WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1991

 

The Executive Committee consisted of John Ramsey - General Manager; Laura Grabsch - Operations Director; Susan Mullis - Director of Development; Art Greene - Program Director; John Merlau - Business Manager; John Ramsey - Chief Engineer; Bill Cunningham  - Member At Large; Allen Livermore - Community Affairs Director.

Sub Department heads: Blake Wilcox, Music Director; Rich Kilbourne, Jazz Director;  Ed McKeon – Folk Director, Chuck Dube – Asst. Chief Engineer, Kevin O’Toole – Production Director, Keith Barrett – Classics Director.

Staff: Adam Babis, Keith Barrett, Janet Bilan, Paul Bock, Pheobee Bock,  Rich Boissoneau, Jim Bolan, Tom Bowman, Brad Boyers, Bart Bozzi, Marueen Brennan, Sean Brennan, Keith Brown, Warren Byrd, Peter Burkle, Steve Burke, Frank Butash, Mark Channon, Bob Celmer, Fran Cmara, Christine Cooney, Vanessa Cooper, Tim Costa, Lee Courtney, Bill Cunningham, Donna Dauphinais, Oscar Dean, Kathy Deely, Mark Delorenzo, Dave DeMaw, Mike DeRosa, Terrell Dickson, Rich Dittman, Vijay Dixit, Bill Domler, Stuart Donner, Stephen Doghty, Mark Dressler, Charles Dube, Randol Duncan, Linda Epstein, George Michael Evica, Wendy Feldheim, Vinney Fuerst, Dave Gablas, Donna Giddings, Laura Grabsch, Arthur Greene, F. Paul Haney, Cindy Holstadt,  Harvey Jassem, Bruce Jefferson, Wayne Jones, Christopher Jordan, Bruce Kampe, Tom Kelly, Rich Kilbourne, Dan Kriwitsky, Peter Langley, Arne Langsetmo, Bob Lee, Gary Levin, Charlene Lewinski, Allen Livermore, Greg Lynch, Carlo Magno, Tony Magno, Doug Maine, Robert Martin, Tori Mazur, Ed McKeon, Ryan Melcher, Mark Melnick,John Merlau, Peter Michaelson, Dorienne Miner, Philip Mitchell, MAxashaun, Susan Mullis, Ed Nelson, Georgette Nemr, Ted Neihay, Kevin O’Toole, Serge Outairo, Steve Pankowicz, Bill Perrier, Devin Porter, Ryan Porter,Justin Pregar, John Prytko, John Ramsey, Christina Ribeiro, Hentique Ribeiro, Mike Ringland, Maurice Robertson, Mark Snatini, Ed Savage, John Scott, Barry Seelan, Ed Smalley, Carolos Sowell, Kapil Taneja, Andy Taylor, Christopher Theodore, Tiffany Tucker, Rich Vaughn, Felix Viera, Lynnea Villanova, Dave Viveiros, Terry Weichand, Lonni Weinstein, Lloyd Weir, Blake Wilcox, Kevin Williams, Dave Zaluda, Andy Zeldin.

One of the ads we were running in the Hartford Advocate had the headline “We’re Not #1” at the top, followed by “and frankly, we don’t care.” The ad continued “If you want to be the number 1 rock station in Hartford, you have to forfeit your independence.  You have to play songs that have been statically proven to draw the largest numbers of listener. You have to be predictable. And bland. To keep your advertisers happy.  “No Thanks.  We don’t care about our advertisers. We don’t have any.  We don’t program our shows with purchased formats, or by demographics, or with national playlists.  We play songs we like, and songs our listeners like.  Rock and Roll is all about passion.  That’s what we put on the radio.

“On WWUH you will hear new and interesting music form independent and import labels, as well as progressive rock from the majors.  You’ll hear house, metal, dance, do-wop, post-modern, reggae and just about anything that’s new.  And if you’re adventurous, we also program jazz, classical, folk and specialty shows.  “WWUH Music for the brave and the free.

The war in the Gulf resulted in a frenzy of pro-American programming on just about every broadcast outlet in the country.  It seemed that the electronic media was blind to some of the serious questions that were being asked in the print media and on overseas broadcast outlets such as the BBC. Questions about such things as the amount of civilian casualties (termed “collateral damage” by the Pentagon), about the wisdom and environmental impact of bombing operating nuclear power plants, about the cost-effectiveness of using a 3 million dollar cruise missile to destroy a enemy jeep and about possible biological or chemical hazards released onto the battlefield when allied troops deliberately blew up captured storage sites known to contain these kinds of weapons.

Even before the war began, while the US was recruiting other countries for a coalition, many of our public affairs producers started devoting air time exploring the issues surrounding Iraq, and a new program called “Cease Fire News” made its appearance on WWUH for the first time.

Cease Fire News, produced by Dorian Minor, delved into many controversial subjects during the war, and the show continued for several years after the war exploring such subjects of the harm the International sanctions were doing to the Iraqi public, the lies told by the US Administration that helped the public support the war and the horror of Gulf War Illness.

The frenzy of public affairs production that occurred as a result of the Gulf War caused backlogs in the single Production Studio that existed at WWUH at the time.  The ECOM decided that the time had come for the station's public affairs producers to have their own studio, a studio that would be dedicated to production of news and public affairs programs.  When WWUH moved into the new facility in November 1989, a room was dedicated for just such a purpose.  Initially, we started to rebuild the old Autogram air board for use in this new studio, but were fortunate to have submitted the winning bid on a slightly used McCurdy audio board that had been repossessed from WSPR in Springfield. WWUH acquired the $20,000 McCurdy console for only $4,000, and also received 7 RE-20 microphones with boom stands for only $700!  Several other pieced of equipment were purchased for the project, including an Otari reel deck, a turntable and a distribution amp.  The furniture was custom designed by the engineering department, and built by a local carpenter. Construction was accomplished with the help of Dave Viveiros, Chuck Dube, and Brian Grosjean.  The studio was completed in the fall of 1991.

          In mid 1991, the radio listeners in Springfield, Massachusetts were surprised to hear some very unusual programming on the AM band. The programming was that of WWUH and it continued for about a week when WSPR, a 5,000 watt AM station in Springfield had fallen on hard times.  Just before they went bankrupt, they had to let their staff go and sought permission to rebroadcast WWUH's programming!  Needless to say, ECOM was enthusiastic at the gave the go-ahead, and so, for a few days, WWUH was once again "AM and FM". This arrangement lasted only until the local power company for non-payment shut off the electricity.  WWUH’s “playing in the AM band” probably shocked a number of listeners, but it probably introduced a lot of people to the concept of alternative radio as well.

 As the popularity of the station’s Folkfone and Jazzline grew, the Polka announcers requested that a Polka Line could be added.  Since it wasn't practical to keep adding cart machines to playback the message, the University's telecommunications department was contacted for help.  By using the campus voice mail system a third concert line was added.  This system would become known as the "WWUH Listener Line", with a voice mailbox for program guide requests and listener comments.    

          In October, we co-sponsored a concert with the Capitol Community Child Center of Hartford featuring the folk artist David Grower who performed in the Wilde Auditorium.

          Folk Director Ed McKeon approached the ECOM in the fall with the idea of holding a folk concert to promote local artists.  An interesting aspect of his proposal was that in addition to producing the concert he suggested that we should record a compilation CD of the concert and offers it as a fundraiser for the station.  He felt sure that he could convince enough musicians to donate their time, and was confident that WWUH would fill the auditorium.  While the ECOM was enthusiastic, they were hesitant about laying out the $4000 plus for the CD without knowing if they would ever be able to get a return on the investment.  Ed suggested that we charge $20 each for tickets to the event, with the ticket holder not only getting in to see the show but receiving a CD or cassette when it came out.  The ECOM thought this was a great idea, and gave the go ahead for the concert, to be held in May of the following year.  Hence the Folk Next Door was born.

          During the summer, one of the jazz staff volunteers brought a tape recorder to Bushnell Park for the Monday Night series of jazz concerts.  Staff made arrangements with the company doing sound for the series to provide the station with a stereo feed to the tape deck.  This allowed us to broadcast the concerts via tape.

          In December, WWUH broadcast the Winter Light folk concert live from Lincoln Theater. This concert featured John Gorka, David Liska, and Patty Larkin who performed to a full house!  The live broadcast of this concert was accomplished by having four dedicated lines installed between the theater and the studios: two for the broadcast and two for an off air return feed as reception in the theater wasn't very good without an outside antenna.  A temporary recording control room was set up in a stage level dressing room.  The stage mikes were split so that our mix would be independent of the PA mix.  The radio audience's reaction to the broadcast was overwhelming. 

In 1991, the University started the installation of a campus cable TV system, and WWUH lobbied for and received its own cable TV channel on campus!  United Cable of Hartford was contacted, and they donated a modulator to put WWUH on the cable.  Initially, staff had to house the modulator and rudimentary graphic storage unit in the cable head end, along with a fixed frequency tuner to pick up WWUH's signal.  By the end of the year, United Cable had donated a converter that allowed WWUH to originate programming from the studio location.  The station's channel was up and running in time for the students return to campus in the fall, and staff were quickly contacted by WSAM who wanted to know how they could get on the cable system.  Staff helped them with the technical and administrative details, and they were on the cable by the middle of the first semester.

          A video display was installed in the Air studio so that the operators could read the transmitter readings directly from the monitor without having to step through channels on the Burk unit.

          The folks in the Communications Department upstairs in the East Wing of the Gray Center complained that they had trouble hearing WWUH.  A quick check revealed that this was indeed the case: reception was bad in some areas due to the concrete and steel construction of the building.  To remedy this situation, a low power stereo FM transmitter was installed in the department's mailroom, and fed its output into a dummy load.  This transmitter was fed with station audio via a pair of dedicated phone lines.  The frequency was set at 90.9 MHz; close enough so listeners could find our signal, but far enough away so that it couldn't possibly interfere with our own reception of 91.3 in the studio.

          To enhance cooperation with WSAM, the student run AM station on campus, we had telecommunications interconnect the two stations with dedicated lines.  This allowed WSAM to simulcast WWUH on their air when they would otherwise be off, and allow us to listen to WSAM for the first time.  

          All things being equal, a mono station gets out much better and much farther than a stereo station.  With this in mind, engineering wrote a program for the Autopilot transmitter control system that would switch the station to the mono mode during certain public affairs programs that consisted of spoken word in mono.

The “Radio Playing” series, produced by Company One in conjunction with WWUH continued in 1001 with “The End of Human Frailty” and “What we See” with both shows taking place in the Wilde Auditorium.  The Courant provided extensive coverage.

The station co-sponsored screenings of the movies “La Bamba” and “Goodness Gracious” (the story of Jerry Lee Lewis) at the Showcase Theater in East Hartford. This meant that ”WWUH Radio” was printed on the actual passes!

CDs received by Genre during the one-year period 1/1-12/31:  Rock-1745, Jazz-482, Folk/BG-507, Urban-612, Ambient-xxx, World/Reggae-121, Blues-189, and Soundtracks-xxx, for a total of xxx CDs.

          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 1991 included: Cease-fire ends Persian Gulf War (April 3); UN forces are victorious; Warsaw Pact dissolved (July 1); Boris Yeltsin becomes first freely elected president of Russian Republic (July 10). Yeltsin's stock increases when he takes a prominent role in suppressing an anti-Gorbachev coup by communist hardliners (Aug. 18-22). Background: Rulers of Russia since 1533; Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia win independence from USSR (Aug. 25); US recognizes them (Sept. 2); Haitian troops seize president in uprising (Sept. 30); US indicts two Libyans in 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (Nov. 15); Soviet Union breaks up after President Gorbachev's resignation; constituent republics form Commonwealth of Independent States (Dec. 25). Background: Dissolution of the USSR


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