WHUStory

The History of College Radio at The University of Connecticut

WHUS In The 1960s 

 

 

By 1960, WHUS AM programming began at 2:00pm and sign off was at 3:30am when the three hour prerecorded tape ran out. The sign off time was changed to 1:00am in 1961. Broadcasts at 670AM were dominant - playing "Favorite 40" music, sports and news that reached the students. Twenty-four hour a day AM broadcasting was accomplished in 1963 with the use of 24" automatic reverse tape reels that provided 6 hours of programming. Easy listening music (CMFCL: "Continuous Music For Continuous Listening") was broadcast from 11:00pm to 2:00pm weekdays, and "Rockin Russ" Ginns's Ancient Archives Oldies/R&B show on weekends.

 

 

 1960 Honchos 

December 1960 Program Schedule

1962 staff photo

 

 

1963 staff photo. I'm fourth from left in top row.

1963 News release. Georgia Nikola was the other "coed".

                     

1964 "Favorite Forty" List

"Top 40" popular (Rock 'n Roll) records could be heard only on WHUS-AM from 1962 until 1965 because WHUS-FM broadcast only slow popular, easy listening, show tunes, classical, and jazz music, like most other FM stations.

 

 

Highlight of The Decade: The Beatles' appearance at UConn and the interview in February, 1964

 

 

 

By early 1966, live broadcasting ran from 1:00pm to 11:30pm. Relax was now Your Candlelight Concert, CMFCL was Music Through The Night, and national News was provided by ABC. All programming was simulcast on AM & FM by late 1965, including popular Rock 'n Roll record shows.

More Powerful Than A Night Light! 

FM, with enhancements by Dan Noble and others, began to grow in usage and popularity in the late 1960s, owing to its "static-free" signal. WHUS-FM moved to 91.7 in 1966, and there was a power increase in 1968 from 10 watts to 1,250 watts.  

 

The original 10 watt WHUS FM transmitter

(From Terry King) I remember carefully tuning our FM transmitter according to the book for about 2 hours, finally getting it up to 10.0 watts out from only 9.5 watts. We finally made it all the way to Eagleville.

 

(From John Babina) In the mid 1960s I was involved with WPKN while I was doing graduate work in physics at the University of Bridgeport. In the late 60s I approached Ralph Winquist, our radio consultant who had helped us with WPKN. I asked him if there was any room left for a WHUS power increase. He said yes, if they move from 90.5 to 91.7. The 90.5 frequency was blocked from increasing power by the 90.3FM station in Albany and the 90.7FM station in Springfield MA. I wrote many letters to UConn President Homer Babbidge and the administration to get them to move the frequency because the spectrum was rapidly filling up with new stations. Also, Babbidge was involved with a group looking at public radio at that time and there was a concern they might try to do something with WHUS.

The University decided to keep the student station and find the money for the project. Ralph prepared the FCC file as a donation. Former WHUS Chief Engineer Gene Roure was on-site at the time and handled the local technology issues for the increase and remote control hookup details. There were some initial problems with the tower site because the University was trying to use the SNET relay tower behind the north campus dormitories and the telephone company did not lease out their towers to anyone back then. The University had to accept the fact they would have to build their own tower. WHUS got the FCC construction permit and Ralph and I drove up to Storrs and installed the new transmitter gratis.

As a result of this effort, WHUS was able to go from 10 watts to 1250 watts without resorting to an expensive directional antenna. Once 90.5 was free, a small group in Guilford tried to put a community station on 90.5 but could not raise the funds. The 90.5 channel was free again. Connecticut Public Radio was eventually able to get the frequency and to move it (then called WPBH, now officially WPKT but currently identified as WNPR) to West Peak in Meriden. At this location CPR could get more power on 90.5 than WHUS could have gotten at Storrs.

The Early 1960s WHUS Ancient Archives  

 

Where rockin' Oldies could be 

Heard on Super67 Radio at

UConn on Saturday night in the

Sixties     

 

  

    

The WHUS Ancient Archives

1960s "Personality" Radio

The story of "Mad Daddy" Pete Myers is, in many ways, representative of the history of "Top 40" radio from 1958 to 1968. WHUS DJ John Eklund, aka "Johnny Lund", went to high school in Solon, Ohio in the late 1950's, when "Mad Daddy" was #1 in the Cleveland radio market. We always wondered what adolescent trauma made John the way he was...now we know. (Actually, John went to high school in Stamford CT and his family moved to Solon in 1962, but why let the truth stand in the way of a good intro?)

It was 1959 in Cleveland,"once upon a time, in the land of Oobladi". Frantically preparing for his 8 p.m. show, the young wizard of rock 'n' roll radio cued tape recorders, positioned microphones,and flipped sound effects records onto turntables like cards from a deck. Through the soundproof studio window,"Mad Daddy's" bat-out-of-hell paced pantomime looked like 'fast forward' video. The silent frenzy grew till the studio light blinked 'on air'. Suddenly, radios throughout northeastern Ohio (dubbed 'Oobladi') resounded with echoing, mad laughter. After a countdown to ground zero, "Fiver, four, three, two, one", listeners heard an explosion, then Mad Daddy's theme song,"Night Train." Finally, with perspiration starting to bead on his brow and an old 'birdcage' microphone over his shoulder, 'Mad Daddy' Pete Myers, Cleveland's famed bard of the airwaves, went into his number: four hours of outrageous acrobatics, torrents of kooky jargon, and off-beat 'wavy gravy' record sounds, peaking with a manic live show. Everything was done in off-the-cuff rhyme. "Night Train" sunk into the distance, as Myers 'flap-lipped' a greeting to his Mad Minions:"Welcome, little stinkers, to the land of winky blinkers! We've boiled up wavy gravy and it's ready to flow, so hang loose, Mother Goose, here comes the show" 

Visit our Wavy Gravy & Mello Jello Exhibit for the complete Mad Daddy biography 

    

        

  THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEW YORK CITY RADIO  

 
 
WINS, WABC, WMCA, WMGM, WNBC
 
Murray The K, Alan Freed, Ron Lundy, Bruce Morrow, Herb Oscar Anderson, Dan Ingram, Peter Tripp, Scott Muni, Mad Daddy
 
 

We’ve tracked down a great 15 minute montage of airchecks from New York radio stations in the 1950s and 1960s and you can hear it right here.

This montage shows why radio isn't fun any more. No personality, all 'canned', voice-tracked, sterile pap at best, trash at worst. Nothing 'local'. We no longer have "On Air Personalities". The montage was put together by Peter Mokover, who still has the original master tape of it and all of the original airchecks the various segments came from (except for Alan Freed and Murray The K which came from some record albums).

New York Radio Airchecks Montage