Dick on the Radio

In fall of 1967 I started college at Alfred Tech. in Alfred, NY. When I found out that they had a student radio station (WVAT) I went and checked out the station. I knew right away that it was something that I was interested in doing. Freshman had for the first term choose to be either the announcer or the engineer. I chose to be the engineer so I could learn how to “man the board” properly. The song that was the number one song when I started on the radio was “The Letter” by The Box Tops.

The second term I was able to do both announcing and engineering which is harder than you would think. When I graduated from Alfred Tech. in 1969, I figured that my radio career was over.

I took off the 1969 – 1970 school year to work some and also do Army Basic Training for the National Guard.

Fall of 1970 I started attending Clarkson College in Potsdam, NY. They had two radio stations and I picked the Top 40 station (WNTC) where I was on the air for another two years. I don’t think I ever did more than 8 hours a week as I didn’t want to spend too much time away from my studies.

I never thought of taking my pictures while at WVAT. The picture of me at the board of WNTC was taken just a couple of weeks before the end of my time at Clarkson. My right hand is on one of the turntables. There is another hidden turntable on my left. To “cue” a record, you would put the needle on the record and turn it by hand listening on the earphones for the start of the song. Then turn the turntable back 1/4 turn. When you hit the start button, it starts playing just like magic. My left hand is on the volume control for that turntable. Songs all have different volumes and you had to adjust for each song.

That rack behind my head had cartridges that were similar to 8-track tapes except that they had an additional track that would stop it at a”cue” tone. The tapes were used for the top songs so as not to wear out the records. Other tapes had commercials and station IDs. Behind my head is part of the wall full of  albums; all arranged alphabetically. Not seen are a whole wall of 45s; probably over 3000. That station also had a teletype machine on which we got weather and news. We had to read the weather twice and hour. We also had ABC radio news at the top of the hour.

After college I didn’t continue in radio in part because I wasn’t as good at being a DJ as others at both of the college stations. Some of the DJs from the stations did go on to broadcasting careers.

One Comment

  1. Love the picture and the story. Fifty years ago when we were busy with our lives, we never thought about how cool it would be in the future to see some pictures.

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