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Westport, CT

WWPT 1961 Article
WWPT 1961 Article

WWPT began in 1959 as a project by the late KDKA-TV/WTNH/WOR meteorologist Stuart Soroka using a 100 mW Knight Kit AM transmitter on 1160 kc. from his home     It was called "The Radio Voice of Westport's Youth."      A timer turned on the transmitter and an Ampex 601 that played a pre-recorded show so students could listen after school while Stu and friends high-tailed it home to go live.

In the Summer of 1961, we set up and operated WWPT from studios donated by the Westport YMCA, with a News Room at The Westporter Herald and Town Crier offices around the corner manned Gordon Joseloff, later CBS Moscow correspondent, Westport RTM Moderator, and now First Selectman.     The 3 tube transmitter fed a whip antenna on a lifeguard stand at Compo Beach.      Listeners included not only beachgoers tuned to 1160 kc., but also the U.S. Coast Guard station at Eaton's Neck, Long Island via the second harmonic on 2320 kc. in the Marine Band.       However, it was the article in the NY Times that brought the FCC to Westport.      Inspector David Popkin determined that we were running 400 mW rather that the legal limit of 100 mW.      That's a mere 1/10 of a Watt and so another slogan was, "The Power's in the Programming!"     Nevertheless, rather than risk a violation, we shut down in the middle of the Summer.

In 1969, Keith Satter and a new group of Staples students involved with "WMMM Staples Radio News" started a station at the high school using the call letters WSRB for "Staples Radio Broadcasting."      In the Summer, a carrier current transmitter on 640 AM fed wires buried under the sand in a garden hose.      In the early 70s, under the technical guidance of Clif Mills, Carmine Moffa, and former WICC Chief Engineer Ralph Winquist (who also prepared an FCC application in parallel from which WMNR in Monroe was started) the Board of Education applied for 300 Watts at 90.3 FM from the former Nike missile site at Westport's high point.      We shared the early history of Westport student radio with the students in radio club, and they chose to honor their forebears by adopting the "WWPT" call letters.

Today, WWPT is actively operated as "Wrecker Radio" (named for the Staples Wreckers football team) by students under professional guidance, carrying sports, talk, music, and discussion programs.     At other times, the station features a very large playlist of classic rock and oldies.      The station has received multiple awards for its student involvement and programming.
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