ROBERT J's WHUS MEMORIES MUSEUM

80 Years Of UConn Radio: From The Wireless To The Web

THE UCONN RADIO STATION THAT WAS OR COULD HAVE BEEN

Images (Real and Unreal) Of The First 42 Years

The State of the Art in broadcast equipment in 1923. Or was this our equipment in 1963? Could be both!

Spittin' Images? "Uncle" John Lundstrom (John Eklund's uncle) & "Aunt" Minerva Schmauser (Georgia Nikola's aunt), UConn Radio's second and last morning team, were daily breakfast companions for northeast Connecticut farm families from 1930 until WCAC went off the air.  

Gay Playmates? John Reisen was gone, but Carol Schein, the other half of the WCAC morning team from 1927 to 1929, was The Story Lady from 1930 to 1932.

Roadside advertising, Burma-Shave style, in the early 1930s. See the complete series of signs.

Electrical Engineering Professor Jerome Telliskov kept a watchful eye on the gages and dials in the WCAC Control Room in the early 30s.

Thanks to honorary WHUS alumnus Grace Ann Cotton (now Grace Wylie) for the WHUS call letters, which were used for the first time on February 20, 1947. Grace is now 77 and lives in Palm Bay, Florida.

1952: Mike Drechsler (at microphone on top) contributed this photo of the Koons Hall basement studio just prior to the move to the new studios in the Student Union Buiding. Jack Guckin is cueing a 78RPM "platter" on the turntable.

1953: The second floor of the new Student Union Building housed student government, the Daily Campus student newspaper, radio station WHUS studios, and the Nutmeg yearbook. By the early 1970s, WHUS occupied the entire floor of the wing, as the other organizations relocated. For the 2002 renovation, the radio station moved to a temporary campus site.

2002: The new temporary home of WHUS in the North Campus building previously used by Parking and Transportation Services. Click here for maps of the old and new studio locations.

The WHUS Control Room / Studio in the late 1950s: Female disk jockeys were rare on commercial radio in the 1950s, but were well done on UConn Radio. The face may look familiar because she looks like "Aunt Minerva" - it's her niece Judy Nikola.

Chief Engineer Dave Drescher and Dick Lavallee check out the 10 watt WHUS FM transmitter (top), and Dave Schancupp interviews the Kingston Trio prior to a performance at UConn (bottom), in these photos from the 1959 Nutmeg Yearbook.

Jeff Tellis on the air reporting the WHUS Rip and Read News from the UPI teletype in 1961.

Four Super67 Radio Bad Boys - Johnny Lund (John Eklund), Danny Driver (Dave Desmond), Robert J (Bob Neagle), and The Big W (Winston Heimer) - in the Student Union North Lounge, broadcast site of the WHUS CCC Marathons.

1963 ads in the Daily Campus student newspaper

Hail to the Chef! One of our very few (2?) sponsors on AM in 1963. I don't think this was the one in Willimantic, but they all looked the same!

Wow! As the Burger Chef jingle promised, for 15 cents (a nickel and a dime), at Burger Chef  I ate better all the time! This menu must be from after 1963, because the shakes cost 22 cents.

Our cover girl Georgia Nikola on the Student Union lawn in another photo from the 1963 Playboy Girls of UConn photo feature. Unfortunately, she never wore this dress when she was on the air.

Students and University administators gather outside the Student Union on Friday, November 22, 1963, as devastating news came from Dallas, Texas, that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. WHUS alumni memories of that day that no one will ever forget are on the WHUS Alumni Memories page.

John Babina monitors traffic for Radio67 Newsbeat from 500 feet above Storrs in 1963. WHUS was a pioneer in campus traffic reporting on radio, using the most modern aircraft.  North Eagleville Road could have some heavy fender-bending chrome-cracking traffic (including cows and chickens) at rush hour, which was right after women's dorms curfew at 11:00 pm on weeknights.

"News When It Happens Where It Happens": The mobile unit of the station down the road in 1963.

"News From the UPI Teletype": Our Radio67 Newsbeat mobile unit in 1963.

Another Robert J (Smith), better known as Wolfman Jack, did 30 minutes of The Afternoon Soiree with Robert J one day, as I watched the legend at work in our AM studio. Wolfie was visiting college radio stations in the Northeast for some kind of record or product promotion.

Our studios and transmitter during our short lived attempt at Pirate Radio on Mirror Lake in 1963. The ship sank because we forgot to buckle the swashes.

Campus traffic reporting also was short lived, but John Babina wasn't.

A collector's item for E-Bay? I still have some of the WHUS "Alfred E Neuman" tee shirts that the station ordered to use as contest prizes in 1963. I managed to obtain a few of them in size XXL, so they still fit, but they're a little snugger than they were in the 60s. They must have shrunk, because I'm only "slightly" heavier now.

You can be the first on your block to have a real neat coffee mug, mouse pad, tee shirt or other swell stuff from the exclusive WHUS Memories Museum & Alumni images collection. Believe you me, you will be the envy of your friends and neighbors when you show them what you bought. These items are not available in stores/Storrs, only through this exclusive online offer, so what are you waiting for? Here‘s how to order.

Who is the famous caped visitor from New York City that Super67man is watching on the air in our Contol Room / AM studio in 1964? Visit our Wavy Gravy & Mello Jello Exhibit to find out.

"15 Minutes of Fame": My interview with the new British rock group that visited the campus on their way from New York to Boston for a concert in February 1964. We were given only two hours advance notice of The Beatles' visit, and had to pre-record the interview in a faculty lounge due to UConn Administration concerns about a mob scene if we did it live on the air. 

A Tale Of Four Cities: The DJ from Waterbury looks over the menu with the lads from Liverpool while waiting for a table at The Peking Palace restaurant in Willimantic. 

To quote Ed Sullivan- "A Really Big Shew": The Crystals, The Shirelles, Gene Pitney, The Dixie Cups, The Reflections, Major Lance, Brian Hyland, and The Supremes (who had just released their first record), live on stage at Jorgensen Auditorium for only $3.00! An Alan Freed show at the Brooklyn Paramount in the '50s had nothing on this one.

Win Heimer, Robert J, Rockin' Russ Ginns, Carol Petito, Babi John (John Babina), Al Robbins, Dave Delage (lurking behind the rock), and Georgia Onyourmind (Nikola) at the annual WHUS staff outing at Diana's Pool, the UConn swimming hole, in June 1964. Carol won the wet tee shirt contest, Al Robbins was the runner-up. Georgia was disqualified for not wearing a shirt.

Steve Primack sets up at the Field House for a UConn basketball game broadcast in 1964

Douglas Edwards reported the national and world news for WHUS-AM Radio67 Newsbeat at the top of the hour weekday afternoons in the early 1960s, but was never on campus until 20 years later, when he was the 1983 Commencement speaker.

Our resident news team: Pete Phillips (right) and Ned Parker did The Award Winning Phillips-Parker Evening Report weeknights at 6:30 in 1963 & 1964. 

PP & BS (Pins, Patch, And Billboard Signs)

1963-1965 Images From Carol Petito Babina's WHUS Scrapbook (And Some Of My Creations Too)

A Daily Campus ad, photo, and WHUS program schedule showing one of my personal appearances at a "Twistmas Time" record hop at the Student Union with Johnny Lund (John Eklund) on 12/6/63. "Bouncing Barry K" was Barry Kircher. I had cut back the "teen idol" hair style I had worn since high school in September at the start of my second "senior" year at UConn, and have become more follicley deficient every year since then.

WHUS DJ Dave Desmond / Danny Driver provided live entertainment at the hop. Dave performed in local clubs and recorded under the name Teeny Tom, and had some local minor hit records in 1963 - Deep River, Tiptoe To The Twist, and A Boy Named Post. Dave's act was about 5 years ahead of its time.

The 1964 CCC Marathon ran from April 27 to April 30 for eighty (not eight) and one-half hours

Where was I at 4:57PM on April 28,1964? I remember that I was autographing a 1962 fan club photo for an adoring fan in the Student Union during a CCC Marathon broadcast. Carol Petito, President of the Robert J Fan Club, is on the bottom left.

Carol Petito, a UConn Security Officer, Robert J, Win Heimer, and John Babina met John, Paul, George, and Ringo in the Student Union during the 1964 CCC Marathon. WHUS and the Daily Campus were given a one day advance notice of this second Beatles visit to campus, but no notice of their appearance was made to the students until they were in the building. Security was tight, and the Student Union doors were locked when over 500 students showed up within 15 minutes after we introduced them on the air. They were with us about an hour talking to students who came to see them and called in on the phone.

Bikinis on Broadway: Carol fed grapes to her future husband John Babina while they did a Babina On Broadway remote broadcast from the Jorgensen Auditorium stage during the 1964 Marathon. The backdrop and props were for a student production of South Pacific that was being presented by the UConn Theatrical Arts Dept.

Speaking of the Marathon, the winner of the prestigious WHUS trophy is:

These guys also deserved trophies. A graduation photo of the three listeners who made the most individual pledges in each year of the Marathon from 1961 to 1964: Mike Hunt, Intakt "Buster" Heimen, and Hugh G Rekshun.

More autograph signing: this time at the CCC charity baseball game between the staffs of WHUS Radio and The Daily Campus newspaper on April 26, 1964. The only other way you get this many balls stuck in your face is if your name is Monica.

An invitation to stardom! It was a notice like this one from 1963 in the Daily Campus in September 1961 that got me started in college radio and resulted in this website 40 years later.

"Rockin' Russ" Ginns at the Gates console during the taping of an Ancient Archives Show.  

Russ writes: "When I first started with the Ancient Archives in the Fall of 1960, I wanted to get a "sound". I looked around to see what engineering resources were available. Finding nothing, I emptied the Control Room wastebasket; placed it under the mike; stuffed the gooseneck & mike into the circular file; and spoke over it to get a "cave" sound. Later that year, I did some shows using Robert Kline's Fender spring reverberation unit (he was also from the Middlesex Hall dorm second floor and had a band that did very well at Student Union dances). Later, when the station bought the Ampex deck, I used it in the Control Room for echo."

Wonder what Johnny Lund (center) said or did that made Norm Voog (right) lose it in front of his faithful man-servant Whuster (left)? John probably broke wind on the air again! Anyone know Whuster's real name? UPDATE: Mike Dalton has identified himself as Whuster, but denies being Norm's faithful man-servant. He says he was unfaithful to Norm several times.

Norm Voog and Mike Dalton with Carol Petito. The "ghost" reflection in the upper left is the Western Union clock in the FM studio, which is shown on the right. These clocks would correct themselves to within a couple of seconds, on the hour every hour! Western Union sent out a 6VDC signal to all of their Clock Service subscribers, on a dedicated pair to each premise. As long as the clock was only a minute or less off, the minute and second hands would swing forward or back to the 12 position when the voltage was applied.

Unfortunately, an on the hour reset was the worst time for a radio station that went to network news on the hour. I got caught by the reset a few times. I would cue an instrumental record to end at exactly 10 seconds before the hour, do the station ID over the end of the record and play the 10 second WHUS news intro tape when it ended, flip the CBS News feed switch exactly on the hour, and would get dead air for up to 5 seconds, until the reset signal was received.

Clock Service and the clock (including the pair of wires) was around $25 a month. These clocks were located in most train stations, radio and TV stations. WU started the service in conjunction with the manufacturer of the clocks, the Self Winding Clock Company of Brooklyn, NY in 1886. They discontinued it in the 1970s, when the Western Union Telegraph Co. bit the dust.

A Labor Day weekend get together in 1963 at Russ Ginns' parents' summer home on Gil Ginns island, which was named for his grandfather and was owned by his family, on a lake in northwest Connecticut. Dave Desmond and Joan/John Eklund (top left) were overdressed for the occassion, and she/he kept the parasol over her/his head all day to protect her/his fair skin from the sun. The others in this photo are (at top from center) Georgia Nikola, Win "Skipper" Heimer, and Carol Petito. I'm at the bottom left next to Rockin' Russ.

CBS Radio News predicted Al's election early in the day, with only 3% of the vote counted. Note the misspelling of guidance, cheerleaders, and CMFCL.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel for a stunt: Tom Dinnella shows some Marathon midriff. Watch out for Roman Hands (left) and Rush N. Fingers (right), Tom!

Tom's memories of the stunt: "It was afternoon, we were downstairs in the lobby on the studio side of the building and the Student Union was full of people. I think we recruited a group of jocks who were passing by to hold me. There were 4 people in all; Winston (Heimer) for sure but the other three might not have been WHUS staffers. The entire stunt was (with 20/20 hindsight) poorly planned; it lasted less than 60 seconds. I did some ad-libs about the barrel, a plea for money and was going to read something (probably a promo for the CCC) but it was too dark. I had a microphone in one hand, the copy in the other and uncertain support from above. The blood was rushing to my head and I had this panic feeling that my supporters were going to drop me in and leave me there, so I introed the next record and screamed to get out. There was good reverb in there though."

Tom Dinnella seems more comfortable right side up in the studio in this photo from the 1965 Nutmeg Yearbook

The Big W (aka Roman Hands) plays Air Piano on the air in 1964

An apology for really bad talk shows and an ad for an equally bad or worst one to come in 1964

Dave Desmond (right) cut his hair and went undercover as Fidel Desmondo to report on the Student Senate coup for Radio67 Newsbeat in May,1964

Tommy D (Tom Dinnella), Tom Hindle, and Dave Desmond played the Favorite Forty, and my fan club president played dinner music, on 5/1/64. I don't know what made the dinnertime instumentals "interesting".

Another call letter change: WHUS became WHAT for a day in the program schedule from the May 4, 1964 Connecticut Daily Scampus, the annual parody edition of the Connecticut Daily Campus student newspaperThe Cove was a popular student restaurant/bar hangout in Coventry.

 

 

 

 

A jug of wine, but no loaf of bread: Georgia's Relax dinner music show was selected for a parody of a WHUS ad in the May 4,1964 Connecticut Daily Scampus, the annual parody edition of the Connecticut Daily Campus student newspaper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slim Jims, steamed burgers, pickled eggs, pig's feet, and Rheingold draft beer: dinner at "Flats" (Flaherty's bar) in Coventry. Flats had sawdust on the floor and the clientele was only two types - area farmers and male UConn students.

 

 

 

 

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