When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. At its core, it would be a university for the community created by the community.
The University has come a long way since its humble beginnings on Hartford’s last remaining farm, evolving from a local school for commuters into a comprehensive university that attracts students from throughout the world. Yet it remains true to its original mission of serving as a valued resource for individuals, families, businesses, and communities throughout the Hartford region, offering hundreds of programs that serve the University and its neighbors every day. For close to 45 years listener supported WWUH has served an important role in the University's community service mission.
1976 - 1979
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).