HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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Campus-Only Stations

 

 

    There are a number of schools and universities in Connecticut which operate unlicensed radio stations, either as carrier current stations, feeding their power into the campus electrical lines, or as "campus limited" stations operated AM or FM stations under the FCC's Part 15 which regulates unlicensed transmitters.
    These stations serve as a training ground for students and can be operated inexpensively without the need for an FCC license.  Many of Connecticut's licensed college stations got their start as campus limited stations, including WHUS, WRTC and WESU.
    The call letters listed below were chosen by the school's themselves and are not FCC assigned call letters.

CHARGER RADIO: Charger Radio is the internet-only, student-run station affiliated with New Haven's WNHU based at New Haven University. 

Along with WNHU (FM) and WNHU2, daily operations are maintained by a departmental general manager, student station managers and directors, and a staff comprised of undergraduate students, graduate students, community volunteers, and faculty members. WNHU's staff of DJs and radio personalities are comprised of both undergraduate students and community members.

Charger radio located at 46 Ruden Street, at the University of New Haven.  
ICE RADIO:  Manchester Community College. Internet-only.

WAOF, Avon Old Farms School, Avon, was operated as a carrier current AM station for many decades.  It is currently off the air although there are plans to revive the station as an webcaster.

Jeff Testanaro on WAPF


     WAOF Memory:

    S. Brad Buckley '78.  Back when I was a whippersnapper in my sophomore year at Avon (' 75 - ' 76), the wonderful campus radio station WAOF was launched by Mr. Kron and a group of students of which I was one. Me in radio? Who knew!! :-) It was an absolute blast to be a part of WAOF. Back then, vinyl was the medium, so we had good, old, trusty turntables to spin our music. Oh, and we got to choose the music we played - something that unfortunately doesn't happen in radio any more and hasn't for a while. I was lucky enough to have a double show, so I would rock out the first hour and get mellow the second hour. I believe my show, the B. Buck Deluxe Show (not kidding - named after the group B. Bop Deluxe), aired right after study hall. I would usually feature a rock group in the first hour. Simply put, I couldn't wait to do my show every week. Bill Kron made it all possible by spearheading the creation of the radio station. On one particularly memorable occasion, he called me about half way through my show and asked what I was doing. If I recall correctly, I was playing the entire A side of Cheech and Chong's "Big Bambu" album, a true cultural comedy classic right out of the ' 70s. I thought he was bothered by the material. However, he informed me that I wasn't on the air! In other words, I was having a great time all by myself! Somebody had forgotten to flip a switch earlier in the day. I corrected the situation and got back to the business of entertaining the campus ... and for me, WAOF was a huge part of my Avon experience - and my future in radio.


Avon Old Farms School

WBCR:  Briarwood College in Bristol, Connecticut has operated a carrier current station for several decades.  In 2002 the air studio was rebuilt around a Harris Impulse digital audio console and a digital automation system was installed to allow them to stay on the air 24 hours a day.  The current frequency is 570 Khz. And they utilize a single, 30 watt transmitter feeding the power lines.

WHRT: 
Sacred Heart University in Fairfield operates this student station along with their licensed WSHU public station.
    
http://www.whrtradio.com/


WKIS: The Hotchkiss radio station broadcasts six nights a week. All disc jockeys are students and faculty members, and programs range from classic rock to hip hop to country to world music. 
   

WLCR:  Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor has a long tradition of broadcasting, going back at least three decades.  There are rumors of an “overpowered” AM operation back in the sixties, and there is evidence on the roof of one of the dorms of an elaborate long wire antenna system, but the station as of 2006 was using a Part-15 (legal) FM transmitter operating on 105.3 Mhz.


WMCC, Middlesex Community College in Middletown. WMCC website http://www.middlesexcc.edu/wmcc/control.cfm/ID/3187
 

WMPS, Miss Porters School in Farmington has had a carrier current AM radio station for at least two decades. As of 2005 they had installed a Part-15 (legal) FM transmitter operating on 90.9 Mhz.

WPHT-88.3 Portland, Connecticut - Portland High School.
 

WSAM: (For more WSAM photos click on the "WSAM" link on left).
     
The University of Hartford’s licensed WWUH (91.3 FM) originally also operated a series of carrier current AM transmitters on campus. In the early seventies separate programming was run on each station although the studio facilities were shared and the stations operated under the same student management.   The AM station was used as a training ground for the FM.  However, by 1973 the staff had their hands full growing the FM station so they gave the AM transmitter equipment to a student group calling it “Student Association Media” and Sam Radio was born.

          Over the years WSAM has thrived with as many as seventy students involved each semester.   

          In 1998 a legal, part 15 FM transmitter was installed to add FM coverage. Later that same year WSAM was given their own channel on the campus cable TV system.

          In 1999 an extensive overhaul of the AM transmitter system was undertaken by LPB corporation who installed a master transmitter on 620 Khz and used linear amplifiers in most of the dorms.

          In 2002 WSAM added webcasting and by 2005 the AM transmitters were shut down.



WSAM, 1984


WSAM Air Studio, 1984


WSAM 2007


WSAM Air Studio

WSAM Staff

WSIN, formerly known as WOWL, is Southern Connecticut State University's campus radio station. Even though it does not broadcast directly across Connecticut via its weak 1590AM signal, the majority of the broadcasts stream 24/7 from the station's Web site. In early 2009, the antenna that provides the 1590AM signal will be up and running, so that anyone near and on campus can tune in on their radio. Students also living in the dorms can listen to WSIN on their cable boxes by going to a specified channel.
    WSIN stands for "Southern Independent Network."    
    All shows are broadcast live from the Michael J. Adanti student center and WSIN is overseen by SCSU Journalism professor Jerry Dunklee.WSIN: Southern Connecticut State University. 1590 AM.
    Contributor Dan Santoro wrote:
     George Scheibner and a few others started WOWL in the SCSC College Union (CU) building cafeteria in 1969 I believe.......many future New Haven area DJs got their start @ WSCB (which it became in the mid 70s) inc WPLR's Rick Allison, George Scheibner, Brian Smith (I was his orientation trainer in 1980) and John Saville as well as Charles F
Rosemary that became the head DJ @ Boppers nightclub in the 80s and also became a Beatles/Classic Rock promoter. Others like myself, Tom Tambis & Peter Freiler worked as interns or pro for the Conn Radio Network (CRN)
as engineers when it first was on Whalley Ave @ Norton St.
     I started @ WSCB in Jan 1978 when the studio was crammed into tiny room 204 in the CU and had a board donated (trashed actually) by WELI. The freq was 640am and we simulcast on cable channel 6 in back of the local
TV classified ads or weather or something. In 1979 we moved to a set of 3 rooms also on the second floor of the CU that inc a window between the studio and newsroom....pretty spiffy!  George was the faculty adviser
for all my 3 1/2 yrs there 78-81....he replaced Rick Allison.


WSJH - Sedgewick School in West Hartford experimented with a part-15 FM station in the late sixties. From an anon. contributor:

THE GOOFY STORY OF WSJH, SEDGWICK JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 1969 A.D.

We were stuffed into the cafeteria, wolfing
down grub.  Sedgwick - ninth grade.  The BIG TIME.
450 pound Mr. Sheam was up at the P.A. mike.
"Shut the Hell Up All Of You! Period 4B is almost
over!  Just - eat!" 

We heard and obeyed.  The whole lunch room went silent. Just the crunching of chicken gizzards was heard. 

Brenda Liggle, two rows in from the rear west wall, lost a
fork to the forces of gravity.  CLANK

"Hey you!  Who do you think you are,"  bellowed Mr. Sheam. YOU!  Row 3, table 5, seat 4!!!  354!  Get that fork! Brenda Liggle flew out in tears.  She was never heard from again.

Period 4B had 3 minutes left before the 4C kids stampeded  in.  Somebody turned the music back on. WDRC, 102.9 MHz FM, Hartford, was playing "Sugar Sugar," by the Archies.  It's redundant bass line vibrated the huge rectangular room. The song was sickening Ken Brillo.  He could not finish his  chocolate glazed cream nut surprise.  It was awful.   "Why can't we listen to Jethro Tull," he chocked down his
bone dry desert.  "I want albums," he blurbed.  LPs! 
Not 45 RPMs! 

Ding!  A light flashed on in Tom Bolab's brain. The light
exploded and went out!  But not before he spewed the words, "Let's make  our own damn radio station! 

The 4C students blew in like hurricane Irene.  We had to get out. Chairs and hotdog rolls flew aside. 

It was Exit Time, lest we suffer the wrath of Mrs. Cotton,
the  Detention Maker.  We just made it out into the brick
hallway.   Safe now. 

A Sedgwick radio station?  How to build it? 

Some geek - Bruce Roberts, had an FM transmitter.  We had to find a faculty member who saw it our way.

Bruce, the geek, smuggled in his precious Sony TC-350 stereo tape deck and the FM transmitter.  The bullies in the  school yard never saw him because he was so invisible. 

Silently suffering anxiety attacks, Bruce, The Geek,
fumbled, trying to sit still in the MAIN OFFICE, AFTER SCHOOL. This was the Big Deal. 

"Is Mr. Tracker out of his meeting yet?" Bruce whimpered to the 78 year old secretary who was actually part of the office chair. (Mr. Tracker was OUR CONTACT, our unexpected Man On The Inside.)

"No! No! No!"  The old lady hissed.  "And he won't be out in 80 billion years!  Why don't you just go home, like
everybody else did!"

Long long after the cows came home, Mr. Tracker emerged.  He was to observe Bruce, The Geek's WSJH set up.  It was 7:PM.  Maybe Bruce's parents were crying on the phone to the police.  But, no matter. 

In 4 1/2 minutes, Bruce and Mr. Tracker were down in the caf.   Bruce launched his plan.  Flicking switches, the WSJH prototype was alive.  Then the Radio Shack P-Box Tandy 28-109 transmitter malfunctioned.  A horrible blast of distorted Jim Morrison voice came through the speakers.  It was over before it began.  Failure.

But Mr. Tracker was ACTUALLY a nice guy.  Man to Man, he looked at Bruce,  and stated flatly, "I can't work with this.  Try it again."

After nine sleepless nights, Bruce, The Geek, deftly solved the tech problem.  The Big Test was repeated, and Mr. Tacker gave WSJH the GREEN LIGHT.
WSJH-FM, 98.1 MHz was now up on the launch pad. 

Then THE GLITCH came.  A teacher had to oversee the
operation.  Mr. Brink was new on the teaching staff, and NOBODY liked him. So, in order to make him as unhappy as possible, the school staff assigned him TO US!  And WE were afraid!

In the AV room, the Sony TC-350 deck and a Wollensak vacuum tube reel to reel monster were put in place.  The 98.1 FM circuit was hanging on a  wall mounted peg board.  It looked like bugs on a piece of wood.  There were 50 patch cords.  But we knew what to do.  We were ready.  Ready to  play 33 1/3 LPs prerecorded on tape!  No more "Archie Sugar Sugar crud."

Late that afternoon it looked good.  Good to go.  John
Norris was at monitoring station WPE1HOH, a mile away.  He could not hear our signal, but he was a qualified radio electronics ninth grade consultant.  He read our tech observation notes and assured us all was well.

Just a day before station launch the Double Secret Probation Glitch came!  We never expected it!  Mr. Brink, the 1984ish, 6 foot 7 inch, Tower Of A Man, who knew it all everywhere, dropped the bomb.

"No announcing or talking of any kind EVER! EVER!!" He
yelled.  "If I even see a microphone in here you'll all be off the air before you can even breathe another breath!"  Alan Peninni flinched. We all turned
white.

NO! WE hadn't thought of that.  No announcing?  Well...
There was no choice.  We could air music but there would be no mike.  Bruce, The Geek, walked his Sony F-85 mike home in it's bag, sadly, down Tunxis Road - that very same day.

But - WSJH was launched the next morning, at 10:43 AM - the first lunch period!! Despite the "no mike" blow, we all were ecstatic!  We were ON THE AIR!

In the caf, Jethro Tull came through the P.A. system, which was hooked to an FM tuner on 98.1.  We all heard it.  Good deviation.  Clean, strong signal.   It was OK.

We ran it then, feeling VERY VERY IMPORTANT for a couple of weeks.  Day by day. One day at a time. 

Then it went bad.  One fateful Tuesday, not even halfway through the school week, Bruce, The Geek, heard it.  The mistake.  And while he was sucking down his precious green jello!  In the caf, during period 4B, the bad mistake happened.
 
Something was horribly wrong with WSJH!  Everybody heard it and looked up at the P.A. speakers!

Static, buzz, hum, more endless endless static.  More buzz more hum.  It seemed to go on forever.  Some utter fool was trying to hook up a mike to announce! No!  It couldn't be happening.  Not after all of that  work!

Then the Words Came, "What's the difference between an apple and a peach?" Was it a joke?  Was some kid trying to tell a joke?

Mr. Brink skidded out of the caf, down the brick hallway,
and made an impossible double right turn into the A.V. room.  It was ugly.  We were screamed at.  But not before he ripped the FM transmitter off the
wall. 

No signal anymore.  Nada. Zippo.  Just white noise coming through the cafeteria speakers.  Everybody thought the mike-offender was Tom Bolab.  He insisted
he was not.  Then, unshaken, he went upstairs to the home-ec room.  To iron his Social Studies paper because it had been crumbled up in his pants pocket.  He had to make it neat for Mr. Stone.  And he did this WITHOUT A PASS. HE WAS GOD. 

Still in the cafeteria, the P.A. system had been turned OFF. Bruce Roberts, The Geek, was sucking down his last precious quivering chunks of green Jello.  It was all he had left.  
      

Westledge School, a private school in W. Simsbury, experimented with a part-15 FM station in the early seventies.  More information is requested.

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