WWUH RADIO HISTORY
2000 Year In Review
This section is under construction and should be considered in draft form.  Your input is invited.  If you want to add material, make suggestions, correct the record, etc, please email us at wwuh@hartford.edu.  And if you have photos to share of your time at WWUH please let us know that as well.

Managers: John Ramsey – General Manager and Chief Engineer, Bonnie Hast – Operations Director, Susan Mullis – Director of Development, Nicole Godburn and Colin Tipton – Program Directors, Mary Dowst – Business Manager, Mike DeRosa – Community Affairs Director, Art Greene – Program Direcctor, Matt Meagher – Operations Director, Andy Taylor – Music Director, Ed McKeon – Folk Music Director, Kevin Shivley – Classical Music Director, Jazz Officer Spaak – Jazz Music Director, Brian Grossjean – World Music Director, Peter Rost -  Blues Music Director, Scott Baron – Asst. Chief Enginieer, Matt Slywka – Urban Music Director, Chris Larsen – Web Master and Recording Studio Director.

          Staff:   McNal Allison, Scott Baron, Keith Barrett, Denise Basture, Eric Bernasek, Larry Bilansky, Rich Boissonneau, Jim Bolan, Tom Bowman, Bart Bozzi, Steve Brechter, Keith Brown, Michael Carrol, Bob Celmer, Mark Channon, Deborah Conklin, Mark DeLorenzo, Dave Demaw, Mike DeRosa, Amy Dement, Scott Deshefy, Steve Dieterich, Vijay Dixit, Bill Domler, Mary Dowst, Chuck Dube, Al Dzikas, Tyrone Eddy, George Michael Evica, Stu Feldman, Dawn Finnemore, Mario Greitti, Donna Giddings, Nicole Godburn, Brian Gorsjean, Bonnie Hast, Pretlow Harris, Gilberto Heredia, Dean Hilderbrandt, John Holder, Harvey Jassem, Wayne Jones, Chris Larsen, Gregory Laxer, Gary Levin, Rohan Long, Kevin Lynch, Tony Magno, Doug Maine, Chris Marti, Ed McKeon, Bill Measom, Gail Meyers-Jaworski, Peter Michaelson, Phillip Mitchell, Susan Mullis, Nay Nasser, Ted Neihay, Chuck Obuchowski, Kevin O’Toole, Stephen Petke, Anthony Price, John Prytko, Johnny Prytko, jr, John Ramsey, Henrique Ribeiro, Maurice Robertson, Peter Rost, Mark Santini, John Scott, Jack Seidl, Kevin Shively, Matt Slywka, Kapil Taneja, Andy Taylor, Steve Theaker, Dwight Thurston, Colin Tipton, Dave Viveiros, Terry Weichand, Lloyd Weir, Dave Zaluda, Andy Zeldin.

Mike DeRosa wrote the following for the January 2000 issue of the Program Guide, the first Guide of the new century.

"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible."  - George Orwell, 1946.

     For the last 30 years WWUH has been an alternative source of accurate news and important information. WWUH has also been a source for alternative music and cultural events. Since 1968 WWUH has been in the forefront of the alternative journalism movement in this country. The real challenge in the next twenty years is to develop the foundation for a future alternative mass media.

     Historically the "broadcast reform movement" of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s is the precursor for alternative radio stations like WWUH. Robert W. McChesney in a book entitled "Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy, The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928-1935" documents this early history. The "broadcast reform movement" of the 1930’s was the acknowledged enemy of the commercial broadcast networks and the big money interests that they represented. These almost forgotten pioneers of early radio had a completely different vision of what mass communications could become. Robert McChesney’s book documents how these radio pioneers tried during the early 1930’s to establish a public mass media that was community controlled and how their valiant efforts failed to be established into law. While their names have been largely forgotten, their deeds live on in stations like WWUH. Their struggle was an intense fight against the concept of a mass media that was advertising driven and network-dominated. These early radio pioneers built radio using the resources of universities, libraries, unions, and progressive religious groups. These early experiments in radio had a profound influence on the future of all media and while they lost their fight for a truly "public" mass media in the United States they have left us an important and inspiring legacy.

     The work of I.F. Stone and other alternative journalists, the development of the "underground press" of the 1960’s, and the development of "pirate radio" also played an important role in the development of the alternative media movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

     Today the challenges facing producers, readers, listeners, and viewers of this "alternative" tradition are in some ways even greater than of the early media pioneers. Recent decisions by the FCC and changes created by the Communications Act of 1996 have strengthened the hand of the mass media corporatists. In major cities through out the United States one or two mass media corporations now have control of most of the stations in that market. In Hartford, for example, two companies now own the majority of the stations in this market. These corporate behemoths have only one thing in mind: the financial bottom line. Their definition of the financial bottom line is to extract as much capitol out of the medium while providing the minimum of public service as required under law. These corporations thrive on creating a mass media that is homogenized and sterile. Since most audiences are never given an opportunity to experience anything different they become addicted to the sameness and ignorance that is mass media and mass culture. This is then reinforced by program directors who say without flinching that they "are giving the public what they want." The public usually gets what is commercially viable for these big media outlets.

     The licenses for radio and television stations are bought and sold at an increasingly fast pace and in most cases are just another commodity in an ever inflated marketplace. Mass media audiences are bought and sold by corporations only interested in turning their clientele into demographic groups that are used and abused. The law requires that radio and T.V. stations work in the "public interest, necessity, and convenience." Clearly the new ethic and unwritten law require mass media to work for corporate interests, oligopoly control, and the capriciousness of corporate leaders.

     A famous French novelist once said that "behind every great fortune is a great crime". The crime that is perpetrated against us in this case is the destruction and degradation of our cultural, political and economic institutions via corporate control of media. The corporatists are not only for maximizing profits they are also for a new kind of social control. This social control is similar to that found in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World where mass media is a distraction that hides the potential and reality of people’s lives.

     The mass media corporations that run and ruin our economy use the mass media as a gigantic home shopping corporate network. For example, they will produce a movie, which also creates CD’s, toys, and accessories that are designed as part of a "concept" and create "buffo" profits. Profits are further increased in movies by accepting donations so that companies can have their products make a cameo appearance. These mass media projects then are shown on HBO, sent to video stores, and virtually work their way first into our homes, and then into our minds and consciousness. They are then exported to foreign countries to carry further the corporate messages that are considered politically correct by mass media executives. We are bombarded with hundreds of one-dimensional commercial, sexual, and political messages each day that tell us how to dress, how to speak, how to relate, and ultimately how to think and whom to vote for. We are told that only violence solves problems, that Burger King and McDonald’s produce the best food in the world, and that corporate America has created the best of all possible worlds.

     This approach to mass cultural control is a new kind of censorship that filters out ideas much more effectively than those of the great dictators of the 20th century. Since the corporatists own most of the radio, television, newspaper, and other mass media outlets, they control the overall world view that most people get from these mediums. While the first amendment protects freedom of speech it does not protect us from the oligopolies that own the vast majority of the news and information outlets. These outlet's control who is interviewed and whose views are reported.

     Some people believe that "journalistic integrity" or a "sense of fairness" will save the day. Clearly we need to support those within established media outlets who are willing to give alternative voices an opportunity to be heard. But reliance on the idealism and the thoughtfulness of those in mass media is not enough. We need public and community control of such powerful mediums.

     Since most of our government officials are presently controlled by legalized bribery, also know as campaign donations, there is little hope that a truly public mass media can be established though government intervention. This makes the idea of an alternative mass media become even more important and relevant to our situation and dilemma.

     If our government cannot control these media giants then it becomes critical that we support and develop alternatives to corporate mass media. The combination of the internet and alternative radio is just beginning and it can become a powerful force for new ideas and new political, social, and economic institutions that can begin the process of change. Right now you can hear WWUH on internet live using a free program that you can also get off internet. The internet offers a great opportunity to develop new ways in which old technologies can be interfaced and improved. Clearly the various programs that you hear on WWUH are an alternative to your media diet that give you interviews and information that can make a real difference in your life. We hope that you will continue to support WWUH and alternative news and public affairs at the station.

     But we are very far from the kind of alternative radio, T.V. and internet that we need to develop the kind of society which we deserve. Clearly we need new resources to build this new alternative mass media. While volunteerism will help to develop this new mass media, full time workers will be needed.

     This means that we must develop bigger resources collectively and effectively. Most of us are willing to spend 30 or more dollars a month to be hooked up to a cable system which basically is manipulating us in one way or another. Perhaps it is time for people to make a major investment in the development of a mass media that really represents them rather than multi-international corporations.

     Perhaps we could get some relief from some level of government on this issue. Some people have suggested a 1% tax on all advertising or a $1 charge on all new radio, T.V. , or other electronic devices which would go to developing a real public alternative network. Perhaps we could get some help though collective action. Many of the institutions which host many of the alternative media outlets have to be educated on the importance of these institutions in society. All of this takes time and effort but the payoff is immense and important.

     If you have some ideas about the future of public affairs and news at WWUH why not drop a line to me Mike DeRosa, Community Affairs Director, so that we can begin a dialog on what the next 30 years should be at WWUH. Better still why not think through all of the above ideas and let’s start a dialog about the development of a alternative mass media. We need to start plowing the ground before we can deposit the seed which will blossom into a new media for a new tomorrow.

A special program, “Fire From The Mountain,” was aired on September 28 as part of the “UH Presents” public affairs slot.  “Fire on the Mountain” was the story of a Nicaraguan Revolutionary, Omar Cabezas, and the tribulations endured by one trying to be a guerrilla.

Black History Month (Feb.) special program. arranged by Maurice.

The concept of specialty shows was discussed at a general meeting.  While producing such a show has some things in common with producing a music show, there are differences as well. Many of these shows require significant amounts of preparation time, soliciting CDs, setting up interviews, putting together stories about news and culture. There are usually only one or two hosts so taking time off from the station for vacation or whatever is often difficult. They often have surprisingly large audiences, with many of their listeners tuning in to WWUH only once a week.

Volunteer Chris Larsen produced several dozen Shakesperian Sonets in cooperation with the President’s College to air in March, probably at 4 pm.  The sonets were read by area VIPs, including the mayor of Hartford, several congressman and the president of UH.

Metal Music returned to the airwaves of WWUH on Thursday night.

In February, eighteen year volunteer Tom Bowman moved on.  He was well known for his easy going and sometimes irreverent announcing style on his Thursday “Mostly Bluegrass” show as well as know knowledge of the music.

          The ECOM defined the criteria that was used to determine on-air “advancement”. The volunteer’s membership status was the first item taken into account when there was an opening.  This included the seniority of the staffer, both on the station and on the air, and the person’s membership type, student, community volunteer for Associate/Alumni or UH staff.

          Second, the person’s membership history was taken into account.  How much work they had done behind the scenes, the number of programming fill-ins, if they had done a regular shift previously, any positions held by them at the station as well as their meeting attendance was evaluated.

          Third, their on air performance or demo tape and programming proposal was evaluated.  This included the appropriateness, uniqueness and knowledge of musuc; their promptness and reliability (if applicable), their on-air delivery and presence and their technical ability.

The Culture Café became a weekly radio show in 2000. Host Brian Grosjean wrote: The goal was for the show to foster cultural understanding and celebrate the fact that the global village has truly arrived. Air travel, international exchanges, the internet and cell phones have brought us to each other’s doorstep, it is crucial that we – especially Americans – become less fearful of other cultures.  This show aims to teach about other cultures, mostly through their music, and reduce fear because understanding diminishes fear. And with less fear, we can be more accepting and trusting of other cultures.  This reduces our need for war and aggression.  Let’s pass this on to the next generation.  Listen in, learn and appreciate. 

A “listeners survey” was included in several issues of the Guide and the survey was promoted on the air as well.  In August, the results of the survey were compiled and the following information gained:  The typical listener spent 5-10 hours each week listening to the station.  This listening was split about 40/40/20 between home, car and work.  The most frequently listened to genre was Jazz according to the survey respondents, with Morning Jazz having a slight edge over Accent on Jazz.  FM On Toast came in second with Evening Classics third.  UH Radio Bluegrass was named in fourth place with Blue Monday in fifth place.

Over two thirds of the people who returned the surveys said that they listen to our Public Affairs programming, with the most listened to show being Assassination Journal.  The Refrigerator Club and Issues of the Eighties were tied for the number two slot.

In response to our question about significant problems facing the Greater Hartford community, over half of the respondents indicated environmental issues at the top of their list.  Education issues were a close second, followed by drug and alcohol abuse.

When asked about fund raising methods preferred, many respondents indicated their preference for over the air Marathons, with their second choice being tied between underwriting and direct mail.

When asked what changes they would like to see on WWUH, about ten percent of the respondents said “more jazz” with an equal number asking for “more folk”.

          Pete Beneski became the Music Director in the fall

          Jazz from the Park:  Harvey, Chuck, Dean, Terry, Chris Larsen  

p Tapes (we can put these on CD now for emergencies)

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In the fall, Hawks basketball returned to WWUH, but with a slight twish.  In order to allow WDRC, the local station that had the contract for the men’s games to fulfill their committement to carry Wolfpack games, the ECOM agreed to run both Women’s and Men's games on WWUH, alternating with WDRC.  While unusual, this arrangement worked fine and WWUH gained quite a bit of publicity through WDRC.

          Volunteer Kevin O’Toole, known on the air as “Moondog” wrote an excellent article for the January/February issues of the Guide entitied: “Best of the 1990's”

“January 1st, 2000 was not the end of the second millennium AD. Likewise, it was not the beginning of the third millennium. Those things happen on January 1st, 2001. As I am writing this, I realize this point will be moot by the time of its' publication, but I should mention: none of this will save any computers. Let alone the one I am writing this on.

    One thing that did end, however, is the 1990's. And so, someone (the editor) thought it would be a good idea (fill up some space) if some announcer who had been here at least through the 1990's (me), put together a list of the best albums of the decade.

    I encourage you, then, to take this top fifteen list (below, in descending order from number 15 to number 1) with a hefty grain of salt, and as an alternative consumer friendly list of good stuff that would be pretty interesting (even indispensable) to own. Of course, debate is inevitable.

Los Lobos: Kiko (1992, Slash/ WB);  Negativland: Free (1993, Seeland); De La Soul: ...Is Dead (1991); Tom Waits: Bone Machine (1992, Island); Cassandra Wilson: New Moon Daughter (1997, Blue Note); Vernon Reid: Mistaken Identity (1997, Epic); Bjork: Post (1995, Elektra); Beck: Odelay (1996, DGC); Various Artists: Natural Born Killers Soundtrack (1994, Epic); Rage Against the Machine: Rage Against the Machine (1993, Epic); Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach: Painted From Memory (1998, Mercury); Jeff Buckley: Grace (1995, Columbia); Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (1992, Zoo); Sarah McLachlan: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1994); PJ Harvey: Dry (1992).

   I asked our staff to name their choices for the top five most influential artists of the 20th century. Just over sixty members of the staff responded to the survey. On New Year’s Eve I broadcast music by all these artists; here is the list in order, starting with number one: The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra, Igor Stravinsky, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Brian Eno, Dmitri Shostakovich, Bob Dylan , Enrico Caruso, James Brown, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Jackson, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, Chuck Berry, Bill Monroe.

             I asked our staff to name their choices for the top five most influential artists of the 20th century. Just over sixty members of the staff responded to the survey. On New Year’s Eve I broadcast music by all these artists; here is the list in order, starting with number one: The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra, Igor Stravinsky, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Brian Eno, Dmitri Shostakovich, Bob Dylan , Enrico Caruso, James Brown, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Jackson, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, Chuck Berry, Bill Monroe.

During 2000, WWUH received 4497 new CDs.  By genre, the split was as follows:  Rock-1432 , Jazz-909 , Folk/BG-897 , Urban-518, Ambient-176 , World/Reggae-341, Blues-207 , Soundtracks-17, for a total of  4497 CDs.

WWUH sponsored well over a dozen concerts in 2000. These included a tribute to the late Bill Domler, The Feathermerchants (in conjunction with the President’s Office), the Cathy Ryan Band and Cliff Eberhardt & Stacey Earle

Steve Dieterich’s Celtic series continued in 2000 with the bands Anam, Old Blind Dogs, Karan Casey Band, Dervish, Begnish, Odetta, Solas and Dervish a month later.  Dervish sold out two shows at Millard grossing $11,417!

          Two “Ambience in the Wilde” shows were produced by Susan Mullis.  Robert Rich performed on May 3 and Vidna Obmana on November 6.  Over a hundred tickets were sold to each show!

          The Music For A Change Music Series, co-sponsored by WWUH, featured Shawn Colvin at Lincoln, a Tribute to John Coltrane, Allison Krauss and Union Station at Lincoln, a Harry Chapin Tribute, Richie Havens, Stan Sullivan and Louise Taylor, Patty Larkin, Susan McKeon and Cheryl Wheeler.

WWUH sponsored a jazz concert featuring the band Stellar Regions at Cheeny Hall on September 23.  Chuck Obuchowski was the producer of the event.

          In July WWUH aired pre-recorded segments of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington.

Marathon 2000 was held March 5 –12 with a goal of $72,500. The T shirt was White with a multicolored “A Global Transmission for the new Millenium” logo by Steve Ricani.

The Fall Fund Drive was an incredible success with $33,960 pledged, nearly 69% over the goal of $20,000!!!  When the books were closed on the Fall Fund Drive later in the year, the net was over $32,203 out of $20k goal. The premium was a denim cap.

The eighth concert in the Folk Next Door series was held in May. Close to four hundred people packed Millard Auditorium to hear songs performed by River City Slim and the Zydeco Hogs, Margo Hennebach with Mark Saunders, Michael Hsu, Lucy Chapin, Joe Flood, Sonya Hunter, Einstein’s Little Homunculus, Freddie White, Maggie Carchrie, Mark Erelli, Cheryl Hoenemeyer, Michael Veitch and Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters.

    The tradition of broadcasting jazz live from Bushnell Park continued in 2000.  Concerts included performers Buster Williams Ensemble, featuring Mulgrew Miller & Lenny White opening: Gerry Eastman & Co.; July 17 Fred Smith’s Harlem Renaissance Jazz Legends opening: Dave Santoro Quintet, with Bruce Barth; July 24 Carlos Garnett Quartet, Eddie Marshall Quintet, with Teodross Avery opening: Billy Arnold & Vishnu Wood; July 31 Micky Bass Ensemble opening: Phil Bowler & Pocket Jungle; August 7 Warren Chiasson Quintet, with Don Friedman opening: Lance James Project; Aug. 14 Eddie Allen Quintet opening: Lisle Atkinson Neo-Bass Choir; Aug. 21 Clark Terry Band  opening: Pete LaRoca Sims Group; Aug. 28 George Coleman Group opening: Kitty Katherine & Harold Lewis Eight concerts were presented, staring on July 5.

The on-air duties at the park were shared by WWUH volunteers Harvey Jassem, Chuck Obuchowski, Dean Hildebrandt, and Terry Weichand. Chris Larson was the site engineer.

          These problems with the old back-up transmitter also made the ECOM realize that it was time to purchase a new transmitter and a solid-state Harris unit was ordered in August.  The new transmitter was delivered on November 1st.  Installation and testing took a little over a month, and the new unit was put on the air on December 9th using a digital exciter. 

          As part of disaster planning a 300-watt transmitter was installed in Gengras and used a special antenna to have a transmitter plant that could be used if we experienced a catastrophic failure in Avon.  In addition, five emergency CDs were produced that could be played from the transmitter site to keep the station on the air from there should the need ever arise.

The station’s Web Site was redesigned in 2000 and was receiving 80 hits a day by the summer.

          About a half-dozen WWUH volunteers toured the Clear Channel, Inc. facility in Hartford the evening of November 18.  Those who took the tour were surprised to see that all five of the stations had rigid playlists, that the music was played back from a hard drive based automation, and that all of the stations were automated overnight with no human intervention.

In March major changes in the station’s main library were started to make room for the growing number of CDs in the station’s collection.  Sliding shelving was added on left side of the library.

The May 2000 913 Letter featured a description of the new transmitter; discussion of LPFM issues, FCC New Indecency policy and a report on the success of the fall fund drive. 

An article in the May/June issue by Rich Dittman, WWUH’s Urban Music Director entitled “Hip Hop and Rap Music, the Connecticut Connection” outlined how Connecticut musicians played a major role in the development of these two relatively new musical art forms.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission In Washington finally adopted legislation creating a whole new class of FM radio stations, stations that will help bring radio programming back to local communities. The new service, called Low Power FM (LPFM), was created by the FCC partly as a result of the tremendous pressure they were under since they had practically eliminated broadcast station ownership limits several years ago. The corporate consolidation that resulted from the relaxation of these limits has caused a dramatic decrease In local programm1ng and the elimination of a significant number of local voices from the airwaves.

 We had a chat room set up with Q Networks.

Top news stories in 2000 included:

Governing of Northern Ireland passes back and forth between Britain and nascent Northern Irish parliament; major dispute over IRA's refusal to disarm (Feb-May); Former Indonesian president Suharto under house arrest, charged with corruption and abuse of power (May 29); Presidents of North and South Korea sign peace accord, and at least symbolically, end a half-century of antagonism (June 13); U.S. sailors on Navy destroyer Cole die in Yemen terrorist explosion (Oct. 12); Mad cow disease alarms Europe (Nov. 30 et seq.); Wary investors bring stock plunge; beginning of the end of the Internet stock boom (Feb. 25); U.S. presidential election closest in decades; Bush's slim lead in Florida leads to automatic recount in that state (Nov. 7-8). Republicans file federal suit to block manual recount of Florida presidential election ballots sought by Democrats (Nov. 11). Florida Supreme Court rules election hand count may continue (Nov. 21). U.S. Supreme Court orders halt to manual recount of Florida votes (Dec. 9). Supreme Court seals Bush victory by 5-4; rules there can be no further recounting (Dec. 12). See 2000 election chronology.

 

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