WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1978 Text

1978

 

The ECOM consisted of: 

General Manager: Walter Mishkin, then later Steve Nichols

Operations Director: Marsha Lasker

Program Director: Walter Miskin

Business Manager: Mark Smith

Development Director: Patty Kurlycheck

Chief Engineer: Jim McGivern, later John Ramsey

Production Director: Marty Peshka and Bill Kaplan

Music Director: Fred Hull

New Director: Dan King (Kriwitski)

Marty Peshka –Production Director, Bill Kaplan-Production Director, Stu Lovejoy/Fred Hull-Music Director; Jim Fifield-Classical Director; Annette Salvucci-News Director;  Marsha Lasker-Program Guide Editor and 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.

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 B of ‘78blizzard.  On the date of the first scheduled Mad Murphy's Metheny broadcast, the remote crew, , consisting of ,Allison Rasmussen,Sylvia, Mark Smith, Jim McGivern and John Ramsey, became snowed in while setting up at the club the governor declared a state of emergency andclosed the city.  The night they spent at Mad Murphy’s café was one to remember!

 

         

The Metropolitan Opera contacted WWUH in the spring and ECOM agreed to carry the Met throughout their 1978-19/79 season. Even though the opera was already being aired on Connecticut Public Radio, the folks at Texaco,  (the sponsors of the Met,) had correctly determined (correctly) that CPR’s signal was not adequate in the Hartford area and that our signal would betterhelp server the greater Hartford area.  The ECOM considered the program a real “feather in our cap” and believedthought 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 7th.  

WWUH aired “Your Theater of Melody”  with Robert E. Smith on tape courtesy of WTIC-FM.

 

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 according to phone calls received. exacoThey picked up the cost for the two 15 KHz lines which brought their stereo signal to WWUHthe station from a Hartford downlink.  WWUH was the only station availablereceivable in Hartford that iedcarrying the Met in stereo.  The first show of the season was Saturday, December 2nd.

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.

During the summer of 1978, the series of jazz concerts from Bushnell Park, sponsored by the Community Renewal Team were broadcast live. These concerts included performances by artists Bill Evans, Pat Metheny, Toots Thielsman and others. In addition, a number of the Thursday Peace Train evening night concerts were aired featuring artists such as Maria Muldaur, Pat Metheny, B.B. King, and Tito Puente.

 

Over 30,000 people attended the Fiddle Contest, and many more listened whom couldn't be in the park. The fact that WWUH was airing the event concert live was mentioned hourly from the stage, assuring audience members they could still listen in if they left Bushnell Park.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 thanking the station for making them feel as if they were actually in the park. 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.

          As 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 and which had been used in the early years as the studio for WWUH-AM, which had been turned into a news booth, complete with a microphone, mixer and cart machine.

          The quality of the newscasts varied greatly, but everyone involved got an “A for effort”.  Some announcers delighted in trying to distract the newsperson during a live newscast by making faces, gestures and other various antics.

 

          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, created by the Bachet Brothers from France.  These "instruments" were designed as both visually pleasing sculptures and as musical instruments.  Needless to say, learning to "mic" these instruments for broadcast 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.

The idea of merging "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.

          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.

          A new program focusing on Women’s Issues started airing on December 17.

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!  Luckly, none of them had clostrophobia. 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 cafeen 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.

Early in the morning on January 18, the roof of the Hartford Civic Center collapsed due to a faulty design.  Several thousand people had been in attendance the night before for a UH ballgame but thankfully the venue was empty and no one was injured in the disaster. 

Marsha Lasker wrote in 2008:

“I was on the air, literally when the civic center came crashing down and
 out for a better tomorrow. (I was doing the) Gothic Blimp Works, so obviously after midnight(and)  i DID announce it on the air after a few minutes of indecision and phone calls. the uh photographer, jeff somebody,  was working late in the darkroom on the
 floor and he came rushing in and went downdown directly. I STILL have the photograph he gave me (an excellent photo, indeed)”

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 with a goal of $20,000.  The show “Myth America,” a satirical theater program dealing with modern American life aired live from GSU rooms E_H in front of a live audience.  This was followed by a live broadcast of the Don DePalma jazz band.  Jazz pianist Dave Ramsey gave a solo performance in the Suisman Lounge on Wednesday at noon and in the evening Mr. Ramsey’s Dance Band performed live on the air at a wine and cheese party to benefit WWUH. On Thursday at 9pm the Greater Hartford Arts Ensemble performed live.   The event also 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.

          The staff picnic was held in July.

          As the members of the station's ECOM were also 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.  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 obtained his license in October of 1978.

          The engineering department was faced with a number of serious challenges at that time, 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.

          The following events made the news 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).

For pictures please go to the 1978 Photo Gallery.



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