Albany Student Press - Vol. LXV, Extra 1
- March 1, 1978
WCDB TO BEGIN BROADCASTING THIS AFTERNOON
Debut Of 91FM At 4 p.m.
The long wait is over. WCDB will begin broadcasting at 4
p.m. today. The installation of telephone lines between the
station's studios in the Campus Center and the transmitter in Mohawk Tower was
completed yesterday, but members of the station continued working until early
this morning in order to correct a weak signal which was broadcast last night
in a frequency response test.
The original level of the response was low," said WCDB Chief Engineer Ira
Goldstein. "We has to pump it up by using a stereo
amplifier. "With the addition of the amplifier, a second set of
frequency response tests were termed successful and it was determined at 1 a.m.
that WCDB would make its debut today. The station will go on the air
with a minimum of ceremony, according to General Manager Paul
Rosenthal. "We will give a chance for all the individuals who
worked so hard to get their voices on the air," said Rosenthal. "But
we'll quickly go into our regular broadcasting schedule."
WCDB plans to broadcast 24 hours a day and will feature an extensive
programming schedule. The musical format will be "album oriented
rock", according to Programming Director Rich Schenkman. "We'll be
playing albums of familiar artists as well as expanding to new people such as
Elvis Costello and Meatloaf. "There will also be a number of jazz
shows each week, according to Schenkman. "I feel that this will be an important
thing to the whole area. "Rosenthal said that there will be an
effort on the part of the station to program many hours of
jazz. "There are no regular jazz programs in this area. Albany
traditionally has been a fairly major center for jazz musicians. "
Other musical programming will include a "Live Concert" show which will present
local musicians performing live in the studios each week and a show called
"Front Row Center", which will feature recordings of recent local concerts.
Special programs will include a show called "Radio Free Albany",
which will be a comedy/call-in talk show as well as an interview/call-in talk
show which will be hosted by Rosenthal.
The WCDB sports staff, headed by Mark Plevin, plans on covering
major Great Danes sporting events, starting with tonight's Albany/Hamilton
contest. "The sports department traditionally has been very
enthusiastic," said Rosenthal. Plevin said this morning that WCDB
will have exclusive coverage of the Great Dane's play in the ECAC basketball
tournament. Rosenthal said that the WCDB news staff, headed by
Debbie Kaas, will broadcast comprehensive local broadcasts throughout the
day. "We will provide a communications medium that has been needed,"
said Rosenthal. "The ASP is the only effective medium on campus. As
efficient as a newspaper can operate, one medium is not sufficient on a campus
this size. " Rosenthal added, "We will serve as a medium for
information. Simple things like whether the buses are running during
a snowstorm will be broadcast with the immediacy that only we can
provide. "Rosenthal said that WCDB will also feature editorial
commentary by members of the stations as well as non-station
members. "We will invite participation. If there is a
specific issue in question, we would like to make ourselves available as a
forum of debate. "For members of the station, the debut broadcast
today will be the culmination of years of work which were hampered by what
seemed to be a never-ending array of problems.
"There hasn't been one step along the way in which at least one thing didn't go
wrong," said Rosenthal. "Nothing went without a hitch. "
"There are dozens of former station managers who worked hard, but never saw an
FM station," said Rosenthal. "Fortunately, those who are directly
responsible are still in the Albany area and will be able to hear the
station. " One of the people Rosenthal mentioned is Eric Goldstein,
currently a day announcer at WROW FM. Goldstein was station manager
last year, when the FCC granted the station a building permit.
"Eric is individually responsible for much of the work," said
Rosenthal. Goldstein said last night that he felt good that the
station was finally going on the air, but was sorry that it took so
long. "WCDB will be a top sounding station," said
Goldstein. "The management is excellent - Paul Rosenthal took care
of the construction. Seeing that all of the plans are executed is
really the most difficult part. He is probably the most active and
competent station manager that place has had and they are fortunate to have
someone as imaginative as he to begin programming."
Goldstein said that the first serious attempt to go FM was in 1973 when the
station submitted an application to the SUNYA administration which included a
technical study by the station's staff. "Unfortunately, the
administration realized that it could never go in as is because it was fraught
with errors. " At that point, the radio station was called WSUA and
was piped in via carrier current. "The problem was that the people
looked at our own technical people; we're not a technically oriented school
like RPI or MIT and have never had a great mass of engineers," said
Goldstein. "Those people looked at the problem, and it seemed
Goldstein said that a key cog in the progress of going FM was the hiring of a
consultant Ed Perry, who specialized in getting college radio stations
licensed, and who did the entire technical part of the application.
When Goldstein took over the station, there was a move by Central Council
member Rick Meckler to have WSUA closed down. "The station was
pretty old," said Goldstein. "SA had been hearing promises of going
FM since 1969 and were getting tired out. The size of the budget
had decreased. We realized that nobody would sink more money into a
carrier current station and that there was a finite life to AM
operations. We had to go FM. " Going FM meant having to
cope with the bureaucratic channels of SUNY and the Federal Communications
Commission. "It took us six months to complete the FCC application
and to get engineer studies," said Goldstein. "It had to be
approved by SUNY Central and because of delays on their part, it took a full
six months for the application to get to the FCC. There was one
year. " Goldstein added that it took the FCC a full year to approve
the application - six months longer than the usual waiting period.
He said that the FCC had apparently made SUNYA's application a test case for
class D educational licenses and it took them time to write a rationale for
granting this license.
During this time, the station was busy attempting to garner the necessary space
and funds from the university and SA. Conference room 315 became
the site for the new station after a space allocations committee studied the
station's request. SA then put $30,000 on a budget rider reserved
for the construction of the FM station. That amount however, was
not enough, and in September, the station had to ask SA for an additional
$17,000 before construction could begin. After some debate by SA
officials the station was granted the building funds on Oct.
5. Studio construction began on Oct. 14 and the
transmitter and antenna were placed in Mohawk Tower in December.
Transmitter tests were conducted soon after.
At this point, yet another headache surfaced for WCDB. The
Atmospheric Sciences Research Center lodged a complaint that the transmission
of radio signals from the Mohawk Tower would interfere with research conducted
at the weather station there. Because of this, the station decided
to halt construction of permanent cables between the studio and Mohawk
Tower. Temporary telphone lines were installed, forcing the station
to postpone broadcasting for another week. "It's upsetting that I
won't have much of an opportunity to be with the station broadcasting," said
Rosenthal , who is a senior. "Personally, I'm in no position to
complain. Eric Goldstein spent several of his life on this without
reaping any benefits. " "My only hope is that they don't take a
$40,000 investment and sit down a college kid who plays rock and roll music"
said Goldstein. "For some reason, that's what every other local
college station has done and it stinks. However, with the people on
this staff, I'm sure that we don't have to worry about that. "