WEOS records, 1946-2006
Scope and Contents
WEOS started somewhere between 1947 and 1949 as a carrier current AM radio station at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The station was operated by students, many of whom were part of the Delta Chi Fraternity. The studios were located in Smith Hall, before moving to the basement of Sherrill Hall, where real broadcast studios were built in the 1960s. Here they remained until 1998 when WEOS moved to its ΓÇ£houseΓÇ¥ at 113 Hamilton St. In the summer of 2014 WEOS moved to the Scandling Center and 113 Hamilton St. became student housing.
In 1970 WEOS converted from AM to FM and was granted a construction permit, for 91.3FM, on a ΓÇ£Class DΓÇ¥ license, limited to 10 watts. The station applied for and changed its frequency to 89.7FM and went on air in 1971, broadcasting a variety of programs both recorded and live, all forms of music, news, and sports, including those of NPR. The station gradually increased from 10 watts to 250 watts, then 460 watts, and finally 1500 watts in the mid to late 1970s.
In July of 1988, lightning struck the antenna, and a fire destroyed the transmitter and related equipment. The transmitter was to be replaced and back on the air by September, but it was destroyed in-transit in a truck accident, and ultimately didnΓÇÖt arrive until mid-December of 1988. The new transmitter and remote control allowed for a major improvement in the remote broadcasting from sports fields and other campus locations, with FM-quality sound throughout.
In 1994, the station applied for and was granted a construction permit to move the transmitter site off campus, with the ultimate goal of getting it higher up to lessen multipath interference and help improve coverage. The transmitter was moved to a tower site in Stanley, NY and raised up to 4000 watts. This move to Stanley greatly improved WEOSΓÇÖs overall coverage, but caused the actual signal levels on campus to be much less. To make up for that, WEOS added an FM Translator: W212BA using the old antenna system on top of Winn-Seeley Gymnasium, at 90.3FM at 88 watts to fill in the signal on campus.
Up until 1990, the station schedule was primarily controlled by the students and community volunteers. In 1988, The CollegesΓÇÖ President, Carroll Brewster, charged WEOS to become more consistent in its programming and to pursue adding public radio programming. This was at first met with resistance from the students, however WEOS ultimately chose to pursue a more news/talk focus during the day with modern alternative music at night. This quickly proved to be popular both on and off campus.
The station's 24/7 non-commercial news and eclectic music format serves a large audience, with a large percentage of the listenership in the Ithaca and southern Finger Lakes area. NPR News, Pacifica, and PRI programming are a mainstay, with local music and other programming, including broadcasts of Hobart Statesmen and William Smith Heron athletic contests.
WEOS also originated broadcasts for the NCAA in the early 1990s of the Men's NCAA Lacrosse Championships. This continued in the 1990s, and the broadcasts were carried by radio stations both in the United States and worldwide, including Japan and Australia. Since then, WEOS has become a mainstay of NCAA programming on the air.
In 2004, WEOS was the first station outside of New York City and the Albany area to broadcast in HD Radio. HD Radio is a digital broadcast method that allows for HD Radio-equipped radios to hear crystal-clear sound with little or no static, pops, clicks or fades.
In early 2008, WEOS expanded its program offerings with the launch of WHWS 105.7FM, broadcasting from the HWS campus to the greater Geneva community.
Some information taken from the WEOS website at: http://weos.publicbroadcasting.net/aboutus.html
2 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
- WEOS records, 1946-2006
- Martha Clark
- November 2014
- Description rules