", a category that did not even exist in 1981! The title provided no distinction between commercial and college station so we were in the running along with the large commercial stations in the area. We were given advance notice of the award, allowing us time to place a quarter page ad in the "Best Of…" issue thanking the readers for voting us number one and promoting our alternative programming.
We heard that our winning the "Best Station" award angered a number of the commercial stations, including those who were regular Advocate advertisers. As a result, the Advocate created a "Best College Station" category to go along with the "Best Radio Station" category.
Nationally, 1981 was a year that saw a renewed interest on the part of the FCC in indecency. The ECOM studied the issues carefully, and decided that our Public Affairs programs fell under the F.C.C.'s exemption for programs of a "scientific, medical, legal, etc." nature. The consensus was that "Dirty" words presented, as part of a responsibly presented news or public affairs program should pose no problem for us, both because they were exempt from the law and because they were easily justified. Entertainment show announcers were urged by the ECOM to be careful of musical lyrics containing the "seven dirty words". Songs where such words were easily recognized should not be played when children were likely to be in the audience, which the ECOM defined as between the hours of 6 and 12 midnight. No WWUH announcer was allowed to say the words on the air.
The ECOM was always concerned about commercialism on the air, and as a result the station's underwriting policy was modified in August eliminating the line describing of the business. Underwriting announcements, given twice an hour, would contain the name of the business and the street address, city and state. In addition, the ECOM deleted the multitude of different underwriting rates for different shows and time slots and replaced them with a single, flat $10 per hour fee. It was felt that even with the extra low rates overnight ($2 per hour); no one would be interested in underwriting those shows. This was based on experience.
The station's Community Affairs Department kept up the tradition of excellence by presenting a series of special programs in 1981.
The political situation in El Salvador was the subject of a number of programs during the year. A special two-hour live program on the situation was aired in an afternoon Synthesis slot. Moderated by George Michael Evica, the program featured several local professors and the head of the US State Department Working Group on El Salvador, who appeared on the show via telephone from Washington. People listening to the show heard a thorough discussion of the crisis, with the Administration's point of view being offered by the State Department spokesman. About 90 minutes into the show the spokesman was asked by Dr. Evica whether or not the US State Department had ruled out murder of one or more of the country's political leaders as a possible solution to the crisis? Dr. Evica had tossed out the question expecting a "stock" answer, but he, and the many people tuned in to 91.3 were shocked when the State Department's spokesman paused for a few seconds and then responded "murder had not been ruled out!" This meant that the State Department was considering the assassination of foreign leaders, something that was clearly a violation of US Law. Moments after this statement was made on the air, the telephone call was interrupted and the line went dead. Attempts to raise the gentleman from the State Department continued for close to an hour, but to no avail. The spokesman would not take our call!
Coverage of the crisis in El Salvador continued with the broadcast of a campus forum on the situation in April.
Later in the year, Professor Evica moderated another in-studio forum on the safety of the Millstone Nuclear Power plants in Connecticut owned by Northeast Utilities. The live program was heavily promoted and aired in an afternoon Synthesis time slot. Participating in the program were two members of the Union for Concerned Scientists, a group that had questioned the safety of the Millstone plants, and two representatives from Northeast Utilities; the director of nuclear operations and the chief engineer of the Millstone One plant.
The program focused on the alarming number of incidents at the plant that had been reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the fact that the NU had received unprecedented reprimands and fines from the NRC for safety violations at both Millstone and their Connecticut Yankee atomic power plant in Haddam.
Toward the end of the program, the NU engineer referred to the reactor containment dome as being the "first and only line" of defense should the reactor experience a "worst case" loss of coolant accident, which he said would result in a build up of highly radioactive steam to a pressure in excess of 2,000 pounds per square inch inside the dome. He was asked by one of the reactor safety experts if the domes had ever been or were periodically tested to this pressure, and the NU spokesman said in a condescending voice "of course, we can't do that". He was then asked if any pressurization testing had ever been performed on the dome at the plant, and the NU engineer said that the domes had been tested, but only to a pressure of 20 pounds per square inch! When challenged as to why they only tested the dome to 1/100th of what would be experienced in an actual accident, the NU spokesman replied "because we don't want to damage the dome".
Realizing how bad that sounded, both NU employees got up and walked out of the studio while the show as on the air live leaving the remaining participant's, and more than a few listeners, dumbfounded.
Like most cities in the northeast, Hartford had experienced a crisis of affordable housing during the decade. WWUH took the problem head on by adding the "Housing Crunch", a half hour weekly public affairs show dealing with housing issues and hosted by John Merino to the public affairs noontime schedule in March. This show would be a mainstay of WWUH's daytime public affairs programming for a number of years.
John Merino produced a five-part, locally produced forum on Housing Issues, which aired in November. He was joined by co-hosts Abigail Sullivan from the Hartford Courant, Mary Messina from The Herald and Cynthia Jones from The Hartford Advocate. Guests included the State Commissioner on Housing, the directors of various neighborhood housing services and representatives from Housing Code Enforcement programs from several area towns, including Hartford. The program generated a considerable amount of press.
The ECOM turned down an offer from Real Art Ways (RAW) to broadcast a 48-hour special on John Cage. They were intrigued by the idea, but considered it to be too disruptive to the station's schedule, especially considering that the broadcasts would take place over a weekend and displace a significant amount of the unique specialty programs. The ECOM came back with an offer to do a program of a more realistic length, such as four hours, but RAW was not interested. According to the minutes of an ECOM meeting, Joe Celli, director of Real Art Ways, was disgusted when informed of our decision!
The station sponsored a Woman's Radio Conference in the spring, attended by 14 people from the community who came to learn more about WWUH and the Hartford Woman's Radio Collective, based at the station.
General Manager Dale Maine tried something very different on the Thursday at noon slot. He was the host of a new program called "The Editorial Page". The program focused on a single issue of public interest each week and followed a call-in format. Many of the callers asked about various aspects of WWUH operations.
Pacifica Radio station KPFA in San Francisco, expressed an interest in syndicating our Assassination Journal program, produced by George Michael Evica.
The ECOM considered a proposal to expand the weekday evening public affairs slot to two hours from one. The proposal would have had Public Affairs from 8-10 pm, Accent on Jazz from 10 pm - 2 am, and Gothics from 2 am - 6 am. This was found to be unacceptable for several reasons, including the loss of the All Night Show, a prime training ground for new announcers (since the ten weekday overnight shows would be cut to only five), the difficulty of finding Jazz hosts who could do the new shift, and the difficulty of finding Gothic announcers who wanted to come in at 2 am to do a four hour show.
"In The Public Interest" was the name of a 3-minute commentary that the station had received for free for years from the Fund for Peace in Washington, DC. Each episode of the program covered a different issue of public interest. Audience reaction to the short feature was consistently positive. The syndicated short-form program "Mother Earth News" was aired on a daily basis.
Doug Zimmerman, Community Affairs Director wrote in the April Guide:
"The environment, energy, unemployment, education, transportation, the concerns of the elderly and handicapped-these are important issues that touch us in one way or another, issues that alternative community radio (WWUH) should address."
The summer saw WWUH continue the tradition of live broadcasts from Bushnell Park, although volunteer staff became less and less enthusiastic as the weeks wore on. Security staffing at the park had been cut back drastically, and the city was beginning to experience its first gang problems, which were quite visible on Monday nights at the park. This was the station's sixth continuous season of live broadcasts from Bushnell Park and the summer's line up include Performances by The Paul Jaffrey All-Stars, Clifford Jordan, Bobby Kay Big Band, Toots Thiemann, Tito Puente and Pat Metheny highlighted the Monday and Thursday night live broadcasts from the Park.
The station, along with the host of the program "Son Burst" and the Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship, sponsored a concert featuring the band Abraham and Moses, on January 24 in Lincoln.
The station cosponsored a workshop by and for women with the Hartford's Women's Radio Collective. The workshop was held at the WWUH studios on March 21.
Record theft had always been a problem in college radio, and WWUH was no exception. The extent of the problem was very hard to measure, since a misfiled recording would appear to be stolen. More than once a volunteer would release a verbal tirade at a General Meeting about a missing album only to be told by another staff member that the album had just been found, misfiled in the library!
The ECOM had done research on the subject to see what other stations were doing to combat record theft: Not surprisingly, they found that the problem was indeed universal, and that there was a wide range of things other stations had done to deal with it.
Some stations thought that theft was inevitable and that it was the price that was paid when using a volunteer staff! Other stations felt that the problem was directly related to staff moral. The idea was that a better trained and motivated the staff, with people involved in doing more than "just their shows", would be the less likely they would steal. Some pundits even went so far as to say that if a record was stolen, it just proved that that recording was too popular for an alternative station like WWUH to play.
The ECOM realized that they had to walk a fine line when dealing with the problem since it was assumed that only a small percentage of the staff was responsible for the losses. Accusations and drastic measures would only serve to poison the air and would not deter those who were set on stealing. There were as many proposed "solutions" to the problems as there were explanations of why it occurred. Some stations locked up each genre's library, and announcers would have to sign out a key at the college's public safety office at the start of their show. Other stations required that all announcers log an inventory or count of the records at the beginning and end of their shifts, something that was unpractical at WWUH since we had over 20,000 recordings.
The ECOM discussed the record theft issue at a staff meeting. They reviewed some of the steps other stations had done to address the problem and asked for staff ideas. Suggestions included our hiring of a full-time librarian to "check out" the records, and idea that was unpractical to say the least, installing a retail store type "point of purchase" alarm which would cost thousands of dollars and allowing staff to borrow albums as they pleased!
In the meeting, the ECOM stressed to the staff that the fact of the matter was that once a record was lost, it was gone for good. The thief was depriving not only the staff of the record, but was stealing it from future listeners.
Nearly everyone present at the meeting thought those caught stealing should be punished severely, with expulsion from the station as a minimum punishment, but some felt that having them arrested was too strict. The ECOM chose to be very careful in dealing with the subject with the volunteer staff: often they felt that they were "preaching to the converted" when discussing the subject at staff meetings. Obviously, only a small percentage of the staff would ever consider stealing from the station.
Various methods were tried over the years in order to minimize the problem and/or catch those responsible. These methods included: peer pressure (asking other staffers to keep their eyes open), ensuring that all of the station recordings were clearly marked, surprise spot checks of announcers leaving the building, before and after inventories of the new bins and surveillance cameras in the hallways. Late in the year, the station's staff voted to make mandatory arrest the station policy for persons caught stealing from the station, and in the years ahead two staff members would be arrested for record theft.
The ECOM remained concerned about a university "media advisory board" that was being discussed on campus. WWUH had always operated with a great deal of freedom and autonomy, and had split from the student government association in the early seventies in an effort to ensure the station's independence. Some media advisory boards at other colleges had been disasters, and it was not unusual for these organizations, which tended to specialize campus issues, often did not recognize the importance of stations like WWUH since they were used to dealing with media outlets whose only audience was on campus.
At a general staff meeting in April 1981, it was agreed that we would no longer give tickets away for or promote shows at a local rock club due to the club's mistreatment of patrons, which was documented fully in an Advocate article, and witnessed by many WWUH volunteers.
A rebuttal was submitted to the Hartford Courant for a March 13 article they ran about Connecticut Public Radio dropping their local news shows. They quoted CPR General Manager Midge Ramsey as saying that they were the only station in the state playing Classical music.
The Met Opera was aired from Dec 5 - April 17. The introduction of the first broadcast of the season must have used the word "Texaco" at least a dozen times in five minutes and many staff members and listeners found this blatant commercialism objectionable. Letters of complaint were sent to Texaco and the Met Opera because of the promotional nature of the wording of sponsorship announcements aired during the Saturday broadcasts. The wording was promptly changed.
A proposal from the staff to change the FM On Toast slot from rock to Folk was received favorably by both the ECOM and the much of the staff. Both Bill Domler and Joel Blumert, who have already been doing folk on Toast shows, supported the idea. This proposal was met with opposition from the rock staff. The ECOM decided that the change would be made on a show-by-show basis, in other words, no one would lose their rock shows in that time slot, but when the volunteer was no longer able to continue to do their show, they would be replaced with someone who was willing to play folk and acoustic music.
Marathon '81 ran from February 15 through February 22. The event brought in $24,998.00 in pledges. As was tradition, the event started and ended with Wayne Jones' Rock and Roll Memory Machine on Sunday evening.
Planning for Marathon started about six months prior with the selection of the t-shirt. Practically everyone on the ECOM was involved with getting ready for the event. This year, securing the mandatory liquor permit for the Marathon party in the pub was harder than ever due to changes in state law that involved such things as insurance certificates and inspections by the fire marshals office.
The week's musical events included the kickoff party with the new wave band Modern Look, an open house with Albert Otis Blues Band on Tuesday, and an end-of-marathon party with Sue Terry's Jazz Ensemble.
Andy Zelden once again came to the station's aid by helping to design Marathon ads for the Advocate. Andy, who had joined the station in the mid-70s, remained a dedicated volunteer, helping with Marathon premiums and doing jazz fill-ins when called upon.
Statistics for 'Marathon '81' revealed the event brought in $24,998.00 in pledges, and that the highest pledging show was U-H Radio Bluegrass hosted by Jim Douglas, which brought in $1555.00. The ECOM made a point of not being concerned with individual show totals as long as the announcer did his or her best and the goal for the week was met. However, sometimes-individual totals became issues between various staff members or between genres. The ECOM discouraged this but was unable to do anything about it.
The fact that Mort Fega's Focus on Jazz marathon totals was bettered by another show, Leora Friday Morning Jazz, was widely discussed by the staff. Even though Leora bettered Mort's total by only a bit, ($100 out of a total of $1369), many eyebrows were raised.
For the second time in four years, there were two candidates planning on running for the position of General Manager: both very qualified, both with substantial staff support. Candidates for the spring ECOM elections were given the opportunity to speak about their platforms at an April Meeting:
General Manager candidate Dale Maine said that he wanted to see an emphasis put on public affairs programming. He wanted to improve communication with President Trachtenberg and the Administration and work for a conclusion to the WTIC classical library situation. He also wanted to work towards the purchase of a new transmitter in '82 or '83.
Tina Podlodowski, who was also running for General Manager, said that she was very disillusioned with the staff of the station. She felt that the staff tended to forget that the ECOM was made up of students who were still learning the job of management and that they weren't professionals and that they did need advice. She urged the staff to get more involved, to attend more meetings, and to look beyond just their own shows to the greater good of the station. She then surprised everyone and announced that she was withdrawing her petition to run for G.M. because of another campus job offer!
Operations Director candidate Andy Winters said that he was very committed to the station. He looked forward to a second year as Operations Director and wanted to work towards increasing the station's coverage and influence in the community.
Sue Terry, who was running for the position of Program Director, said that radio had been an influential part of her life for years, and that she felt that her years listening to and participating in WWUH would give her some insight into the P.D. job. Expansion of the public affairs programming was an important concern, and she hoped to help dispel some of the staff apathy by motivating people.
John Ramsey, who was running again for the position of Chief Engineer, said that he would be thrilled to be elected for another term, and he assured the staff that even with his new full time employment at WCCC, his first priority would always be WWUH.
Doug Kimmelman, candidate for the Director of Development position, spoke of expanding our already excellent Public Affairs show line up. Community ascertainment would be used as a guide to create new shows addressing the needs of the listening area.
The election resulted in the following appointments:
Dale Maine-General Manager
Andy Winters-Operations Director
Sue Terry-Program Director
John Ramsey-Chief Engineer
Doug Kimmelman-Director of Community Affairs
There were 13 voting members present at the election meeting out of 16 qualified members.
As General Manager, Dale Maine brought to the table a huge commitment to the station. He had a down to earth approach to management as well infinite patience. These were just two of the traits that made him a successful leader.
Andy Winter's outgoing personality, organizational skills and energy made him an idea Operations Director.
Sue Terry's compassionate personality and musical knowledge made her an excellent Program Director. She could talk to anyone about anything, and she quickly gained the respect of the staff.
Doug Maine knew how important the station's Public Affairs programming was to the local community, and his committeemen to journalistic excellence and balanced programming are just one of the things that made 1981 an excellent year for public affairs programming on WWUH.
The re-election of John Ramsey meant that he could continue with his plan for improving the station's technical facilities.
Paul Robertson was appointed Music Director in May, but he resigned in August. Marissa Donza was then appointed Music Director. Both of them had their hands full coping with the ever increasing amount of new releases arriving at the station, and dealing with the frustrating problems that have always seemed to face us such as keeping the library in order, returning phone calls promptly, and dealing with the record theft situation. Program Director Sue Terry resigned from the Program Director position in September. Station Manger Dale Maine continued a dialog with University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (started by Patty Kurlycheck a year earlier) about getting non-students at WWUH the vote. In an exchange of letters with SJT, Dale explored the president's thoughts about giving active community volunteers at WWUH a vote in station elections. Despite his best efforts, Dale was unable to get Trachtenberg to agree. While the president was not against community volunteers participating in WWUH, he felt that the leadership of the station (and control thereof) should remain in the hands of students "as a benefit" of being a student.
John Ramsey presented the first edition of the WWUH Operations Manual to the ECOM. The manual listed various topics and policies in alphabetical order for easy access and had been created to aid in station training and to serve as a reference manual for the staff.
Thanks to deregulation, the F.C.C. discontinued the issuance of the First Class License in August. The first class license was replaced by a lifetime General Class license, and rules were also changed to eliminate license requirement for a station's chief engineer. All operators, including the chief, were now required to have only the post card Restricted Permit! The Commission wanted to leave the determination of the qualification of an engineer "up to the marketplace"!
The license renewal came through on April 30th.
1981 was a busy year for WWUH engineering department. In April, John Ramsey accepted a full time job as Chief Engineer at WCCC in Hartford, requiring that he severely cut back on the time he could commit to the station. Everyone was determined not to let this interfere with his or her plans for WWUH. Paul Zulpa, who had been assistant Chief Engineer for nearly two years, graduated in May and moved out of state to take a job with IBM. While these two events might have caused problems for the department, the station was fortunate to have student engineers Dave Viveiros and Dave Gardiner on the staff. They took over most of the day to day engineering duties, and since they both lived in the dorms, they were never far away from the station should the chief engineer be unavailable if problems developed.
Thanks to Marathon '81, funds were made available to purchase several pieces of equipment that would greatly improve air sound. A new Harris limiter/stereo generator was installed in June, replacing equipment, which had been given to us by WTIC. A new Harris exciter was installed in the summer, giving new life to the station's 20-year-old transmitter. In the fall, a state of the art audiophile phono preamps was installed in the air studio. These purchases, along with the associated engineering work, resulted in a dramatic improvement in the fidelity of the station's audio.
New counters and equipment were installed in the News Studio during fall by the station's Engineering staff, and allowing the stations newscasts to be broadcast from the newsroom, and for the newsroom to be used to produce news stories for later airplay, including those involving telephone interviews.
The audio quality of the Bushnell Park remote broadcasts was significantly better than in previous years thanks to a trade arrangement that was made with a local music shop to get new remote equipment in trade for underwriting. The summer's successful concert season wouldn't' have been possible without the assistance of General Manager Dale Maine and Dave Gardiner.
At a special election held in October, the following ECOM positions were filled:
Andy Winters - Operations Director
Doug Kimmelman - Community Affairs
Lisa Polsky - Business Manager
( There were only seven voting staff members.)
A proposal was presented to the ECOM for a new public affairs show, called "The Shortwave Alternative". The goal of the program was to provide the listening public with a glimpse of what the news sounded like when presented by the broadcast stations of other countries. This would be accomplished through the use of a special receiver to pick up, live, international shortwave broadcast stations and retransmitting them on the air. The ECOM gave the approval and the producer went to work contacting shortwave stations in other countries. The goal was to pick stations that represented a broad political spectrum of opinions, but at the same time he had to stick with stations with signals strong enough to be of broadcast quality. The list was quickly narrowed down to the BBC, Radio Moscow, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, KOL Israel, Radio South Africa, The Deutche Welle, Radio Havana Cuba, the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Switzerland.
The FCC rules specifically stated that rebroadcasting the signals of foreign broadcasters was legal, and that no prior permission was required. However, since the Voice of America was a domestic station, we would have to receive written permission from them before we could retransmit their programming on WWUH.
In addition to writing to the VOA, letters were sent to the other eight stations as a courtesy informing them of our intent to rebroadcast their transmissions.
Seven of the stations responded with letters of encouragement. Some, like the BBC, has a list of rebroadcasting conditions, such as requiring their World News to be broadcast live, which was not a problem. The News Director at the North American Service of the CBC called informing us that the CBC was experiencing a strike by union workers, and that he could not approve a rebroadcast without the infinitesimal risk (his phrase) of it hampering the labor negotiations. The gentleman stressed how wonderful the idea was and how everyone there was thrilled that a station in the US would like to rebroadcast their news programming. He concluded the conversation by saying that he could not stop us from doing so and that since our own FCC did not require us to get CBC's permission, that it would be OK with him!
Believe it or not, it was our own Voice of America that refused to grant us permission to rebroadcast their programming. They sent a single paragraph letter vaguely referring to some federal law that prohibited retransmission of VOA programming in the US. Since many of the high power VOA transmitters are located in the US, and their programming can be clearly heard at any time of the day or night in the US on the shortwave bands, it seemed strange that there would be a law forbidding domestic retransmission. A bit of research revealed that when the US Information Agency, of which the VOA is a part, was created just after World War II, Congress wrote into the Charter a prohibition against "domestic dissemination" of USIA products in order to ensure that the agency would never be used as a propaganda tool against US citizens.
The Shortwave Alternative aired on Thursday evenings at 8 pm for a number of years. Listener reaction was quite positive, although occasionally someone would complain about Radio Moscow being carried. These callers uniformly asked why we weren't balancing the programming with our own Voice of America, and they were shocked to find out that doing so was illegal!
The ECOM approved the program and it appeared on the air in December.
The station once again manned a checkpoint at the March of Dimes Walk-a-thon in the spring.
The syndicated program "Soundings," produced by the National Humanities Council was aired on Tuesdays at noon. Some of the shows aired in May were "Education and the National Economy", "Teaching Standards" and "Classroom Laboratories".
The January/February issue of the Program Guide featured an article by volunteer Dan King entitled "Who Owns Broadcasting?" The article focused on the broadcasting industry, and the deregulation being considered by Congress.
Major headlines in 1981: US-Iran agreement frees 52 hostages held in Teheran since 1979 (Jan. 20); hostages welcomed back in US (Jan. 25). Background: Iran Hostage Crisis; Pope John Paul II wounded by gunman (May 14); Israel annexes the disputed Golan Heights territory (Dec. 14); Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat is assassinated by Islamic extremists during a military parade in Cairo (Oct. 6); President Hilla Limann is overthrown in Ghana as Jerry J. Rawlings seizes power; Ronald Reagan takes oath as 40th President (Jan. 20); President Reagan wounded by gunman, with press secretary and two law-enforcement officers (March 30); US Supreme Court rules, 4-4, that former President Nixon and three top aides may be required to pay damages for wiretap of home telephone of former national security aide (June 22); Reagan nominates Judge Sandra Day O'Connor, 51, of Arizona, as first woman on US Supreme Court (July 7); Air controllers strike, disrupting flights (Aug. 3); government dismisses strikers (Aug. 11).