WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1975 Text

Spring 1975

         

Staff (partial): Charlie Allen, John Anderson, Ed Barks, Steve Berian, Bob Browning, Steve Berian, Bill Brady, Donna Burton, Gene Chapdelaine, Bob Cohen, George Michael Evica, Linda Faulkerson,  Eric Gordon, Tom Gomez, Bob Gross, Marsha Lasker, Frank Nowicki, Chuck Pagano, Jackie Peart, Melvin Peppers, Michael Plen, Neil Portnoy, Joe Rudich,  Joel Salkowitz, Steve Shore, Mimi Spillane, Roger Stuass, James Sutton, Mel Yates, Andy Zeldin.

The ECOM listed the three major functions of WWUH:

1). to serve the greater Hartford Community

2). to serve the University of Hartford Community

3). to train UH students in the field of radio. 

The ECOM felt that active community volunteers should be allowed to vote, but that students should still have control of the station by holding the ECOM offices.  They strongly felt that all of the people actively contributing to the station should have a say in who runs the station.  

In January, local station WFSB TV-3 approached ECOM with a unique proposal. In an effort to better serve the Spanish community of Greater Hartford, they wanted WWUH to simulcast their six o’clock news program in Spanish.  The ECOM realized that the loss of some classical programming time was more than made up for by being promoted on one of the most influential media outlets in the state. 

The February 15th ECOM Minutes mention a problem with an announcer refusing to sign the programs logs while airing a tape because he disagreed with the content of the tape!  Further discussions centered around the "censoring" of the "None of the Above" program about Gay and Lesbian issues by Program Director Joe Rudich on February 9.  Joe had kept the program from being aired because he hadn't heard the tape and he was concerned about FCC prohibited words being broadcast.  The ECOM decided to make it mandatory for the Program Director to audition all tapes before airplay.

          The March 7 ECOM meeting saw a discussion of the station's programming.  The station continued to follow the pattern, established long ago, to program whatever sounded good.  The question was raised of whether the station belonged to the University or to the community.

           “Spontaneous Combustion,” a program about the “arts-life-alternative energy experience”, made its debut in March.  Segments included specials on the exploration of dreams, a reading of the Long Sheet, Jim Baker and Tabla, a creative satire on commercial radio, readings by members of the Hartford Stage, the Magic Shop, and readings by area poets.

          In April the station hosted the New England College Engineering Conference in GSU.  The event was attended by approximarly 100 radio and TV specialists who heard talks on major aspects of the communications industry.  The main speakers included Harold Dorschug, VP and Chief Engineer of WTIC AM/FM Hartford, Peter Savioli, pres. Of Ideas, Inc.,Larry Titus, chief engineer of WHCN Hartford and Charles Allen, WWUH station advisor and chief engineer of WATR-TV in Waterbury.

          With elections looming at the end of the spring semester, volunteer Ed Barks, expressed an interest in running for the Program Director position but he was told that he could not because he was only a part time student.  Ed protested the decision to the University.  The ECOM and the University researched the matter and determined that a part time student could run for an ECOM position because the station's constitution does not make a distinction between full and part time students.

From the April 11 ECOM Minutes:

          "Joe Rudich was asked to withdraw his name as candidate for the Program Director position based on his statement that he resents the Executive Committee.  Following that request, Joe Rudich resigned as Program Director and as a member of the station."

Bob Gross was appointed Acting Program Director in April.

At the April 20 election meeting, the various candidates presented their positions (the statements below were excerpted from the minutes of the election meeting on that date):

          Mimi Spillane, who was running for the position of General Manager, said that she wants to see the station run in an open manner and asked for feedback from the staff "because all people are here for the station".

          Steve Berian, who was running for Operations Director, stated that he wanted to improve the efficiency of the station and to bring all sections of the station into one cohesive unit.  He also called for openness and said that he intended to speak with all members of the station about their basic philosophies about the station.

           There were two candidates for the position of Program Director, Ed Barks and Bob Gross.

          Ed Barks spoke first.  He said that he wanted to see training in production and news for all announcers.  He also said that he would work to try to bring out the potential of all people.  He presented a written document, "Programming Ponderances, Volumes I through V" to the staff.

          Bob Gross, the other Program Director candidate, said that he would try to bring together everyone as one group to best serve the Hartford community; that he was running on his past actions as acting Program Director and that he hoped to improve the quality of the sound and to teach radio to all who work here.

          The Director of Development candidate, Donna Burton (Firefly) stated that she had experience working in the same type of position at WHUS.  She felt that the job centered on public relations for the station with the University and with the community in general.  She submitted written copies of her ideas for the department.

          John Anderson, the Chief Engineer candidate, asked for everyone's help.  He said that he was running on his past performance.

          Bob Cohen, on the ballot as the only candidate for the position of Business Manager, withdrew his name but offered to help anyway.

          Minority Affairs Director candidate Jackie Peart was unable to attend the meeting.

The election had the following results: Mimi Spillane - General Manager, Steve Berian - Operations Director, Donna Burton - Director of Development, Tom Gomez - Acting Business Manager, John Anderson,Gene Chapdelaine - Chief Engineer, Jackie Peart -Director of Minority Affairs and Bob Gross, Bob Browning - Program Director.

Michael Cummings ratified as acting General Manager at an emergency meeting held in July.        

          Appointments were made for these the following positions: Michael Plen - News Director, Joel Salkowitz - Production Director, Linda Faulkerson - Program Guide Editor.

During the year, there was much discussion between some staff members about the Accent of Jazz shows, which aired from 9-12 in the evening. The issue that was also noticed by several listeners who wrote to the station was that these “jazz” shows were featuring more "rhythm and blues" music than jazz.

The following is an excerpt from Director of Development Donna Burton's letter to the ECOM during this period which summarized the staff’s concerns:

          ". . . Jazz programming cannot be equated with black programming.  If it is, then we are doing a great injustice to the music and to the talented people who make the music.  Jazz is a universal music.  Jazz transcends race, age, and nationality.

          What is Black Programming?  Black programming, musical, educational, and cultural, is programming that speaks directly to the Black community.  It is extremely important that we serve the black community with relevant programming.  The time blocks from 9-12 pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 8-12 Friday and Saturday (note I am not including Monday, 9-12 pm, the jazz show that I do) is oriented specifically towards black listeners.  That is why Earth, Wind and Fire, Taj Mahal, Aretha Franklin, and other black artists who do not play jazz are included in these programs. In my opinion, this slot has been misnamed "Accent on Jazz."  If it is black programming, let us call it black programming.  Otherwise, our listeners will be confused . . . there is nothing wrong with Black Music Shows; in fact, they are a VERY IMPORTANT part of our programming here at WWUH.  The audience is there.  Anyone who has watched the phones light up for Maceo or Art Barlow can attest to that.

          "I request that we straighten this out, this jazz programming/black programming confusion.  They are different.  There is definitely room for both at this station.  Let’s make room for both.  Let’s call the programs by their proper names."

          This letter was just an example of the controversy surrounding the station’s evening programming.  Amid turmoil at the station over black programming and other programming concerns, the ECOM made the following statement pertaining to philosophy and direction of WWUH at the June 19, 1976 ECOM meeting:

 "We the Executive Committee of WWUH, for the year 1976-77, feel that "Public Alternative Radio" WWUH should serve as the voice of the Greater Hartford area.  The station should feature Public Affairs programming, produced within its own studios that deal with the area served. WWUH should also provide diversified programming, "alternatives" to that which is offered on most commercial radio stations, in both music and non-music programming.

          "As the station of the University of Hartford, WWUH should draw on the resources available within the University, as well as drawing upon those outside the University.  This would mean that while training students for jobs in radio, the station should strive for the best programming possible.

          "WWUH is, and should strive to remain, "public alternative radio" in Hartford.  Its schedule and staff should remain flexible, able to accommodate change when necessary, while maintaining an air of professionally at all times.

          "We call ourselves "Public Alternative Radio"; let us think that way and work in that direction."

          Ed Barks, Program Director, made the following proposal: 1). Extend "Morning Jazz" one hour, to run from 9 am - 12 noon Monday through Friday.  2).  Move our current midday Public Affairs hour from the present 11 am - 12 noon slot to 12 noon to 1 pm each Monday through Friday.  C). Consolidate "Recess Rock" and "Afternoon Roll" into one shift, from 1 pm to 4:50 pm. 

          Another controversial issue during this time period concerned the presence and official status of community volunteers at the station.  This was addressed by the 1976 ECOM, who felt that since many of the students at UH were from outside of the Hartford area, they had little knowledge of and/or feel for Hartford.  The consensus was that the input of the community people who work at WWUH is very important.  They kept WWUH and the University in touch with the community, and bring their various experienced from the outside to the station and the students. 

 Michael Plen stated that he planned to start up a News Bureau at the station.

          The annual staff banquet was scheduled for Thursday May 6 at the Terrace Room at Bradley International Airport.     

          Program Guide editor, Linda Faulkerson, decided to combine the issues and put out one "fat" guide for the summer months.

.  

Fall 1975

 

The ECOM as of October 1975: Mel Yates -General Manager, Bob Cohen -  Business Manager, Steve Shore - Operations Director, Bob Browning - Program Director, Mimi Spillane - Director of Development, Melvin Peppers - Director of Minority Affairs, Charlie Allen - Chief Engineer.

Sub-Department heads as of September 11 included:

Assistant Chief Engineer: Gene Chapdelaine

Production Director: Bob Gross

Program Guide Editor: James Sutton

Assistant Operations Director: John Anderson

News Director: Joe Rudich, Bill Brady, and Bob Browning.

The station’s engineering advisor was Ed Nelson, a faculty member at Ward College and former NASA engineer.

          In the fall, the ECOM stated the following membership policies: Membership would be open to all with no barriers, but with the expectation that the volunteer would actively participate in the station.  After a period of time, the new member would be brought to the ECOM to be recognized as a full member.  Active status could only be conferred on full time UH students who have shown an active interest in the station.  They would have voting rights.  Associate status would be conferred to part time UH students or non-students who have demonstrated active participation in the station.

The demand on the station’s production studio was so great that the ECOM decided that non-station production could only be done in the studio between the hours of midnight to 8 am. 

          As the reputation of the station grew, local broadcasters began to notice that WWUH announcers were a cut above the DJs from other college stations. Both WHCN and WKSS approached the station in search of interns.

Limited elections were held on September .25th for General Manager and Business Manager positions.

Along with the station’s success came a number of growing pains:    

          The September 28th General Staff Meeting had the following items on its agenda: The ECOM set a firm policy regard record theft: Anyone caught removing records from the station would be fired.  No drinking or smoking in the studio would be allowed.  Advance notice had to be given if someone was going to miss a show.  Announcers must perform behinds the scenes work other than just their show.  More care must be taken with meter readings and the logs.

          In reaction to the increasing reoccurring problem of albums disappearing, spot checks were made by certain station members at different hours, day and night, in order to try and alleviate the problem.  Misfiling was also a problem.

          From the October 1, 1975 ECOM Meeting minutes:

 "Neil Portnoy spoke first, saying that the station will lose its 'alternativeness' by being 24 hours.  He suggested that a limit be put on the rock programming and that our produced programming be increased as much as possible."

Joe Rudich resigned from the position of News Director, Bill Brady and Bob Browning were appointed to share the job.

          Mel Yates and Bob Browning attended a WSAM ECOM meeting in November in order to promote better relations with WSAM.  Discussions were undertaken for a combined student training effort.

          The annual budget for the station for FY 75-76 was $17,000.

          Further discussion on the controversial "None of the Above" program centered on the ECOM's concerns:

          A). Whether or not the producers of the show were using WWUH to air personal views (This because of their extensive coverage of the gay liberation issue), and

          B). Whether the producers were being too commercial by listing the gay bars in the Hartford area.

          The ECOM agreed that only FCC prohibited material could or should be censored by the Program Director.  Some staff members present at the meeting were concerned with outside pressure on the Program Director, and were concerned that the station would not be a "free channel".        

          In response to some announcers abusing the privilege by showing up late, not filling out logs, missing lps, etc., a "Permit to Operate" system was put in place based on the three semesters.  It was designed so as to enable the station to secure a penalty against a staff member who disregarded FCC law, general station policy, or ECOM directive.  The system was based on the fact that a WWUH volunteer, like any licensed individual, is expected to follow the rules governing on air and internal operations.  Strikes against the permit would accumulate from policy and rule infractions; after a certain number of infractions, the permit to broadcast would be suspended.

          Program Director Bob Gross submitted his resignation in August 1976 citing personal problems.  He stated that he had been affected both physically and mentally by station and staff problems, and that it was difficult to still care about the station.  However, he did stay on as a staff member.

          The ECOM promptly set up an interim programming committee consisting of Donna Burton, Roger Stauss, Marsha Lasker and Mimi Spillane.

          Steve Berian submitted a proposal to consolidate the Minority Affairs, News and Community Affairs Department into a new department to be called the Community Affairs Department, which would be headed by a Community Affairs Director who would be an ECOM member.  Under his proposal, the Program Director would be responsible for music and entertainment programming and day-to-day scheduling and the Community Affairs Director would be responsible for the News, (non-music) Minority and Public Affairs Programming. 

          Dave DeMaw was appointed acting Director of Development in September, filling the slot that Donna Burton had left.

 

 

SPECIAL EVENTS:

          On November 4, 5 and 6, the station sponsored the Citizens Committee of Inquiry into the JFK assassination.  The event took place on campus, and the station broadcast a large portion of it.  George Michael Evica headed the event which featured key note speaker Mark Lane (a noted expert on the JFK assassination) and guest speaker Jim Garrison, the New Orleans’s District Attorney who, many years later, would feature prominently in Oliver Stone's controversial movie, "JFK”! 

          In December a student production of Dicken's "Christmas Carol" was aired.

 

          WWUH once again demonstrated it's commitment to the community in taking part in and/or broadcasting live from the following area events: The New England Fiddle Contest, Clown Day in Hartford, Soccer with the Connecticut Yankees, The West Indian Celebration, The Harambee Festival '75 and the Hartford Family Folk Festival.

          The new Connecticut Freedom of Information Act Commission held one of its first meetings at U of H in October.  The station covered this session in depth.

          The RKO Radio Network planned on forming a human chain across the country on July 4, 1976 to celebrate the country’s bi-centennial.  WWUH offered to be the official Hartford station.

          The winter holidays always bring out the best in many WWUH announcers, and the airwaves are full of songs celebrating Hanukah, Christmas, Three Kings Day, and Kwanzaa.  In December, the station aired a special program, "A Christmas Carol" for the holiday season.

          A twelve-hour live broadcast was undertaken from Bushnell Park as part of the New England Fiddle Contest on May 29th.

 

ENGINEERING:

          An April 1, 1975 engineering report showed a very active engineering department, staffed by Tom Gomez, Chuck Pagano, Neil Portnoy, Joel Salkowitz, Joe Rudisch, Frank Nowicki, and Steve Berian.  Projects being worked on at the time included:  The installation of the new Technics turntables in special acoustical isolated pedestals in the air studio; Work on the custom production console (in the works for over three years!); designing of a main studio power panel.  At the transmitter site, the Wilkinson exciter was returned to the manufacturer for the installation of upgrades.  Tours of the studios of local stations, including WTIC and WDRC, were held for the engineering staff.

Parts were purchased to build a production board from scratch.  The design for the console originated in house by WWUH engineering personnel.  The console would be very large, almost 7 feet across, and feature 12 stereo channels, with three independent stereo output busses. 

          The EBS system was changed to the two-tone system in early 1976, requiring the station to purchase new equipment.

By this time the engineering shop had moved from the first floor (near the SW stairway) to the 3rd floor next to room D in Gengras Student Union    

News headlines in 1975 included:

Nixon and Brezhnev meet in Moscow to discuss arms limitation agreements; India successfully tests an atomic device, becoming the world's sixth nuclear power (May 180; Patty Hearst,  daughter of publisher Randolph Hearst, kidnapped by Symbionese Liberation Army (Feb. 5);  House Judiciary Committee adopts three articles of impeachment charging President Nixon with obstruction of justice, failure to uphold laws, and refusal to produce material subpoenaed by the committee (July 30); Richard M. Nixon announces he will resign the next day, the first President to do so (Aug. 8);  Vice President Gerald R. Ford of Michigan is sworn in as 38th President of the US (Aug. 9); Ford grants "full, free, and absolute pardon" to ex-President Nixon (Sept. 8).

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