College radio, Catawba style

It was January 1977 when WNDN-FM (Indian Radio) was launched, spreading its 10 watts over most of the sprawling college campus. The Speech professor did the leg work of applying for the FCC license. The station lasted until at least the 1980s, but lacked the interest to keep it alive and the license was turned back in to the FCC.

A couple of years ago, the two main AM radio stations in Salisbury – WSTP-AM and WSAT-AM – fell into bankruptcy. A plan was developed to turn the licenses over to the control of the college without actually being owned by the college.

I had the opportunity to listen this weekend – during the football game, WSAT (with an FM translator) was doing live play by play – the only reason the college and the alumni in the area had interest in saving the station. At the top of the hour after the game, the station reverted to the automated satellite fed nostalgia format.

WSTP-AM had a very different trajectory – it was the local news/talk station, which back in the day carried G Gordon Liddy, among others.

According to TV station WBTV in Charlotte, attorney Bill Graham decided to pull the Conservative talk format

“We’re not going to keep the news/talk format,” Graham said. “I don’t want the college associated with a certain political stripe or ideology, and that just simply wouldn’t fit.”

This is the college from which North Carolina governor Pat McCrory graduated in 1978.

The station switched to Country music. I have no memory of ever hearing Country music in the dorm in the 1970s. WSTP died a quick death. It is currently silent with no plans to bring it back. The station is likely to have the license yanked for failing to operate. There was no signal on Saturday. Clinging to a silent station to protect precious snowflakes from exposure to Conservative ideas is failing to serve the public interest.

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12 Responses to College radio, Catawba style

  1. briand75 says:

    “precious snowflakes” – I am having trouble with the word “precious”. Could we substitute something more descriptive – say: “bedwetter”.

    Catawba isn’t an institution of learning – it is a Gulag. This is where people go to learn how to “think” correctly.

  2. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    I checked the website and found “Catawba College is ranked #4 among the best colleges in the South. Located in historic Salisbury, NC, it is a private, coeducational liberal arts college” Excellent.

    While I believe AM radio is dying for technological reasons, the story made me reflect on what the role of colleges should in in the 21st century. There are many liberal colleges. The people in charge seem to be confused and think that liberal arts means liberal politics. Why do all colleges seem to think they need to be the same? Why not one that specializes in conservative issues the way that some specialize in women’s studies or negro studies?

    BTW- iHeart has an interesting stream called “Gathering of Nations Radio”. It is, as far as I know, the only live stream of native american music. I enjoy listening leads to

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Here is some alt-history for Catawba

      I was Frank Mianzo’s rommate – for one night. I transferred in late for my sophomore year on an academic scholarship. Through some misunderstanding, the powers that be must have assumed I wanted to live in the party dorm with loud music, girls wandering in, incense and a couple gay guys.

      Frank was the President of the Student Government during our senior year. I ran for SGA Treasurer, defeating the socialite woman who the dean of students had picked to win. She was less likely than me to ask about the rolls of quarters left in the Dean’s desk drawer by the pinball machine guy – money that never showed up deposited into the SGA account.

      I was the force behind demanding accountability for the “Bad Apple” publication being funded by SGA. The editor was reclusive and had no apparent plan to actually produce the publication. The prior year’s Bad Apple was an embarrasment for the people tasked with finding future students. A few years later, the name was changed when people realized the name was not appealing to parents already concerned about Catawba being a Party School. Both Pat and I were concerned about the academics being compromised by the emphasis on sports. Professors quietly backed us because they were under intense pressure to not flunk football and basketball players who attended no class and turned in a blank final exam.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Wow. First time I read it, I heard it in my inner voice that I seem to hear when reading any material. But they I went back and re-read it and heard it in the voice of Jeannie C. Riley (no relation to Bill O. Riley).

        I guess the idea is that no place is perfect once you look under the covers, and I wonder what today’s lack or privacy means in that regard. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will make for any improvements. I saw a documentary the other night on a corrupt place. Everyone that was interviewed on camera said they they their country was corrupt, but they were resigned to it and just try not to think about it.

        I wonder what “Suds Terkel” would write. 😉

    • Fred Stiening says:

      And Catawba’s music program is mentioned in InTuneMonthly magazne

      But if you want to find out why, you need to subscribe

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    One glimmer of hope – Stanback Plaza had a fountain in the central gathering place outside the student center. About 10 years ago, the fountain was drained and filled in with dirt. The rationale was the fountain was wasting the increasingly scarce water in North Carolina, and using native species in a planter would waste less water.

    The real reason was the young male instinct to pour Joy detergent into fountains in the middle of the night, that required washing away the soapsuds.

    This Spring, the dirt was removed and restored to being a fountain.

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