For at least four people
whove done shows on WWUH, the station has had a more personal impact than for most,
even if theyre not as involved as they once were. Thats because theyre
happily married to people who were fellow volunteers at WWUH.
Jim Bolan had been doing shows at WWUH for a number of years
before Donna Giddings joined the staff. In fact, his brother Thom had preceded him on the
station, and the Bolans had grown up in the same West Hartford neighborhood as John
Ramsey, WWUHs longtime station manager and chief engineer.
Giddings was working odd hours and, "I remember I wanted to
do something with people other than whom I worked. She recalled, "Everyone was
friendly...It certainly enhanced my social life."
Being at WWUH had other, longer-term benefits, as well. "I
became acting business manager, and it was through that that I got my job at Arteffects.
Joanne Bilota (a former station volunteer) was doing job recruiting and called the
station and asked if anybody would be interested in doing light accounting," said
Giddings. "Because of the radio station, I got a job, I got a husband, and I got a
wealth of knowledge about jazz."
"I didnt even want to do a show, but Bill Yousman and
Rob Rosenthal encouraged me to do a demo tape," she said. She ended up hosting
Thursday Morning Jazz from 1983-1994. Bolan hosted various programs during his years at
the station and had the unenvious assignment of replacing the legendary and popular Mort
Fega on Tuesday evening Accent of Jazz after Fega left the station. "It was a
difficult transition, to put it diplomatically," he said. "I probably got angry
phone calls for a good five to six weeks afterward. Usually I got them when I played
things like Chico Freeman or David Murray, not even (something so radical as) Cecil
Bolans most vivid memory is a chilly one. "Once when I
did Tuesday nights, they had to fumigate the Gengras Student Union," where the
station was located until fall 1989. As a result UH had to broadcast taped programs from
an unheated closet off the buildings patio. " I couldnt get up to the
station to record a show during the week, so Doug Maine taped the show, and I came up and
played the tapes. It was probably the coldest night of the winter. To make matters worse,
he referred to me on the tape as Thom Bolan."(opps.)
Now living downstate, Giddings and Bolan continue to do
occasional jazz fill-ins.
Another marriage fostered by WWUH was of "Mark Time"
and "Carole Clock." At least thats what Mark Rinas and the then Carole
Brosseau called themselves on air, borrowing the names from a Firesign Theatre record.
Mark Rinas had already been doing shows at WWUH for a year or so
when he met Carole, a U of H student, at a WWUH Pub Night on campus in the fall of 1980.
"I was kind of interested in the station once I started
learning about it," Carole Rinas said, "I met a lot of fun, interesting people.
I ended up hanging around the station sometimes."
One night, when former UH-staffer Jeff Becker was doing the Gothic
Blimp Works, "he got stuck (for ideas of what to play) and I said, pull
Chick Corea." Carole Rinas remembered.
Eventually, the one tune built into an entire set of music and
she had learned how to cue records. When the last song was ending, Becker and Mark Rinas
dared her to go on-air and announce the music. "The music went so great," said
Mark Rinas. "Then we just opened up the mic and made her talk."
She and Mark did shows individually and together. In fact, they
were both among the first Synthesis show hosts after Midday Fuse and Afternoon
Roll were consolidated, creating time for public affairs at noon. A highlight was
getting backstage to interview Frank Zappa before a concert in Hartford.
The Rinases were pulled away from the station by "worldly
obligations," but still listen and think about getting involved again. For them and
Bolan and Giddings, it was the mix of people at WWUH that made their involvement
"Once I got so involved with the radio station, I was amazed
that such a wide variety of personality types were brought together," said Giddings.
Bolan added, "You have people come to the station for
diverse reasons, certainly, you would meet a wider range of people than you would, at
least I did, in other social situations."
And in a couple of happy cases, that diverse group of people
included partners for life.