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.
A Birds Eye View
by Mike Marti, Saturday All Night Host
WWUH was formulated in 1966 by a small group of University of Hartford students under the leadership of student Clark Smidt. This group convinced their fellow students and the school administration that the University should have its own radio station. Once given the go ahead, they soon learned that starting a new radio station was a formidable task which required detailed engineering studies, a license from the FCC, the raising of funds and building of studios.
With the help of the school faculty, the "Clark Schmidt" group requested and received a substantial grant from the family of the late Louis K. Roth and the donation of a transmitter from WTIC radio. After two years of hard work, WWUH became a reality and signed on the air at 4:05 PM on the afternoon of July 15, 1968.
WWUH was the first stereo educational station in New England, and one of the strongest in the region. In those early years, WWUH’s studios, transmitter and antenna were located in and on top of the Gengras Student Union, where the studios remained for the next 21 years.
WWUH was the first station in Connecticut to broadcast daily a "progressive rock" program, from 12 midnight til 3 AM called "The Gothic Blimp Works" which you can still hear to this day. In the first 18 months of broadcasting, the station’s dedicated volunteer staff expanded the broadcast schedule from 6 hours a day in 1968 to 24 hours a day in 1970. Listeners to the station during those early years were able to hear an eclectic mix of progressive rock, jazz, folk and classical music, as well as news and public affairs programs.
Over the years, the station programming and technical facilities grew. By moving the transmitter from the campus location to high atop Avon mountain, the station was able to greatly extend its broadcasting reach. In 1989 the studios and offices were moved from the third floor of the Gengras Student Union to the east wing of the Harry Jack Gray Center. The new facilities included space for additional studios and a recording control room which has facilitated many live broadcasts, concerts and our CD recordings.
Currently, WWUH has a reputation for being one of the top jazz, folk and alternative rock stations in the country. The station has developed an outstanding lineup of weekly musical programming, including approximately 26 hours of classical, 19 hours of folk and bluegrass, 30 hours of jazz, 9 hours of oldies, 65 hours of alternative broadcasts including: progressive rock, urban, Indian, West Indian, reggae, Italian, Spanish, Lithuanian, blues, polka, world and ambient music. In addition WWUH continues to offer an interesting mix of public affairs and news programs, recently adding a dish to receive Pacifica programming via satellite for rebroadcast.
Today, WWUH studios are filled with state-of-the art broadcast equipment - better than that of many commercial stations in Connecticut. Record and compact disc libraries hold over 77,000 titles, one of the largest in the country. WWUH announcers, numbering over 70, are all highly motivated and well trained volunteers committed to broadcasting the best music programming and spoken word in alternative radio. The WWUH listening audience is furiously loyal as we witness each year at fundraising time when the station always manages to exceed its financial goals.
From the beginning of WWUH’s broadcasting start in 1968 to the present, the station’s mission has been to serve the public and the University of Hartford through the continuous broadcast of quality, non-commercial, alternative music and public affairs programming while adhering to the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.
As we look back on these years of broadcasting and celebrate this 30 year milestone, we are confident of our ability to provide many more years of quality broadcasting for the enjoyment of our listening audience as well as our staff and station management.