1985 Text

          The ECOM consisted of Rob Rosenthal-General Manager; Doug Maine-Operations Director; Bill Yousman-Program Director; Carol Stevens and Dana Bugl-Development Director, Donna Giddings and Gary Levin, Kim Eaton-Business Manager; John Ramsey-Chief Engineer and Tom Bradford, Stuart Werner-Community Affairs Director.

          Other department heads included:  Jean Collangelo-News Director; Andy Taylor-Music Director; Jim Bolan-Jazz Director;-Production Director.

           The staff included: Laurel Aronstamm, Joan Ballas, Tom Bradford, Jim Bolan, Steve Burke, Janet Bilan, Joel Blumert, Tom Bowman, Carol Bozena, Tom Bradford, Keith Brown, Dana Bugl, Michael Clare, Mark DeLorenzo, Vijay Dixit, Bill Domler, Jim Douglas, Kim Eaton, GM Evica, Marianna Evica, Drew Glacken,  Donna Giddings,  Don Harris, JJ Henriques, Lasalles Horrabin, Wayne Jones, Tom Kelly, Lenell Kitlitz, Larabee, Alphie Lavoy, Tony Magno, Jim Mercik, John Merino,  Peter Michaelson,  Philip Mitchell, Gary Levin, Mixashawn, Susan Mullis, Reynolds Onderdonk, Bob Orem, Jack Parmele,  John Ramsey, Mr. Richards, Maurice Robertson, Rob Rosenthal, Leora Sparapani, Carol Stevens, Andy Taylor, Felix Viera, Carol Voeth, Terry Weichand, Stu Werner, Williams, Chris Wisniewsk, Tim Wolfe, Will Young,  Bill Yousman,  Valerie Zars.

          The following is a (somewhat) unusual excerpt from the January 10, 1985 ECOM Minutes:  "Tom (Bradford) discovered dirty diapers in the studio trash can!  Since several staff members have been bringing their infants to the station, they will all be spoken to."

1985 was a time of high international tension.  Some say that the Cold War was never hotter than during 1985 and 1986. In response to the very legitimate concerns of many of Americans that the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union was looming ever closer; WWUH aired a series of “Nuclear Awareness” programs during the summer of '85.  These programs were scheduled to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and they helped to educate the public about the extremely emotional and highly technical topic of nuclear war. It is important to note that these programs were aired at a time when the US and the USSR were spending a billion dollars a day on defense, and that the US Secretary of State had recently pronounced that “nuclear war was winnable” and that the US should be prepared to fight a “protracted” nuclear war that could last weeks or months! 

As part of our promotional campaign for the “Nuclear Awareness” series, we received permission from the Union of Atomic Scientists to reprint their famous "Doomsday clock" on the back page of the August issue of the Program Guide, the same guide that included extensive information about our special programming.  The ECOM was surprised to discover that this was the first time anyone had asked to reprint the famous clock, first published by the Union in 1947 when the Soviet Union detonated their first nuclear weapon!  Not coincidently, the clock’s hands had been moved to just three minutes before midnight in mid-1985, the closest it had ever been, reflecting the heating up of the “cold war” and the real possibility of nuclear conflict between the superpowers! 

The programs covered such topics as the history of the bomb and how it effected the post-WWII relations of the US and the USSR. Several programs explored President Regan’s “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative that would violate the ABM treaty.  One particularly powerful program focused on the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Our Nuclear Awareness programming proved to be so popular that we extended the series into October and November with programming on such topics as the “neutron bomb” (a device that killed people but left buildings untouched), the Regan Administration’s new nuclear war fighting “strategies” (and abandonment of the 30 year old doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction), the renunciation by the US of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the medical consequences of even a “limited” nuclear war.  Many of our listeners were shocked to hear Dr. Helen Caldicott, a physician and author of “Missile Envy,” describe how even a minor nuclear exchange would overwhelm the US medical system and that, in her professional opinion as a physician, politicians on both sides who believed that a nuclear war was winnable could be considered both clinically and legally insane using the contemporary definitions of those terms!

A 10-part series called "Black Expressions" was aired Mondays at noon in February and March to commemorate Black history Month.  This syndicated show aired in our noontime public affairs time slot, and covered the entire spectrum of black experience, from poetry to music to religion to public discourse.  A significant part of the series dealt with the Civil Rights movement and its effect on the country.

          National and International issues weren’t the only focus of the station’s programming.

In November, the station sponsored a forum with all eleven candidates for the Hartford Board of Education.  This was the first time the station had taken on an event of this magnitude, and everything worked as planned.  The event was held in Lincoln Theater in front of a live audience and the event was taped for broadcast the next evening on WWUH.  Joanne Nesti from Channel 30 was the moderator, and George Springer from the National Federation of Teachers gave the opening remarks.

          As part of an on-going effort to tie University of Hartford events into our programming and to make the station more visible on campus, we started a new program:  "UH Presents".  We trained a small staff of volunteers who would attend various university functions and record them.  If permission could be obtained for broadcast, the lecture/speech would be edited and aired in the new program.  To make sure that the university noticed our presence at the events, we purchased a number of mike "flags" with our call letters on them.

One of the biggest events that was aired on UH Presents in 1985 was a lecture by Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State under the Nixon Administration.

The station worked with the Admissions Office to produce a special program for students attending the open house.  The idea was to have the special broadcast welcoming the students to campus while at the same time providing information about the admissions process and about the university.  The idea was to make it have enough material of general interest so that there would be some appeal to our regular audience.

The program was produced in-house and aired on the Sunday morning of the open house:  The material that the Admission office sent to the prospective students encouraged them to tune in to 91.3 while they are driving to the campus to hear a special program.  Reaction from the students and their families at the open house, and later reaction from the UH administration was very favorable.   

Community Affairs Director Tom Bradford produced a special program on the Hartford Housing Auction, which aired on WWUH as well as WQTQ at Weaver High School. He also produced a series on Urban Homesteading to air Fridays at noon for four weeks in March.

“Within And Around Your World” was the name of a new local pubic affairs show introduced in 1985.

Nationally, 1985 was the year an anti-choice group produced a TV anti-abortion program called “The Silent Scream” which was viewed by millions of people when it aired on public television.  The program featured supposedly authentic clinical footage of an early-term abortion and showed in a very graphic manner the fetus “reacting” violently to the procedure.  Needless to say this program was considered “shocking” by many who viewed it.

There was much speculation within the medical community about whether or not the film had been doctored since most experts agreed that a fetus at that early stage of development simply lacked the neurological development and motor control to understand and react to what was happening.  The clamor surrounding the showing of this film resulted in a nationally syndicated radio program entitled “Thinking About the Silent Scream” which was produced by a noted Neurologist.  This scientific program relied on the testimony of experts in the field to challenge the accuracy of the film and to expose the trickery used to manipulate the footage.  The ECOM auditioned the program and decided to air the program on October 30 after an extensive publicity campaign. 

          Prior to the broadcast of “Thinking About the Silent Scream,” a local anti-abortion group contacted the station to request equal time.  Since the ECOM believed in equal time, and in fact the Fairness Doctrine required “equal opportunity”, the station provided studio time and an engineer to produce a half hour “response” to the show hosted by several local Catholic Priests.  This “rebuttal”, which was mostly a generic condemnation of abortion based on religious principals, aired immediately after the documentary was broadcast.  Interestingly, the producer of the original radio documentary had been having trouble getting stations around the country to air the show because of “equal time” concerns, and with the approval of everyone involved, we were able to bundle the two radio shows as a WWUH “UH Presents” Production, with the documentary and the “response” made into a one hour syndicated package that was ultimately aired by stations in thirteen states!

The local Capitol Records representative, Merv Amols, who had been very supportive of the station over the years, approached us in 1985 to air a program on Gamblers Anonymous, of which he was a member.  Merv helped produce a program on problem gambling that featured therapists from GA along with a number of former problem gamblers.

The station had always been interested in having a program aimed at young children, and while there were several attempts over the years to produce such a show in-house, the enormous effort required to produce a children’s program hampered progress.  The ECOM decided to look for a syndicated program and found a children’s show produced right here in Connecticut, by inmates at a local prison no less! The ECOM carefully reviewing several demo tapes and spoke at length with the Warden.  The show, "The Men of the Cabbage Patch" had been being produced for three years by non-violent prisoners at the Sommers Correctional Institute and was being distributed to dozens of pre-schools and elementary schools around the country. It was part of a work program to reward inmates for good behavior.  The warden assured us that no inmates convicted of violent crime, or convicted of any crime involving children were allowed to be involved with the program.

The ECOM liked what they heard on the demo tapes, and “The Men Of The Cabbage Patch” debuted on WWUH at 8:30 PM on Saturday, Oct. 5th. The program was aimed at children, ages 3-7 and featured segments of stories, poems and rhymes submitted by children and read by the inmates. The majority of the program was in English, but portions were in the Spanish language.  Listener reaction was favorable and overall, the program got an A+ for enthusiasm and about a C for production values, partly due to the lack of production equipment at the prison.

          Community Affairs Director Stuart Werner and Development Director Carol Stevens produced a concert to benefit the homeless in Hartford.  The Connecticut against Starvation and Hunger (“CASH”) Concert was held on October 20 at Trinity College. The show featured 12 Hours of music.

In April, we are approached by WHUS at UCONN in Storrs. They requested permission to rebroadcast our Algonquin Radio program aimed at the state’s Native American population.  Needless to say, we give them permission and the show was a regular part of WHUS’s weekly program line up for several years.

The station was one of seven stations sponsoring the annual March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon in April.  Station volunteers staffed a checkpoint in West Hartford and handed out promotional material along with water and encouragement.

For Halloween, the station had planned on broadcasting the original Mercury Theater production of HG Well’s War of the Worlds, of which the station had an LP recording.  Since the LP didn’t have any copyright notification on it and the disc was close to twenty years old, we assumed that it was cleared for air play. Extensive publicity was generated but we did not air the show!  On Halloween day, we received a telegram from the copyright holders of the recording informing us that the right to the broadcast had been sold to ABC Radio for 1985.  Apparently, the local ABC affiliate (who didn’t even air the show) blew the whistle on us and forced us to refrain from airing the program!

The poet Nikki Giovanni's campus reading was taped for later broadcast.

The station co-sponsored a concert at the local restaurant 36 Lewis Street with the band The Outlets.

WWUH musical programming continued to be “cutting edge”.

Import (generally European) rock, “space rock” and what was later to be called “new age” music became more popular on the air at WWUH in 1985, and money was allocated to purchase albums from such bands a Tangerine Dream and Gong.  The staff was horrified to find that in previous years, someone at the station had donated dozens of “bad” records considered useless by the radio station to the University's TV studio to use as sound effects.  Included in the find were irreplaceable copies of early Gong, Tangerine Dream, and David Allen albums, among others.  The station was able to get the recordings back from the TV studio, but they were practically unplayable since they had been so badly scratched by the TV students using them for background music.  This episode would be brought up time and time again in later years whenever someone on the staff suggested that we “dispose” of useless or “bad” albums to make room for “good” music.

An August '85, the WWUH Rock Playlist listed the following groups in "heavy" air play:  Midnight Oil, Shriekback, Robyn Hitchcock, REM, Three O’clock, Cabaret Voltair, Valley of Kings, Style Council and New Order. 

WWUH continued its tradition of being one of the only stations in the state to broadcast live music by producing a “live radio bluegrass concert” on Jan. 26th.  This event was held in the large meeting room in Gengras, and was attended by a “capacity” crown of about 75 people.

Bluegrass wasn’t the only style of music presented in concert by the station.  In March, the station presented a concert-featuring musician Fred Frith in Gengras.  The Outlets performed a benefit for WWUH at 36 Lewis Street.

          At the January 31, ECOM meeting, the station's classical programming was once again discussed at length.  The ECOM reviewed a previous decision to allocate one classical program a week to "contemporary classics".   The consensus was that more time should be allocated to this 20th century music since it fit well with our “alternative” nature.  One of the things the Ecom considered when making this decision was the fact that Connecticut Public Radio offered many hours a day of Classical programming, most of it fairly “mainstream” and they had recently improved their signal in the Hartford area.

The music department’s efforts in getting new recordings into the station were quite successful. These efforts included mailing Program Guides to record reps; lots of work on the phone with the reps and mailing Jazz, Rock and Classical play lists to record companies on a monthly basis. As a result, the station's jazz library in the air studio had grown so much that it would no longer fit into the space allocated for it in the air studio.  It was moved into a separate room, displacing the unused "news room" next to the office. The extra space allowed the collection to be laid out properly, with lots of room on each shelf for expansion.

With the Jazz recordings out of the air studio, we were left with two distinct “libraries” in the air studio, the regular Rock record library, and a library simply called “Rock Cross-file”.    The definition of what was in the cross-file depended upon whom you asked.  Historically, the collection was started in the seventies in an effort to make more usable room for the rock library when many "rock" albums were pulled out of the library and put in a separate library called the "Cross-file" library which was in the production studio.  The two schools of thought in 1985 were that the cross-file library contained either A) Rock albums that nobody knew what to do with since they weren’t likely to be played very often and no one wanted them taking up space in the regular rock library, or B) “junk” albums. Perhaps those two categories could be considered one and the same at a time.

          There had been many heated arguments between staffers in the year or two prior to 1985 about whether or not there should be a cross-file, and if so, what should go in it.  This was a major source of contention between some staffers, and tempers would flare up occasionally, especially when someone’s favorite band was relegated to the Cross-file by some other DJ who didn’t like the band and who considered him or herself an “expert” on the music.

          The January 20 General Meeting brought a long discussion about whether this cross-file library should be reincorporated into the main rock library.  Some staffers felt that what they termed the "schlock-rock" cross-file records should be kept separate, while others objected to this because the segregation was being done on "subjective" grounds and they felt that we should strive to create a comprehensive library.  The concept of a comprehensive library won out and the libraries were once again combined.

If you are curious about what constituted a cross-file album, you can identify these albums today in our Rock library.  They are easy to see since a large “X” was placed across the label in the upper left hand corner when the Cross-file was started.

Marathon ’85 kicked off on February 17 with a pre-marathon staff party that was held at The Keg.  Pledges to Marathon '85 came from 1756 people and totaled $28,759. Close to 25% of the pledges came in via charge card!  The event featured an open house for listeners on Thursday of Marathon week.  Doug Maine contributed to the success of Marathon by writing up an excellent press release to make sure that the event was widely publicized.

$25,279 was eventually collected from Marathon ‘85.  The average pledge was $16.38.  The highest “grossing” show (something the staff was always fascinated with yet which the ECOM downplayed) continued to be UH Radio Bluegrass hosted by Jim Douglas, followed by FM on Toast with John Merino on Friday morning.  1170 T Shirts are ordered by our listeners, along with 183 listener kits, 438 guide subscriptions and 378 other premiums (mostly LPs).       

          Because of a shortage of volunteers, the station’s commitment to maintaining a 24 hours a day schedule had begun to suffer.  In the latter half of 1984, it wasn’t unusual for the station to be off the air 6-12 or more hours a month, most often due to the lack of volunteers interested in doing All Night Shows.  A recruitment drive was started in January of 1985 in the hope of increasing the number of air approved staff members to fill all the vacant All Night Shows and return the station to a non-stop schedule.  The drive consisted articles in the school newspaper, posters around campus and promotion through Communications classes. 

          The drive was successful in attracting about a dozen new student volunteers to join the station.

In addition to needing more volunteers, the ECOM realized that proper training of the new recruits was critical to the future of WWUH, and this recruitment drive was accompanied by an expansion of the training program from two sessions to four.  A session entitled "An Introduction to Alternative Radio" was added as the first step in the training program making it a three-part program. This new training sessions would focus on the rights and responsibilities of being a station member, something that had not been formally addressed during the eighties. In addition, the session would give people interested in joining the staff an overview of non-commercial radio in general and WWUH in particular.  An emphasis was placed on the history of the station and the importance of alternative media.

The two existing training sessions became sessions two and three in the new program and they focused on teaching the basics of equipment operation and the esthetics of doing a radio program.  A forth session was added later in the year which would be held in the air studio and concentrate on "Air Studio Operations."  This was the first time in the station's history that prospective announcers were able to formally train in the studio they would actually use on the air.   

          In April, all state broadcasters in the state were notified of a 300% increase in the rate for high fidelity telephone company supplied phone lines of the type used each summer for the Bushnell Park broadcasts!  This forced the ECOM to cancel the plans to broadcast the summer’s CRT Jazz Concerts from Bushnell Park simply because the station couldn’t afford the new line charges.  Jazz announcer Gene Solon volunteered to tape record the concerts and to conduct interviews, and Jim Bolan aired the tapes during his Tuesday evening Accent on Jazz show.

          The April 1985 monthly business report showed $4423.11 in expenses (including $1859 for Guide printing, $625 for Marathon postage, and $664 for a management consultant, and $450 for new Air Studio speakers).  Income during the same period was $3616.54, with all but $228 coming from Marathon donors.

Channel 8 visited the station in March and interviewed Program Director Bill Yousman as part of a segment they were doing on alternative and college radio. Unfortunately for Bill, the caption that appeared under his name on the TV segment said “Brian Yousman”, something that became somewhat of a joke among the ECOM.  Bill did a great job representing the station and the interview was featured prominently in a TV special about college broadcasters.  Local Capital Records rep. Merv Amos also appeared on the segment discussing new music, including what he said was the hot new band “Skinny Puppy”.

          Plans to broadcast the New England Fiddle Contest were scrapped when the event, planned for July 7th, was canceled due to the promoter having trouble getting the required permits from the city of Hartford. In addition to insisting on a cut from each of the vendor’s profits at the event, the city was requiring that the promoter hire literally dozens of off-duty police, even though in the fifteen-year history of the event there had never been a serious problem. Many felt that this was just another example of Hartford’s strange ability to scare off just about everything that was good in the city.

          In May, the University gave the ECOM formal approval to hire a General Manager on an Interim basis while the search went on for a person to fill the position permanently.  This would allow the station to continue normal operations while the Search Committee did their work.

          The end of the 84/85 school year brought with it a number of changes in the ECOM.

Stuart Werner became Community Affairs Director in May.  He had recently served as Program Director, but now he was back and he was excited about expanding the important role that public affairs programs in WWUH’s programming lineup.

Donna Giddings resigned from the position of Business Manager due to time constraints, but remained with the station doing a weekly Morning Jazz program.

          General Manager Rob Rosenthal gave his resignation, effective Monday, July 15.  Having finished his graduate studies at the University, Rob said that felt that it was time for him to move on.  Upon making the announcement at the July 14th General Meeting, Rob received many compliments for a job well done.  His optimistic outlook and belief in the station’s staff had allowed him to succeed during some tough times.

          John Ramsey was appointed Acting General Manager on an interim basis so that the station could move forward while the search committee studies resumes and conducted interviews.  John offered to serve as GM on a voluntary basis for 90 days.

Program Director Bill Yousman reluctantly resigned effective August 1 because “he didn't have the time anymore to put into the position”.  He promised to stay on and continue to help with programming both on and off the air.

Gary Levin resigned from the Business Manager position, and student Kim Eaton is appointed Acting Business Manager.

          “WWUH Outstanding Service” plaques were presented to Rob Rosenthal and Bill Yousman at the August General Meeting.  Both Rob and Bill were given a thunderous round of applause by the staff.

Don Harris was voted in as Operations Director in the fall and immediately set up a task force to hire a general manager.  With staff input, Don and the Ecom had already drafted a job description, defined the salary and had decided where they should advertise for the position.  He immediately set up a Search Committee and they placed ads in a number of regional papers.

          The ECOM adopted a policy of requiring each new person on the air to be chaperoned by another staff member for at least the first hour of his or her first show.  This had worked out extremely well.

          In an effort to get more students involved with the station, the station participated in the Student Organization night at the commons in September. 

          The ECOM arranged for the first time for WWUH to be recognized as a work-study site, allowing us to hire our first work-study student in the fall.              

          WSAM, the campus station, donated over 200 jazz records to WWUH. WSAM had no use for the recordings as they had a strictly Top-40 type format at the time.  This was the beginning of a new, positive relationship between the two stations.

          After much discussion, the ECOM decided to accept Visa and MC charges during Marathon on a trial basis in March.  Some were concerned that taking charge cards sounded too “commercial”, while others had security concerns. However, the decision was made to do this and arrangements were made with the University to accommodate this, and the Marathon Manager position was created to handle the charge pledges.

John Ramsey related in 2003 a strange bit of WWUH history that took place in late in the fall of 1986:

“I was invited to attend a meeting with one of the VPs of the University.  When I asked my boss, the Dean of Students, about the meeting, I was shocked to discover that the Dean had not been invited to the meeting!  The Dean’s only advice to me was an ominous-sounding “Good luck”.      

“When I attended the meeting a few days later, I was met by no less than three VPs.

          “During the first 30 minutes of the meeting I was presented with all sorts of “what ifs”.  What if WWUH had a person on campus that was an expert on FCC law? Wouldn’t that be helpful I was asked?  What if we had a person on campus that was an expert on alternative programming (or volunteer management or fund raising)?  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  It became clear very quickly that the real agenda of the meeting had yet to be revealed.

 I explained that the Communications Department had been very helpful over the years, and that the University’s attorney had been of assistance on a number of occasions when we had questions involving legal issues.. I let them know that we had the campus based resources we needed, and that we could call on the expertise of either of the two college radio trade organizations we were a member of

“I made it clear that if there was something about the station that they didn’t like, they should simply tell me so that I could take concerns to the ECOM. They kept on assuring me that the station was “fine”.  I finally asked them point blank what the meeting was about.

“They finally told that the station lacked “Academic Credibility”. I knew that they were hinting at something and that this phrase was just a cover so I asked for clarification as to what that term meant in relation to WWUH.  While several people spoke in vague terms about a general dissatisfaction with the radio station, I was unable to get them to be more specific, which proved to me that the real agenda still hadn’t been put on the table.   I felt confident approaching the discussion from a position of strength thanks to the outstanding support that WWUH had, both as a campus organization and in the community.  

“Eventually, I was able to get them to reveal the real reason for the meeting: their desire to hire another full time professor who would also serve as manager of WWUH! 

“I told them of the station’s proud history of management from within, and that the station’s staff would not take kindly to this kind of intervention into the management of the station. I also made it clear that it didn’t make sense to change things since they had been working so well for so long.

“This was followed by an attempt to “co-opt” me.  They offered to hire me on a full time basis as station engineer if I helped convince the staff that their idea would be good for the station! 

“I was incredulous that they would approach the issue in this manner, and I told them in no uncertain terms that the station was doing fine with the existing management, and that if they wanted something changed they had better do it through the station’s ECOM. I also let them know that while the station belonged to the University, if they tried to do an end run around the station’s constitution and force an outside person on the station as manager, a person who had not been approved by the station’s volunteer station, that they would have a fight on their hands as the volunteer staff and management would protest loudly.  If push came to shove, I let them know that the university would “win the battle but lose the war”.  They would end up with a bunch of empty studios and silence on 91.3 for the first time in over twenty years!  I also reminded them of the incredible amount of support that the station received from the public and how bad I felt the resulting negative publicity would be for the University.  ‘Hundreds of angry listeners picketing in front of the UH President’s house’ and nationwide headlines saying “Hostile takeover of UH Community Service Radio Station” were two the pictures I painted for them. By the end of the meeting they had dropped the subject and the VIPs were wishing the station well.

“Was I scared when I said these things?  Of course, but no so much for myself. It was the future of the station that was at stake and if I had to, I would have gone down fighting for it.”

The issue never came up again. 

          The Compact Disc had made its debut in the US in 1983, but no one was sure how widely accepted the product would be.  In the years since its introduction, WWUH had only received a handful of promotional CDs and the players remained incredibly expensive.  The record labels said that sending out CDs was just too expensive so college stations were still getting serviced with LPs.  However, a number of station programmers had started adding CDs to their personal collections.

The station's first CD player, a professional Revox unit, was purchased in the spring and installed in the air studio.  This allowed the station to start a collection of CDs and to enable volunteers to bring in discs from home to play on the air. The audio superiority of CDs was immediately apparent on the air, and the ECOM was excited about the fact that CDs would most likely last longer than LPs since they were more robust.

          The University Development Department spent $400 making a mock up WWUH Program Guide.  The ECOM was appreciative of the thought, but was equally amused at the final product, which had University of Hartford logo plastered on the front four times the size our call letters.  The design was presented to the staff and was considered “too slick” by most of the staff. 

          In an effort to make the ECOM meetings more efficient, Doug Maine suggested several methods to stream line them and to keep the discussions on track and minimize the time spent wasted going off on tangents.  Some people thought the one-liners and other attempt at "comic relief" made the meetings more "bearable."  This topic was discussed at length and ultimately everyone agreed to try to be more professional.   This had a great effect on future meetings.

Operations Director Grant Miller recalls:

“While conducting a training program, level one, in one of the meeting rooms, the ECOM was distributing forms and talking about the different departments of the station.  I noticed that Dan had a distressed look on his face, and after some time I gestured for him to come outside the room.  In the hall he said that he felt a student was carrying a gun in his back pocket!   He asked me to look discreetly.  After going back into the room, I offered to distribute handouts so that he could check out the student in question.  Yes indeed, there was the butt of a pistol sticking out of his back pocket.  A state of confusion ensued behind the scenes while Dan and I figured out the best way to inform the General Manager, who was conducting the meeting.  Then he realized that he had seen a sign posted for the annual assassin game, which involved toy pistols.  I let Dan stew for about 30 minutes.

          Channel 30 visited the station in January as they were doing a special news segment on alternative music.  General Manager Rob Rosenthal was featured along with PD Bill Yousman.

The March/April issue of the Guide showed no less than 26 station underwriters.

On February 13 while Susan Mullis was on the air the Gengras fire alarm sounded.  False alarms were common but Susan followed standard procedure and put on a long song and started to exit the building.  She was shocked when she smelled smoke in the halls.  A few minutes later he electricity went off in the building.  What had happened was that a large electrical transformer in the basement of the building had shorted out.  The fire was minor and did little damage but power would be out in the building for days while repairs were made.  Emergency procedures were put into place and a temporary electrical generator was connected to get WWUH back on the air. For the next five days WWUH volunteers operated the station from an otherwise dark and deserted building.

          In September, a major hurricane struck Connecticut and knocked out power to the transmitter site.  The engineering department received permission to connect the transmitter to WTIC's generator and the station remained on the air for the duration of the outage, which turned out to be 36 hours.

The university contacted the station in the fall and asked staff to submit a list of technical requirements should the station be invited to move into a new building.  They were considering including us in the new, 100,000 square foot addition planned for the Mortensen Library.  The engineering department's proposal dealt with such important issues as:  access, electrical power, HVAC, grounding, acoustics, etc.

          Station management saw the immense opportunity that the new facilities would provide, and station manager Rob Rosenthal took every opportunity to press for having WWUH included in the plans.  Meetings were held with the university about including WWUH in the new Communications Wing, and ultimately confirmation was received that the station would indeed be moving.  With this in mind, John Ramsey arranged for the architect, Tai Su Kim, to visit not only our existing studio but to tour the facilities of WTIC radio as well to get an idea of how professional studios were set up.  Station management worked hard to summarize all of the requirements of the radio station for the architect.

          The University had agreed to fund 100% of the construction for new facility.  This included not only the walls, doors, lighting, but also the broadcast equipment and everything else we would need to build a new radio station.

A preliminary budget for moving WWUH into the proposed Communications Building was written up by Rob Rosenthal and John Ramsey.  The cost was estimated at $118,000!  This figure including building a new Air Studio, and reusing most of the old equipment.

One of the unique requirements needed if we were to relocate our STL antennas from the tower on top of Gengras was the erection of a 100-foot tower on top of the new building.    The building's architect had a real problem with our request for a 100-foot tower on the new building so the engineering department started looking into options.  One idea that they came up with was hiding the antennas inside a new, 120-foot tall, masonry clock tower, which was to be located in front of the building where the flag poles are currently situated. Upon hearing this recommendation in a meeting in his office, the architect immediately made a miniature scale model of the four-sided tower and placed it in the appropriate place in the scale model of the building.  Everyone present loved the look of the tower, and President Trachtenberg immediately realized that the tower could become a new landmark, drawing people to the Harry Jack Gray Center.

Unfortunately, the cost of a 120-foot masonry tower was estimated at close to a half million dollars, and even though the University had no less than three individuals willing to “sponsor” the tower as long as it was named after them, the University had to direct these donors to other parts of the building that as of yet remained unfounded.  It doesn’t take too much imagination to realize that it would have probably been the “Wilde” tower.

Ultimately, the plans for the clock tower (or any other tower) were nixed by the architect, and we decided that we could utilize the existing antennas on Gengras for our microwave shot to the transmitter site.

The paid GM proposal was submitted to the University for approval in July.

A reunion of WWUH alumni was sponsored by former WWUH General Manager Judy Corcoran and held at the Sheridan in Hartford.  About two-dozen alumni attend.

          WWUH was voted Best College Station by the Hartford Advocate in their Annual Readers Poll in the spring.  Needless to say, this had a huge impact on staff moral!  The university couldn’t help but notice!

Student Jean Collangelo was appointed News Director and immediately went to work on the goal of providing coverage to some of the worthwhile campus events that would be of interest to our listeners.

          Volunteer Andy Taylor was presented with a Distinguished Service Award at the October meeting for helping with the Music Department.

          In the fall, the ECOM determined that getting more students involved in the station should be a high priority.  Recruitment efforts began and station membership training was restricted to UH students only.  Five parallel training sessions for new students are set up for Sept. and October.

Gary Levin was appointed Acting Business Manager.

          A Hurricane knocked us off the air from 1-7 pm on Friday, Sept. 27, and kept us at low power until the morning of the 28th.

          Director of Development Carol Stevens and GM John Ramsey presented a proposal to the ECOM to convert the Program Guide to an 81/2” x 11” Newsprint format. In addition to being more environmentally friendly, the newsprint format would be easier to lay out and would be much less expensive to produce.   The ECOM approved the plan, and the format adopted remains the one in use today.  The first run of the new Guide was 10,000 copies which were distributed on campus, and to about a hundred area outlets.

          Legendary Hartford radio personality Bob Steele from WTIC was given a tour of the station in December while he was on campus on other business.

          The station Holiday Party was hosted by Donna Giddings at her apartment on Whitney Street on Dec. 14. Approximately twenty-five staff members attended.

          In an effort to cut down on promotional expenses, the station arranged for Integrity n Music to purchase 2500 WWUH bumper stickers for us in return for an ad for their store on the back giving our customers a 10% discount on purchases!

          A 72-hour rule was put into effect by the ECOM, a rule that remains in effect today.  The rule required show hosts to notify the Program Director at least 72  hours in advance if they could not do a show except in the case of an emergency.  Although it took a while for the entire staff to fully embrace it, this policy was an instant success and resulted in significantly fewer last minute calls to the Program Director.

          Program Director Stuart Werner wrote a manual entitled "How To Be The Program Director at WWUH" as an independent study project.  It served as an excellent guide for future program directors.

          The groundbreaking ceremony for the Gray Center was attended by the ECOM and other station volunteers and pictures of the ceremony appeared in the Guide.  The ECOM’s ambitious plan was to have the space ready for WWUH to start broadcasting in about two years.

Weekly engineering meetings are instituted in the fall that included tours of local stations WDRC, WHCN, WRCH and WVIT TV-30. The goal was to have our engineering staff visit other stations so that they could better participate in the design of the new WWUH facilities.

A field strength survey of the station's coverage was undertaken by the in the fall.  Measurements confirmed what staff had always suspected:  coverage was anything but the uniform circle it was supposed to be.  Both the mounting of the antenna (on the side of the tower close to a leg) and the terrain blockage resulted in a signal that was the equivalent of only 10 watts in several directions.   Engineering had been working for years to get a higher location for the station's antenna without much success, so a decision was made to pursue an interim step.  A new single bay antenna would be purchased and mounted in such a way that the tower would have minimal impact on the radiated pattern.

          Along with the icy winter weather came problems with the old antenna system.  The radomes that protected the antenna from ice had been exposed to the UV light from the sun and acid rain for so long that they no longer prevented ice buildup.  The station was forced to reduce power for days at a time when the ice caused an increase in VSWR on the antenna.  When staff found out that new radomes cost just about as much as a new antenna, they decided to explore other options.

Staff Awards were presented at the General Meeting on Dec. 5

          Program Guide record reviews included the bands Crumbsuckers, Starkweather, Human Fly, The Tom Russell Band, Jim Kweskin and the Jub Band and Augie Meyers.

          FM On Toast hosts included: Bill Domler, Joel Blumert, Dave Williams, Tom Bowman, John Merino, Ed McKeon and Ed Savage.

          Jazz hosts included: Janet Bilan, Don Harris, Harvey Jassem, Peter Michaelson, Donna Giddings, Leora Sparapani and Laurel Aronstamm (Monring Jazz) and Jim Bolan, Maurice Robertson, Michael Clare and Tony Grant (Accent on Jazz).

          Synthesis hosts included: Reynolds Onderdonk, Andy Taylor, Janet Bilan, Bill Yousman, Stu Werner and Rob Rosenthall.

          Pubic Affairs Producers included: George Michael Evica (Assassination Journal), Carol Bozena (Lunch Date),  Felix Viera (Latin Affairs and Con Salsa), John Ramsey (Shortwave Alternative) and Keith Brown (Gay Spirit).

          Classical hosts included: Howard Bruce, Michael Richardson, Vinny Furst, Lenell Kittlitz, Tom Bradford, Susan Mullis and Key Hopper (Evening Classics).  Suites for a Sunday Morning was hosted by Tom Kelly.

          Gothics and All Night Show hosts included: Valerie Zars, Stu Werner, Gary Levin, Marissa Donza, Lascelles Horrabin, Norm Zimmer, Paul McGuinness, Dave Young, Carol Stevens, Steve Burke, Bob Orem, Neil Metzner, Chris Wisniewski,

          Specialty Show producers included: Marianna Evica (Ambience), Terry Weichand (FM in Bed), Vijay Dixit (Geetanjali), Jim Douglas (UH Radio Bluegrass), Jackie P. and Nay Nassar (Street Corner Serenade), Carol and Alphee Laroy (Astrology Almanac), Tony and Carlo Magno (Carosello Musicale Italiano), Henrique Ribeiro (Cultura e Vida), Phillip Mitchell (West Indian Rhythms, Tim Wolfe (Mbira), Wayne Jones (Memory Machine), Jim Hynes and Jim Mercik (Blue Monday), Mixashawn (Algonquin Radio) and Mark DeLorenzo (Greatest Show from Earth).

          Events making the news in 1985 included Reagan and Gorbachev meet at summit (Nov. 19); agree to step up arms control talks and renew cultural contacts (Nov. 21). Terrorists seize Egyptian Boeing 737 airliner after takeoff from Athens (Nov. 23); 59 dead as Egyptian forces storm plane on Malta (Nov. 24); General Westmoreland settles libel action against CBS (Feb. 18);  Arthur James Walker, 50, retired naval officer, convicted by federal judge of participating in Soviet spy ring operated by his brother, John Walker (Aug. 9).

Website Builder