The date was October 19, 1969. I was combing both my hair and my brain in attempts to come up with words so very chock full of pith and profundity, yet oh so parsimonious. University of Delaware President Arthur Trabant was due to meet me in five minutes.
The two of us were to be the first voices on the newest campus organization, Radio Station WHEN. Dr. Trabant and I moved behind the mics and I blurted out “This is WHEN Radio – WHEN is Now....and you ain't heard nothin' yet!” Well, I'm quite sure that Dr. Trabant had heard Al Jolson say the very same words in the first talkie, 1927's “The Jazz Singer,” but he appeared amused nonetheless.
As a junior in Russel Dorm, a roommate of mine, Steve Goldberg, had been given the opportunity to set the foundation for WHEN. Steve, now a Delaware attorney, was a senior and brought me in. I knew as much about radio as I did metaphysics, but the challenge became a great adventure.
The first transmissions came over 'carrier current'; i.e. telephone lines, and was technically spotty and restricted to campus only. Two basketball players from out of state asked me for a rock show. They named their hour “Sex Life of Rox” and audibly introduced the campus to Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Cream and Iron Butterfly.
It was a heady existence. None of us had a clue what we were doing. My first program manager, Bryan Gordon, went on to write and direct for Larry David's “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” My first sports director was Tom Mees, who later went on to become one of the first anchors at ESPN. Within a few years the station became a feeder for professional statewide stations.
A few years later, Pete Booker became GM. He parlayed that experience after graduation into employment at WDEL. Decades later he became its president and now oversees a veritable regional radio conglomerate.
Carrier current is now as obsolete as the abacus I used flunking Math 101. Now, 40-plus years later – and under professional manager Steve Kramarck – WVUD now has approval by the administration to move from 1000 to 6800 watts and to add HD radio to its repertoire (for both 91.3fm and WVUD-2). The big ‘stipulation’ is that the station must raise the necessary funds to make it happen.
WVUD now serves the campus, the city of Newark and provides hands-on training for students interested in the industry. The increase in power will mean that now all of New Castle County can receive the signal.
Kramarck and his staff are planning a Radiothon to fund the last monies needed. Their window of opportunity with the FCC closes this summer, so they only have one shot at this.
The Walkmen, a nationally-renown rock act, has been contracted to perform at The Trabant Center on Friday March 19 @ 7:30pm. Visit TheWalkMen.com Student tickets are $15.00 and General Admission is $20.00.
For further information on the station WVUD.org or connect with GM Steve Kramarck @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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