WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1984 Text

The ECOM consisted of Rob Rosenthal-General Manager; Doug Maine-Operations Director; Bill Yousman-Program Director; Donna Giddings-Business Manager; Tom Bradford-Community Affairs Director;  Leora Sparapani-Development Director and John Ramsey-Chief Engineer.

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

Marathon '84 was more successful that anyone ever though possible. The event brought in $28,911 in pledges from 1761 callers! One thousand t-shirts were distributed, along with 200 record premiums and 380 Guide subscriptions.  The highest grossing show once again was UH Radio Bluegrass with Jim Douglas ($2557.00!) followed by Friday FM on Toast with John Merino ($1472.00). Pledges were received from 108 of the168 Connecticut towns, and from over a dozen Massachusetts towns as well.  Both President Trachtenberg and VP of Students Affairs Doris Coster appeared on the air during the week.  The return from Marathon 84 was 89%, with $25,970 collected.

          1984 also brought something of utmost importance to WWUH:  a formal staff-training program.  Started in 1983 by General Manager Jack Parmele, John Ramsey and Program Director Bill Yousman took over the training sessions in early '84 and formalized the procedures.  New staff members were required to go through two sessions in the Production studio where they would be taught the philosophy of WWUH, station policies, and the basics of radio production.  Not until the person had completed these sessions could they be approved for on-air work, production studio use and given a temporary ID card.  A training manual was written to supplement the course work.

          As the station's commitment to serving the community grew, the ECOM decided to acquire a beeper so the program director could be notified immediately of any programming problems so that the station would not go off the air when someone didn’t show up.

          The station sponsored a concert with the Glenn Phillips Band in the South Cafeteria, which was very well attended.  

This would be the last time for many years that the Monday night Community Renewal Team jazz concerts would be broadcast from the park due to the 300% increase in line charges instituted by SNET earlier in the year (a result of the break up of ATT).   Concerts featuring the Clifford Jordan Big Band, Walter Bishop, George Coleman, John Hicks, Jimmy Owens, Bill Hardman and Junior Cook, the Williamsburg Composers, Barry Harrison and Walter Davis were all carried live.

WWUH had featured folk music on and off for years, but it wasn’t until 1984 that folk could be heard five days a week in “prime time”.  This was the year that Ed Savage and Ed McKeon joined the staff and they quickly took up residence on FM on Toast slots.  Savage’s program featured mostly Celtic music (he was followed by Maureen Brennan and then Steve Dietrich) and McKeon show, “Fringe Folk”, took over the Wednesday slot when Marissa Donza gave up her “Folk Off” show.

Long time Folk Music Director Ed McKeon recalled in 2004:

Bill Domler brought me to the station.  I used to buy some of the wildest folk albums at his shop in Elmwood.  I first visited his shop to find a copy of a song I heard while driving west on I-84.  I can remember the precise location, just past West Farms, and he played Kate Wolf singing “Give Yourself to Love,” followed by Andrew Calhoun singing “The Gates of Love.”  I thought, “What’s this?”  And I was hooked.  We chatted frequently at his shop.  Then I let him borrow some albums by Billy Bragg, the Pogues, the Men They Couldn’t Hang and others. I had bought these albums at Capitol Records where I first met Susan Mullis, Mark Santini, Michael Clare, Mark DeLorenzo and Andy Taylor.  The music I was listening to didn’t appeal to Bill but he asked me to appear as a guest on his show to play some of them and to talk about them, and I did.  Then he convinced me to go through training.  He didn’t have to twist my arm.

          In an effort to attract more students for the station's staff, the anniversary picnic normally held in the summer was rescheduled to the fall when students would be around.  The September 8th picnic featured the band Motive 8.  The band performed on the front steps of Gengras and the concert was broadcast live over the air.

          In spite of major improvements in recruitment and staff training, WWUH experienced a membership crisis of unparalleled proportions in the fall of 1984.  Problems at the management level, staff apathy and a shortage of volunteers caused WWUH to be off the air for over forty hours in October alone because of a lack of announcers to fill the late night show slots!  Several plans were put into place to minimize the effect of the situation on the station's 24/7 commitment, including encouraging Gothic Blimp Work hosts to stay longer and FM on Toast announcers to come in earlier, to “split the difference” in essence, but November and December saw only a slight improvement in the amount off air time.

The ECOM received a visit from some members of the Siek community who claimed that their religion had been "belittled" on our Geetanjali program.  These gentlemen were adamant that we should remove the host of Geetanjali from the air permanently for his “transgressions”.  The host of the show was shocked by their allegations and said that he frequently honored the religion by played Sikh music and promoting Sikh community events during the show.  The host offered to apologize over the air for accidentally offending some members of the community.  The ECOM took this offer back to the gentlemen who had complained but this was not acceptable to them. 

The following is from a paper written regarding the above incident for the ECOM by General Manager Rob Rosenthal on September 25, 1984:

 "Just recently there have been members of the Indian community that have lodged complaints against Geetanjali.  These complaints . . . claim that (the host)  was presenting a show that was biased toward the Hindu religion.   The listeners making the allegation claim that the bias only recently came about and that it was due to the Punjab (province) agitations.

            "(The host) claimed that the format of his show had not changed and presented petitions signed by hundreds of Indians in the community saying that Geetanjali is fine just the way it is.

            "The ECOM is between a rock and a hard place . . . we have had meeting with both sides and even with both sides together, but the discrepancies have not been resolved. (The host) has offered to work with the listeners in order to improve his show but they have refused.

"The listeners have been offered access to our training programming, and possible air time. . . The matter is hardly over."

It wasn’t long before the President of the university received a letter of complaint from this group, a letter than included what some considered a veiled threat against the University in the final paragraph.  At this point the university’s council set up a meeting with the complainants with Rob Rosenthal, Bill Yousman and John Ramsey, representing the station.  If there was any doubt as to the inflexibility of these two guys, the meeting with the UH lawyer dispelled such notions.  Even after being offered an on-air apology, and “equal time”, they said that would not be satisfied until the host was fired!  The university’s lawyer diplomatically but firmly informed them that A).  They had no proof that the host had said anything inappropriate, B. Even if he had, the comments would be protected by the First Amendment and that by offering an apology, the station and the host had gone “above and beyond”, C. the threat stated in their letter was not something that the university would tolerate!  He recommended that the two gentlemen leave campus immediately, and they complied with his wishes, never to be heard from again.

          From the October 9 Ecom Minutes:

          The Guide is going to have an overhaul. For the past few years, the Guide layout has been at the mercy of the printer. Now we have two people who are interested in bringing the control of the Guide back into the hands of WWUH.  Leora will be in charge of layout . . . and Natasha Rethke will be her assistant as well as graphics designer.

            Leora has also volunteered her services as Development Director and Marathon chairperson (there is a god!!!).

          While Dave Viveiros continued to work in the department as Assistant Chief Engineer after he graduated, station management was faced with a lack of student engineers when students Dave Gardiner and Steve Ent graduated in May, 1983.  A special effort was made to recruit new students to the department in the fall.  Weekly meetings were held and tours of the transmitter sites of Channel 3 and Channel 30 were arranged.  These tours served not only to get the recruits interested in the field, but also proved to area broadcasters that WWUH was making an honest attempt to train students in the broadcast engineering field.

          Several new pieces of equipment were purchased with the funds from Marathon.  A new QEI modulation monitor and a new STL system purchased with the funds from Marathon was installed in early summer, and provided back-up capability almost unheard of in college radio.

          The turntables at the station had always picked up a bit of rumble from the building, and Bob Celmer, an acoustics professor at the engineering school, agreed to perform a study of our turntable isolation problems.

          In December, John Ramsey presented the staff with a document entitled “The History of WWUH Antenna Relocation Efforts”.  This five-page paper explained the steps the Engineering Department had gone through in an effort to get a new antenna position for WWUH.  It described in detail the various proposals that were made to Channel 3 for a height increase for WWUH, including rebuilding the “radar” tower to it’s full height, mounting the UH antenna on the TV-3 tower,  installing a short pole on top of the existing tower and relocating our transmitter to the Talcott Mountain Science Center.

             In the early eighties, a certain area nightclub that featured rock music came to the attention of the ECOM by way of multiple reports of mistreatment of patrons at the hands of the bouncers.  This club was often promoted on the air unilaterally by several UH announcers while others chose to boycott it.  The fact that some announcers refused to promote the club bothered the club’s owners who brought the situation to the attention of the ECOM.  By that time there had been numerous news reports of the alleged brutality, and a number of law suits against the club.  The situation was discussed with the entire staff at a general meeting and the decision was made to allow each announcer to decide for themselves what to promote and what not to promote although the staff also decided that the station should not participate in any promotion of the event through giving away tickets and the like.

          FM On Toasts hosts included: Bill Domler, Marissa Donza, Joel Blumert, Tom Bowman, Dave Williams and John Merino.

          Jazz hosts included:  Janet Bilan, Steve McKenna, Peter Michaelson, Donna Giddings, Don Harris and Laurel Aronstamm (Morning Jazz) and Jim Bolan, Maurice Robertson, Tony Grant and Mike Clare (Accent on Jazz). Tony Grant also did the Saturday afternoon Focus on Jazz segment.

          Public Affairs Producers included: George Michael Evica, Felix Viera, Keith Brown and Vijay Dixit.

          Synthesis hosts included: Rob Rosenthal, Andy Taylor, Mark DeLorenzo, Bill Yousman and Reynolds Onderdonk.

          Evening classics hosts included: JJ Henriques, Tom Bradford, Susan Mullis, Becky Menes, Lenell Kittlitz, Kay Hopper and Arden Lambert. Paul Woodiel hosted the Sunday Brunch show and Marya Berry and Keith Brown were alternate hosts of the Opera show. Maryanna Evica hosted Bach’s Back Yard on Sunday morning.

          Gothic and All Night show hosts included: Valerie Zars, Stu & Dan, Steve Burk, Gary Levin, Patty Kuylychek, Mr. B, Stu Werner, Marissa Donza, Drew Glackin, Clyde Lucas, Mike Panton, Lascelles Horrabin, Janet Bilan, Tim Pendleton, Rob Rudin, Paul McGuiness, Clyde Lucas and Lucius Miles.

          Special show hosts included Tim Wolf doing Mbira, Wayne Jones on Rock and Roll Memory Machine, Dave Demaw on The Greatest Show from Earth, Terry Weichand “FM in Bed”, Jim Douglas with UH Radio Bluegrass, Jackie P did “Sh-Boomin With You”, Carol and Alphee Lavoy did Astrology Almanic, Henrique Ribeiro hosted Cultura E Vida, Phillip Mitchell produced West Indian Trythms and Jackie Peart did Sounds of the City on Friday night.

News headlines from 1984 included:  Soviet Union withdraws from summer Olympic games in US, and other bloc nations follow (May 7 et seq.); Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards; 1,000 killed in anti-Sikh riots; son Rajiv succeeds her (Oct. 31); Toxic gas leaks from Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killing 2,000 and injuring 150,000 (Dec. 3); Congress rebukes President Reagan on use of federal funds for mining Nicaraguan harbors (April 10); President Reagan re-elected in landslide with 59% of vote (Nov. 7).

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