WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1982 Text

 

The ECOM consisted of Dale Maine-General Manager; Andy Winters - Operations Director; Doug Kimmelman - Community Affairs; Lisa Polsky - Business Manager; Jack Parmele-Acting Director of Development. 

          Department heads included Chuck Nonkin-News Director; Tracy Leuteritz - Traffic Director and Production Director; Teri Kucmeroski, Mike Scannel - Music Director; Rob Rosenthal, Assistant Music Director, Rob Meehan, Susan Mullis -Classical Director; Willie T. Young - Jazz Director; Laurel Aronstamm - Logging; Rob Rosenthal - Assistant Music Director.

Station staff included; Bob Ames, Laurel Aronstamm, Joan Balas, Jeff Becker, Maria Berry, Joel Blument, Jim Bolan, Tom Bowman, Carol Brousseau, Carol Voeth, Rich Brkich, Keith Brown, Craig Burton, Michael Clare, Bob Cody, Mark DeLorenzo, Vijay Dixit, Dave Demaw, Bill Domler, Marisa Donza, Eugene Dotson, John Drury, Steve Ent, Mort Fega, Lincoln Fuson, Dave Gardiner, Colin Gaynia, Donna Giddings, JJ Henrique, Kay Hopper, Fred Hull, Wayne Jones, Bruce Kampe, Ken Karpowitz, Lennell Kittlitz, Patty Kurlychek. Alphee Lavoy, Robert E. Lee, Jr, Tracy Leuteritz, Clyde Lucas, Dale Maine, Doug Maine, Rob Meehan, Jim Mercik, John Merino, Peter Michaelson, Kim Miller, Joyville Morris, Susan Mullis, Chuck Nonkin, Reynolds Onderdonk, Mike Panton, Jack Parmele, Jackie Peart, Lisa Polsky, John Ramsey, Brad Regaglia, Wally Reemes,  Mark Rinas, Henrique Ribeiro, Maurice Robertson, Tim Rooney, Rob Rosenthal,, Michael Scannell, Linda Schnitzson, Marylin Swepson, Andy Taylor, Sue Terry, Vic Vince, Dave Viveiros, Will Young, Annette Walton, Chris Watson, Wendy Weichand, Terry Weichand, Andy Winters III, Tim Wolf, Paul Woodiel, Valarie Zars and Will Zachmann.

          Andy Winters resigned from the Operations Director position in October and Mike Scannel was appointed Music Director in September.      

The ECOM decided to discontinue the noontime local news program “In the Hartford Interest” because of lack of interest on the part of the staff.  There weren’t enough people to do more than "rip and Read" and it was felt that doing that kind of news was not appropriate on WWUH.  Although some staff members thought doing any kind of news was better than doing none at all but the ECOM felt that quality was important so the newscasts were terminated.

          Doug Zimmerman, Community Affairs Director, resigned from the position in January citing "academic conflicts" as the reason.  The ECOM was unable to persuade him to reconsider.  The same month, Rob Meehan stepped down from the Classical Director position, and Susan Mullis stepped in to fill the position.

          WWUH was featured prominently in a new UH recruitment film, which was screened at the station banquet in May. The film was supposed to represent “a day in the life of an average UH student” and opened with WWUH signing on and the announcer saying good morning to the campus. Opening footage of daybreak on campus was inter-cut with images of the WWUH morning host going about their duties. At the close of the video, WWUH was again featured as the announcer said “good night” and signed off.

          Pressing problems facing the ECOM early in the year included completing the required Problems/Programs list for the Commission and finishing the rewrite of the Constitution started several years before.

          Dale picked up the cause of getting community volunteers the vote at WWUH and again approached the university president with the idea.  The President seemed to enjoy the discourse about the issue which took place mostly through a series of letters, but Dale was not able to get him to change his mind about allowing non-students to vote in station elections.

Marathon brought in $27,479 in pledges from 1958 people, with $22,817 eventually paid.  The highest pledging show was UH Radio Bluegrass hosted by Jim Douglas ($1852 from 107 donors) followed by Tuesday Accent on Jazz with Mort Fega ($1606 from 72 listeners).  659 T-shirts were ordered and over 400 additional premiums were requested.  The bumper stickers were black on light blue.

Willie T. Young, the station's jazz director, always wrote something interesting at the end of each play list that went out to dozens of jazz labels, and his July list was no exception:

 "Summertime means short everything--clothes, tempers and messages from the WWUH Jazz Dept.  The play list is longer than ever though, courtesy of all you wonderful folks.  And, thanks to our hard-working crop, the listening public is getting a full dose of the music every day.  Doctor's orders.  I must remind everyone that, although we are listed as a college station, we have many community people working here.  What this means is that we don't slow our operation down for the summer at all - au contraire, we're kicking hard full time.  So, if you're holding back hot releases thinking that we're on some kind of vacation, I hereby endeavor to respectfully correct that particular assumption.  We're always gasping for new material - let's not say our hand is out, let's just say our arms are open.  And if you don't want to send records, could you please send an air conditioner?"

The July Jazz Playlist showed the following artists getting airplay:  David Sanborn, The Crusaders, Sonny Rollins, Chuck Mangione, Dave Grusin and Dexter Gordon, among others.           

          Staff shortages continued to be a problem in April.  The ECOM utilized ads in the campus newspaper and on-air announcements to recruit new volunteers.  Serious thought was given to combining the Gothic Blimp Works and the All Night show into one slot, running from 1 am to 6 am since in theory it would be easier to fill.

          At the April 18th election meeting, the two candidates for General Manager were asked a series of questions from the staff.  First they were asked them to speak briefly about their views on the future of the woman's programming at WWUH and about Gay Spirit.

          Dale Maine responded first and said that he felt Public Affairs programming was the station’s #1 priority.  He felt that both of these programs were very worthwhile and that he was in favor of expanding Gay Spirit to a full hour.

          Andy Winter, the other candidate, responded that he felt both shows were good.  He stressed his commitment to Public Affairs programming in general.

          When asked about what changes they would make if elected, Andy responded that he felt that there were a number of loose ends that needed to be cleared up such as the WTIC Classical contract and the antenna project.  He promised that, if elected, he would work on those issues as well as the record theft situation, lack of student involvement and station promotion problems.  Dale responded to the same question by saying that he saw the continued proper operation of the station as a big challenge due to the lack of volunteers both in management and on the air.  He would work for an increase in Public Affairs programming, and would continue to development the station's financial base.

          The question of whether non-student WWUH volunteers should get the vote was put to both candidates by the staff, and both Andy and Dale said that they would work towards getting the vote for our community volunteers.

          Dale Maine was reelected General Manager, Lisa Polsky was elected Business Manager, and John Ramsey was reelected to the position of Chief Engineer.  The campaign for the GM position had been an amicable one, and the station got “the best of both worlds” when Andy Winters was appointed acting Operations Director pending a special election.  Dale and Andy were an excellent team, and they oversaw some major improvements at the station.

          Dale Maine was reelected General Manager, Lisa Polsky was elected Business Manager, and John Ramsey was reelected to the position of Chief Engineer.  The campaign for the GM position had been an amicable one, and the station got “the best of both worlds” when Andy Winters was appointed acting Operations Director pending a special election.  Dale and Andy were an excellent team, and they oversaw some major improvements at the station.

          Station management was aware of the many challenges facing non-commercial stations nationally and in an effort to participate in the process the decision was made to have the station join the National Federation of Community Broadcasters in April.

          A proposal to make the following change the weekday lineup as follows was voted down by the station's staff:  12 noon - 12:30 Public Affairs, 12:30 - 3 pm "Synthesis", 3 - 7 pm Classics, 7 - 9 Public Affairs, and 9-12 Jazz.  This change would have cut 30 minutes from the noon public affairs slot, added an hour to the evening Public Affairs slot and cut 30 minutes from the Synthesis slot.  One of the reasons the proposal wasn’t approved was the fact that there didn’t appear to be enough programming to fill the additional hour of public affairs.

          Channel 3 visited the station in April to videotape the airing of the Gay Spirit program.  The footage was used on a special they ran on Gay issues.

          The station joined with the India Association of Greater Hartford and sponsored a seminar on immigration issues in May.

          A twelve hour live broadcast of the New England Fiddle Contest was aired on May 29th.  Advocate ads were used to attract listeners to the broadcast.

          The staff picnic was held on July 11. Preston Reed and the Hash Brown Blues Band performed at the outdoor event.

          In the fall, the results of the recruitment campaign were apparent. No less than 22 interested students attended the New Peoples Meeting held in September.  Multiple training sessions were held and over a dozen new staff members were added to the rolls.

          The September Rock Playlist, assembled by Rob Rosenthal, Assistant Music Director, listed the following artists in "heavy" airplay:  Psychedelic Furs, Peter Gabriel, Lords of the New Church, English Beat, Wall of Voodoo and Altered Images.

          Jack Parmele was appointed Acting Director of Development in September, and he got to work immediately looking for artwork for the '83 t-shirt.

          The two-minute commentary “Byline” was added to the schedule in September, to be alternated with “In the Public Interest” at noon. The goal was to offset the “progressive” viewpoints expressed in the “In the Public Interest” short feature with “Byline’s” views which were often conservative.

          For the fourth year in a row, WWUH participated in the March of Dimes Walkathon on April 25. WWUH staffed a checkpoint at the corner of Farmington Avenue and Main Street in West Hartford.  Those volunteers who helped out were surprised to discover how many of the runners listened to WWUH.

Many on the staff thought it was a joke when GM Dale Maine listed is phone number on the station phone list as “529-WWUH”.  However, it wasn’t a joke.  His family had the phone number 529-9984 for close to twenty years prior to his becoming a UH student, and it was just a coincidence that the last four digits spelled WWUH on their telephone.

          The business manager reported that the station spent $41,654 in FY 81/82.  Income was reported as $47,014, with $17,000 from the University and $25,151 from Marathon.

Budgets:  Community Affairs-$1,800; Programming-$7,475; Development-$15,350; Business-$3,050; Operations-$2,700 and Engineering-$5,570.  

Science Fiction writer Issac Aisimov's lectured on campus in October and the event was recorded and aired a few weeks later on “UH Presents”.

          WWUH aired a special program produced by N.P.R. on labor and the economy.  The segment was called "What's Wrong with the Economy" and it aired on December 4th from 10:30 - noon.

          The formal ascertainment of community issues was completed in the fall of 1982 in time for the FCC deadline.  It indicated that the people interviewed thought the major problems facing the area were: Inflation, Crime, Drug Abuse, Alcohol, Elderly and Housing.  375 persons were contacted for the survey, which was done by station volunteers.

          Smoking was banned from the studio in December after the ECOM received a petition signed by thirty staff members.  This proved controversial at first as a number of volunteers chose to ignore the ban.

          The following are excerpts from a "State of the Station" report written by General Manager Dale Maine in late 1982:

          "In the last two years, several things of note have occurred.  In an overview, I would say that the station has become friendlier with its licensee, while maintaining its independence.  From the first, (UH President) S.J. Trachtenberg was cordial . . .  His only real complaint is that past managers have failed to keep him informed about the station's activities.  I don't think he realized just how important it really is in the eyes of the F.C.C. that the licensee knows what goes on at the station.  I have kept him informed, to a point.  To the point that our problems are not taken out of proportion (or even noticed), so as to keep the station in our hands.

          The "our" of course is the student and community member staff.  Both parts of the station have become irreplaceable.  The student involvement, as with many student activities, has gotten smaller and smaller; and yet, the students still control the management of the station.

          In the last two years we have had the smallest management teams in the history of the station: General Manager and Chief Engineer alone for months at a time.  This isn't to say others didn't help; we just didn't have people officially in office.

          This, in part, led to one of the first problems of my first term; a former staff member who had returned to the station after a ten year absence, tried to tell the University that she could run the station better than we could.  Fortunately, the University came and asked me . . . (and I made) the problem go away.

          . As part of the growing bond with UH, we aired several special programs:  an interview with (President) SJT about a speech he made about the future of education, a program with UH financial aid officers discussing Reaganomic cuts, and a live broadcast of a rally about financial aid.

          Publicity is the one thing the station lacks.  We never seem to make the news, when we do something good or even when we do something bad.  There have been many special programs, etc. which we could and should have promoted.  We don't look for listeners for money, we look for listener for listeners, and so we are indeed serving the public.

          The F.C.C. may change the definition of why we are here; they have tampered with a lot of things in the last two years. Chief Operators need not hold an engineering license anymore.  Non-commercial stations may promote any product or service they feel is in the public interest as long as they are not in any way receiving something in return. 

          "The University has had less money in recent years, so (the budget) from whence our money comes has been cut (to $15,000 from $17,000) and may be cut again. 

          "(The elimination of the News Department in January) was a controversial move, which I myself opposed, but there was a reason.  We cannot do news unless we have a news department willing to put the time into doing it right.  Rewriting copy, calling people for stories and background, and pronouncing names correctly are bare-bones necessities.  Students, at this point, just don't seem to have the time to dedicate to hours required."

The Commission rules were changed to allow non-commercial station’s to run commercials for pay for non-profit organizations.  We can do underwriting announcement as often as we like.  Recommendation:  never charge a fellow non-profit organization.”

The station’s engineering staff consisted of Rich Brkich, Dave Gardiner, Bob Lee, Dave Viveiros and John Ramsey.

          On July 1, 1982, the entire $15,000 allocated to us from the university was spent on the purchase of a new transmitter!  After careful consideration, a Harris 2,500 watt unit was chosen.  While a station of our power would normally only require a 1,000-watt transmitter, the higher power unit was picked for several reasons:  First, the additional power might be needed if and when the long sought after antenna height increase was authorized.  Second, the 2,500-watt model was very common and available without any delay.  Finally, Harris sells 10 of these units for every 1,000-watt unit sold: the higher power model was actually less expensive at the time of purchase.

          While the RCA transmitter that had been in use since WWUH first went on the air in 1968 had been quite reliable, parts were getting harder and harder to come by.  In addition, as the stations volunteer staff, listening audience and commitment to the community grew, so did concern over off airtime.  A new transmitter would minimize down time.   The decision to purchase the new unit was made partly because staff felt the station may never be in a financial position to do so in the foreseeable future.  Its purchase also went right along with the plans to provide redundancy for all major systems at the station.

          Transmitter delivery took place at 3:30 in the morning due to a mix up with the trucking company.  As the ground was too wet for the use of a hand truck, the 700-pound transmitter was hand carried from the driveway to the building by the two movers and station engineers!  Installation took several weeks as it required major rearrangement of the equipment configuration at the site.  The new transmitter was first put on the air at 3:57 am on November 5, 1982. It operated 24 hours a day for nine years before experiencing its first failure!

          In the spring, the sink was removed from the newsroom, and replaced by the old Fairchild board on custom designed counters.  This room was used for news for a short period of time before it was changed over to the station's jazz library.  During the interim, the room was used as a recording control room to coordinate a live broadcast of the rock band "Holding Pattern" from rooms E, F, G and H.  Multicables were run from these rooms to the 20 channel Tascam mixer, which was set up in the newsroom. 

          In April, Susan Mullis became host of an Evening Classics show and shortly thereafter a Monday Synthesis slot in fall.

News headlines in 1982 included:  British overcome Argentina in Falkland war (April 2-June 15); Israel invades Lebanon in attack on PLO. (June 4); John W. Hinckley, Jr. found not guilty because of insanity in shooting of President Reagan (June 21); Alexander M. Haig, Jr., resigns as Secretary of State (June 25). Equal Rights Amendment fails ratification (June 30).

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