WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1977 Text

 

ECOM Management Team:

General Manager: Mimi Spillane

Operations Director: Joel Salkowitz

Program Director: Michelle Demas

Chief Engineer: Jim McGivern

Development Director: Mark Smith

Business Manager:  Steve Berian, Mark Smith

News Director: Annette Salvucci

         
Personnel changes: Joel Salkowitz resigned from Program Director position.

 

          Staff (partial):  Michelle Demas, Eric Gordon, Bob Holdsworth, Patty Kurlychek, Jim McGivern, Mimi Spillane, Joel Salkowitz, Annette Salvucci , Mark Smith, Robert E. Smith, Roger Stuass,

           (email from July 2007)

           I'm Annette Jones, but in 'UH history, I'm Annette Salvucci...

    I just wanted to let you know that I was WWUH's news director from Sept. 77 through May '78.  It was a fun time... I actually had a small staff that include Patty Kurlycek  (her air name was Patty O'Hair), Bob Holdsworth and a couple of others.  When I jocked (which was very very very seldom) I used the air name of Toni Daniels.  I mostly did an odd classical show or two.  Had NO clue what I was doing, but I kept the modulator going, you know? 

    The '78 Marathon did so well that I was able to go to a news conference that President Jimmy Carter did for the college media.  It was so much fun...  I remember sitting in the Old Executive Office Building... in the back, because back then I was still pretty shy... and just being enthralled by it all.  I did some reports for the radio station with a Capitol Hill lockout because that's where I was when I found the pay phone.  (Remember pay phones?)

          The station’s annual spring banquet was held on April 24th.  Paul Kuntz, a well-known news media specialist, was the guest speaker.  The guest of honor was D.r Archibald Woodruff, UH Present who was about to retire, and Stephen Joel Trachtengerg, UH president-elect.  Hartford Mayor George Athanson was also present.

            When Hartford’s WTIC-FM, which had broadcast classical music for years, changed their format abruptly to Top-40 popular music in late 1976, many former listeners vowed to do something about it.  These listeners banded together to form the Classical Listeners Guild of Connecticut. The 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 which ultimately made no difference.  The Guild then decided to turn to the FCC for help, and this resulted in the WTIC-FM license renewal to be held up for more than a year. (The FCC, in their defense, refused to hear the case based simply on the change in format, but did decide to investigate when informed by members of the Guild that in WTIC’s FCC filings, the new owners wrote that “they did not anticipate” any major changes in programming.)  Because WTIC had been involved in assisting WWUH since day one, the ECOM thought they could benefit from WTIC’s format change.

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 WWUH aired from 5 - 6pm. WTIC also offered to assist in making WWUH’s signal "equivalent to their FM signal" through the use of an old 5,000 watt FM transmitter, as well as engineering help to file an application with the FCC.  WTIC no doubt felt that this offer would be good public relations in the community and would go a long way towards begin to appeaseing the Classical Guild.

From the start, the management of both WTIC and WWUH knew that there was no hope of obtaining a signal similar to WTIC-FM due to the possible interference to surrounding stations. However, station management knew that WTIC might be of assistance in helping to increase our signal in other ways.

With the acquisition of the WTIC’s classical library, 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 presenting the best classical programming possible.  Volunteers were coached in proper pronunciation, jargon, and manners.

The Marathon of 1977, which ran on the air for one week, resulted in $17,000 in pledges, $2000 over the goal of $15,000.  Performances by the Hartt Coral and Max Creek were planned for Marathon.

Beginning in late 1976, staff members expressed concern that ‘progressive rock shows’ may not be as progressive as the name implied. According to the minutes of several meetings, there were also thoughts of shortening the afternoon rock show from 5pm to 4pm.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 the increasing amount of fusion (jazz/rock) music being played.

Early Midday Fuse hosts included Mark Smith, John Ramsey, Fred Hull, Marsha Lasker, and Rick Kelman. 

This change was the beginning of an a trend in the focus of the station’s afternoon programming, a change that seemed to reflect the station’s slow move towards an ever increasingly alternative music programming,.This trend ultimately produced a change that resulted in the combination 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.  Many of the volunteers present that evening vividly remember the strange and wonderous feeling they experienced when Paul Winter somehow was able to get nearly everyone in the audience to howl like wolves into the chilly fall air at the end of one composition.  Another highlight of the performance was the utilization of recorded whale -song in another of the compositions.

ECOM minutes from March of 1977 note a particular difficulty concerning FCC rules and regulations on FCC obscenity and indecedecy laws. 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 one month previously due to the airing of “offensive” language.  The termination came as a direct result of the producers negative comments about WWUH in the Advocate and his alleged 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.

          “Women In Your Ear” was the name of a popular show featuring women’s programming.

          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 1978.

          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 a new Autogram 10 channel console was installed in the production studio in the fall by Chief Engineer Jim McGivern.  This greatly enhances the station’s production capabilities, and soon new PSAs and promos were heard on the air.

News headlines in 1977 included: 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).

 


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