Before 1979 WRCU broadcasted 10-watts through the telephone lines. When the FCC began phasing out 10-watt educational signals students began seeking funding for the upgrade. GM 1977-1978 Al Yellon recalled “it took at least two years and many, many budget meetings with administrators before we got the funds for the new transmitter. Then it took FCC approval, and quite a bit of construction work before we finally went on the air at the higher power.”
Before the upgrade, the signal did not reach outside of Hamilton. The upgrade, on the other hand, would allow WRCU to reach a 40-mile radius, to the receivers of over 125,000 residents in Madison and Chenango counties. The transmitter project was completed during the summer and included the installation of a taller tower. Bill (William) Schwartz, GM in 1979, recounts his excitement: “I drove my Camaro up the ski hill, and I was so excited about the new tower, I decided to climb it!”
With the help of advisor Robert Blackmore, Schwartz and, then Tech Director, Brian Carb began rewiring the station in the basement of “KED,” now known as Curtis Hall. In addition to the technological changes, the new broadcast range brought more engagement with the community in the form of Public Service Announcements, news broadcasts at 5 and 11PM daily, and sponsorships from local businesses to cover the costs of the popular sports broadcasts. The new transmitter marked a new stage of WRCU history: 90.1 FM reached more local listeners thus broadening the “public” the station is responsible for serving past the campus.
(Gabrielle Woleske ‘18)(Interviews with Bill Schwartz ‘79 and Al Yellon ‘77, Thomas Pratt ‘78 May 2018)