HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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WESU

(This section is under construction. The text below is a draft history, more information is needed.  Please contact us with corrections, updates and/or suggestions. Email us at: admin@hartfordradiohistory.com.)




 

          WESU can trace its roots back to two students living in Clark Dorm in 1939 who were inspired by the Brown University station; they fed a record player into a small transmitter which in turn used the campus water pipes as an antenna.  With this arrangement they were able to cover the entire dormitory and it wasn’t long before they were broadcasting up to four hours a day.  Encouraged by the results of their experiments they student staff continued to wire up more and more of the campus.

          By 1941, the station was officially acknowledged by the university and at some point, the call letters “WES” were reportedly assigned by the FCC to the operation. 

          According to the station’s web site the engineers continued to experiment and at one point increased the station’s coverage dramatically by connecting the transmitter into the Middletown water main!  Along with the increased range came increased popularity, both on and off campus.

          The FCC changed the call sign to WESU in 1950.

          From about 1968 and into the 90s programmers were given the freedom to program Eclectic music which became more and more a part of the station’s identity and community members became a more important part of the station, filling DJ positions and eventually certain positions on the board.

Block programming was dropped in 1988, in favor of Free Form programming. The board, however, being primarily a student board, had a four-year turnover of its membership. Thus by 1995, the station was completely unaware of its tenuous organizational status.

In the spring of 2000, the university gave the station all of ten days notice that it was being moved to its present location at 45 Broad Street, to a studio half the size of the Clark Hall location. The move was hasty, and the station lost a good deal of music and a lot of its archived records and documents.

In 2003, Wesleyan University acquired the license to 88.1.

In 2004, the board decided to create a salaried General Manager position, and in 2005, the university, as license holder, decided to enter into a simulcasting agreement with nearby NPR affiliate WSHU, thus receiving a cut of WSHU’s fund raising.

An organization called the Friends of WESU, which serves as a community run fund raising body, as well as the station’s summertime board of directors, was created as the result.

          The station held its first substantial on-air pledge drive in 2004.

 

A comprehensive station history can be found on the station’s web site at

http://www.wesufm.org/his.html


1974

The images below are from a station tour in October, 2011.



View of the CT River from the tower.


3 Bay Directional FM antenna.


Old 1kW FM transmitter used until the eighties.









Air studio.






Production studio.



Just part of the extensive library consisting of LP's, CDs and a collection
of 7" records.




The images below are from a station tour in October, 2011.



View of the CT River from the tower.


3 Bay Directional FM antenna.


Old 1kW FM transmitter used until the eighties.









Air studio.






Production studio.



Just part of the extensive library consisting of LP's, CDs and a collection
of 7" records.





















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