WWUH Station History
John Ramsey, General Manager/Chief Engineer
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
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
"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
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
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
All programming during the renovation was done out of the production
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
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
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
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
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
(Back to Top of Page)
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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