WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1990 Text

The ECOM consisted of John Ramsey – General Manager, - Operations Director, Susan Mullis – Director of Development, - Program Director, - Community Affairs Director, - Business Manager,  – At Large Member and John Ramsey – Chief Engineer.

Other managers included Kevin Lynch – Bluegrass Director, - Music Director, - Classics Director, - Jazz Director, - Blues Director, - Production Director.

Staff: Erin Albren, Keith Barrett, Peter Beneski, Janet Bilan, Rick Boissoneau, Jim Bolan, Tom Bowman, Maureen Brennan, Sean Brennan, Carl Brouilette, Keith Brown, Steved Burke, Frank Butash, Monica Capezza, Guy Carnazza, Bob Celmer, Mark Channon, Fran Cmara, Christine Cooney, Vanessa Cooper, Tim Costa, Lee Courtney, Bill Cunningham, Donna Dauphinais, Oscar Dean, Mark DeLorenzo, Dave DeMaw, Mike DeRosa, Terrell Dickson, Rich Dittman, Vijay Dixit, Bill Domler, Mark Dressler, Charles Dube, Randol Duncan, George Michael Evice, Luis Feliciano, Vinny Fuerst, Dave Baglas, Carla Gauthier, Donna Giddings, Jacki Gilligan, Michael Goshin, Laura Grabsch, Arthur Greene, Greg Gunn, Chuck Hale, F. Paul Haney, Cherie Heppe, Mark Hernandez, Cindy Hohstadt, Sam Jacobs, Harvey Jassem, Wayne Jones, Christopher Jordan, Bruce Kampe, Tom Kelly, Richard Kilbourne, Dan King, Kathy Krivanec, Arne Langsetmo, Laurie Lavoie, Bob Lee, Gary Levin, Allan Livermore, Greg Lynch, Carlo Magno, Tony Magno, Doug Maine, Chris Marti, Robert Martin, Allison Maslow, Bryan McGurn, Ed McKeon, Georgette Nemr, Phillipo Neufvilel, Olaf Neumann, Ted Hiehay, Kevin O’Toole, Serge Outairo, Steve Pankowicz,  Bill Perrier, Kevin Porter, John Prytko, John Ramsey, Marnie REGEN, Bruce R3eicher, Dave Repoli, Christina Ribeiro, Henrique Ribeiro, Mike Ringland, MauriceRobertson, Don Rovero, Mark Santini, Ed Savage, John Scott, Barry Seelin, Kapil Taneja, Andy Taylor, James Valentino, Rich Vaughn, Felix Viera, Dave Viveiros, Chris Watson, Terry Weichand, Lloyd Weir, Linda Wentworth, Steve Winot, Dave Zaluda, Andy Zeldin.

 

Many WWUH listeners learned about the dangers of global warming for the first time through “Pollution Solutions,” a twelve part series of syndicated show presented by WWUH in the spring of the year.  The feature was very popular and was heavily covered in the press, including a long article on it in the Manchester Journal Enquirer in March.

After the success of the radio play “The George Tirebiter Story” in 1989, WWUH continued to look for opportunities to air radio drama.  In March, the station produced and aired such a program entitled “Address Unknown.”  Set in the time of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany.  “Address Unknown” was a  short story which consisted solely of letters exchanged by a Jewish art dealer in San Francisco and his gentile partner who has returned to Germany just as Adolph Hitler had come to power.

Also in March, WWUH and Company One aired the second of the “Radio Playing” series, featuring a play by Chekhov entitled “The Inheritance which was performed in Wilde Auditorium on March 10th and aired live.

WWUH teamed up with the UH School of Communications by airing the audio portion of a cable TV program “Focus on Communications” which was produced by Donald Ellis, the chair of the school.  Featured guests included Gerry Brooks from channel 3, Joanne Nesti from Channel 30. Eric Reiss of the New Britain Herald and Henry McNulty, Editor of The Hartford Courant.

Radio drama again made its appearance on 91.3 in fall in the form of a Halloween special produced by Company One entitled “Soundscary”. The production took place in the Wilde Auditorium on Oct. 30 and it was aired on WWUH and simulcast on WHCN.

“Epandemic Journal” became a regular ongoing series in the middle section of Gay Spirit.

In March, WWUH alumnus Ken Kalish passed away.  Ken had been a general manager for two terms in the early years of WWUH’s existence, and had served as Chief Engineer as well.

“Asian American Forum” made its first appearance in July.

In October, the entire staff was thrilled to see “The Wonderful radio programming of WWUH” listed as one of the “101 Wonderful Things about the City of Hartford” in the Courant’s October 3 issue. 

During the fall the station aired the seven part series “The Miles Davis Radio Project” produced by Pacifica.  Audience reaction was very positive and the series generated a huge amount of publicity in such publications as the Journal Inquirer, the Hartford Courant, the Advocate and the Farmington Valley Herald.

The effort continued to contact small stations around the state in the hope that one or more of them could be convinced to rebroadcast our signal when they were not otherwise on the air.  Contacted were WERB at Berlin High, WDJW in Somers High, and WWEB at Choate Rosemary School in Wallingford.  Each of these stations was offered a unique arrangement whereby they would carry our programming during those hours they could not (or would not be) programming from their own station.  The advantage to them was:  A.  They would have a 24-hour a day station.  B.  They would be providing a community service, and C.  they could use WWUH as a role model for their programming.  The advantage to us would be that our signal would be boosted and reach more listeners. This would especially help in Wallingford, where the signal was partially blocked by Meriden Mountain and in Somers where our signal was weak Because of the distance from Hartford.

          The manager of WWEB in Wallingford was very receptive to the idea and after a series of meetings with him and school officials, a contract was signed and equipment installed to allow the rebroadcast to take place.  In return for rebroadcasting our signal, WWUH would provide them with engineering assistance should they experience transmission problems.  WWUH would also include them in its broadcaster’s liability insurance policy.

          The agreement worked great.  WWUH programming was carried on WWEB anywhere from 12 to 24 hours a day, which resulted in a number of new listeners to WWUH in the Wallingford area.

          While both WDJW and WERB showed some interest in the rebroadcast idea at the time, they were not willing to commit, mostly because neither of these stations were on the air very much.

          At the end of the summer, WWUH was contacted by the University’s Athletic department.  The man they had hired to coordinate the broadcast of Hawks basketball on commercial radio had passed away unexpectedly less than a week before the start of the season, and it was discovered at the last minute that he had not made any firm arrangements to get the Hawks on the air.  The University felt it was important to have the games broadcast and they were turning to WWUH to bail them out!  Nobody on the staff wanted to broadcast the games because it was felt that the games had limited appeal and that the schedule of over twenty. Two-hour games would interrupt too many of the station's unique programs.  It became obvious in a series of meetings with senior administration officials from the school that it would make sense for WWUH to come to the team’s aid.  The ECOM also felt that it would be unwise to refuse considering all that the University had done for us.  So a compromise was struck whereby WWUH wouldn't carry any games until the second half of the season (in order to notify producers and listeners alike), and only the dozen or so away games in the second part of the season would be aired. 

The arrangement agreed to was that the University would provide the equipment, pay all of the phone costs, and even pay one of our announcers to run the board!  A two line Comrex line extender was donated by WTIC so that the games sound good on our FM signal, and the University purchased a mixer, headsets and a portable cell phone for use on the road.  We carried 13 games:  audience reaction was minimal, with the comments pretty much evenly split pro and con.  The staff took the games very well, although a few producers were very concerned about was they felt was an “unwarranted” intrusions into their show’s air time.

          Marathon:

In the fall, a "silent fund raiser" was held in an effort to raise $10,000 for a desktop publishing system.  This event was successful, with slightly more than $10,000 pledged.  Much to staff's surprise, Apple Computer in Glastonbury called during the last hour and offered to donate a Mac SE with Laser Printer!  The money raised during the fund drive was spent on software and other related items.

          Promoting the local music scene has always been an important part of the station’s programming, but such concert announcements during the drive-time time slot for FM on Toast folk programming had caused a number of listeners to complain about the length of the announcements.  Some announcers were spending 5-10 minutes at a time each hour reading a long list of area appearances.  From the listener’s standpoint, it seemed that by the time the announcements were finished, the listener had also finished their entire commute! 

In an effort to minimize this problem, a dialog was started with the various folk announcers.  A few realized immediately that the excessive amount of concert information they were reading each morning was a turn off for listeners, but more than a few felt that it was the station’s obligation to provide the public with this information. After some consideration, a folk concert line was installed that featured a prerecorded listing of folk concerts in and around the Hartford area.  The recording would be updates weekly, and the “WWUH Folkfone” was something that announcers could refer to anytime on the air.  The idea was for each folk announcer to announce a few of the most important events coming up in the next few weeks for promotion on the air, and then they would refer their listeners to the Folkfone for further information.  The university provided a direct dial number, 768-5000 for the new Folkfone. An old cart machine was modified to answer the phone automatically and playback the message.  A counter was connected to keep track of the number of phone calls into the machine.   Much to staff's surprise, the station started getting dozens of calls each month week.  Soon a local restaurant agreed to "sponsor" the line.

          It wasn't long before the jazz staff wanted to have a concert line as well, so the 768-5BOP Jazzline was created, utilizing another cart machine and auto answer coupler in the office.

          In the fall, staff member Kevin Lynch, host of UH Radio Bluegrass, arranged for WWUH to carry the International Bluegrass Music Award ceremony live from Nashville in September.  The satellite feed was down linked at WDRC in Bloomfield, and relayed via a remote pickup unit to our studio.  Audience reaction was very favorable.

          When the University's insurance consultant suggested that programming liability insurance be acquired for WWUH, the ECOM was hesitant to recommend against it.  Although WWUH had never been seriously threatened by a civil suit, its cutting edge programming and volunteer staff made it vulnerable so the decision was made to go along with the consultant’s recommendation.  The University agreed to pick up the bill for the first year.  This insurance, which covered such things as invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, and defamation of character, was about $2000 per year, and did not cover any FCC, related fines!

          In early 1990, the staff came to the decision that the second paid position should be added to the ECOM, that of Director of Development.  In May ’90, Susan Mullis was hired as the first paid Director of Development.

When the new facility in the Gray Center was being designed in the late eighties, a generator to supply electrical power to the studio in the event of a power failure was included in the original plans.  However, the generator was one of several items put on the list under the heading "deduct alternates".  Deduct alternates were things that the University could cut in a financial pinch without effecting the day-to-day operations of the station.   Sure enough, although this item was deleted early on for budgetary reasons, the engineering department was able to get a manual transfer switch installed in the engineering shop with a conduit running to an outlet on the wall near the outside door.  The idea being that during at power failure, staff would be able to use one of the portable generators kept by Power Plant to power the station.

          Once moved in, talks were started with the director of the power plant to see if the station could get power during an outage from the large generator maintained in the power plant building.  They were responsive to this idea, and by the end of the year we had a new automatic switch installed allowing WWUH be connected to the large, natural gas fired generator

WHCN had been a friend of the University for some time, sponsoring a scholarship in the Communications School among other things.  An arrangement was made through WHCN to have their sister station, WBLI in Long Island; donate a $4,000 dummy load to WWUH.  

          One of the major problems with the remote control system over the years was that it relied on a subcarrier to convey the data from Avon to the studio.  This meant that this data was unavailable when the transmitter was off the air, a time when the data was most important.  Staff licensed and installed a UHF transmitter to studio link system that consisted of a 450 MHZ transmitter in Avon and a matching receiver at the studio.  This link was used to convey the data between the two points independent of the 91.3 transmitter.

          The station sponsored a monthly meeting of the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, whose members toured the station.

To facilitate the creation of a permanent recording studio at the station, a used Audioarts 24 x 8 x 2 console was purchased.  This was the perfect console to build the station's recording capability around.  The console was installed in the recording control room, and multi cables were installed between that room and the Wilde Auditorium and the station's recording studio.  Eventually, there would be 30 channels of audio and three video cables tying the Wilde Auditorium to the Control Room.  Audio, video and intercom tie lines were also run between the station and the TV studio.  

          In the spring staff purchased and installed an additional Burk ARC-16 remote control unit that enabled staff to make the Gengras STL equipment a second site.  In this way, the STL equipment could be controlled from the studio and the transmitter site, and the transmitter could be controlled from the studio and from Gengras!  This ARC-16 also provided a backup should something happen to the ARC-16 at the transmitter site.

A computer was purchased in the spring to run the Autopilot software supplied with the Burk remote control. Volunteer Dave Viveiros was kind enough to donate a color monitor, printer and hard drive to complete the system.  Dave programmed the system to automatically restart the transmitter and to maintain the transmitter's power at 100%.

The music department was busy in 1990.  CDs received by Genre during the one-year period 1/1-12/31:  Rock-1627, Jazz-508, Folk/BG-424, Urban-262, World/Reggae-161 and Blues-96 for a total of over 3000 CDs.

90 hurricane

          FM On Toast hosts included:

          Jazz hosts included:

          Synthesis hosts included:

          Pubic Affairs Producers included:

          Classical hosts included:

          Gothics and All Night Show hosts included:

          Special Show producers included:

News headlines in 1990 included: Western Alliance ends Cold War and proposes joint action with Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (July 6); Iraqi troops invade Kuwait, setting off the Persian Gulf War (Aug. 2 et seq.). Background: The Persian Gulf War; East and West Germany reunited (Aug. 31 et seq.); Lech Walesa wins Poland's runoff Presidential election (Dec. 9); US Supreme Court upsets law banning flag burning (June 11); Republicans set back in midterm elections (Nov. 8).


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