'Music hurtling through the ether'

WRUC celebrates a century on the air

A Union College magazine special feature

Since the first scheduled broadcast on Oct. 14, 1920, Union College radio has been a laboratory for generations of students to experiment on-air, and in many cases to launch a career they never expected.



WRUC alumni are unlikely to agree on which era was the golden age of Union radio. But alumni from the 60s and early 70s think they have a pretty good idea. As our commemoration of a century of radio was taking shape, a number of alumni from that era shared their experiences. We are indebted to all, but in particular to Jeff Hedquist '67 and Bob Saltzman '69 for collecting their accounts. With apologies for editing, here we share their memories and updates.

WRUC 'changed by life' logo

AL NAHMIAS '66
Retired radio executive

DICK FERGUSON '67
Retired radio executive

JEFFREY HEDQUIST '67
President, Hedquist Productions

FRANK MAURO '67
Retired, public service

NORM OLSEN '67
Retired software developer

MARK "THE BIG Z" ZAUDERER '67
Attorney, Ganfer, Shore, Leeds & Zauderer LLP

AL BANGERT '68
Retired manager, Proctor & Gamble

MARK POLANSKY '68
Information technology executive

TOM SEEM '68
Retired TV executive

GARY ABRAMSON '69
Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Orange County, N.Y.

JOEL BLUMENTHAL '69
Tax professional

BOB KILLIAN '69
Retired probate judge

PETE MILLER '69
Cultural consultant

RICHARD REINGOLD '69
Television executive, Hubbard Broadcasting

BOB SALTZMAN '69
Retired GE manager

PETER X. TIERNEY '69
Child psychologist

ALLEN BRAILEY '70
Retired technical professional

ART FORSDICK '70
Retired IT professional

CHARLES CUSIMANO '70
Retired TV executive

PAUL CONSTANTINE '71
Retired publishing director

BOB HARRINGTON '71

PHIL ROBINSON '71
Director and producer

KC MACARTHUR '72
Retired, community services

GREG PATTENAUDE '79
Retired, NYS Department of Public Service

JULIE GREIFER SWIDLER '79
Executive Vice President Business Affairs and General Counsel, Sony Music Entertainment

JOHN WELCH '80
Senior Counsel, Chevron Corp.

SCOTT WYKOFF '85
Reporter, WBAL Radio, Baltimore, Md.

SATA DIAKITE '21
General manager, WRUC

NOAH COUTURIER '21
Technical Director, WRUC


WRUC circa 1960s
WRUC circa 1960s
Sata Diakite '21, WRUC
Sata Diakite '21, general manager of WRUC

'First station in the nation': a timeline

1910 Students set up a "wireless telegraph station" for a senior thesis in electrical engineering

1915 A new radio club transmits Morse code to receivers in Albany and Schenectady

1920Union is the first licensed station to air a regular scheduled broadcast

1921"Wireless baby carriage" promotes station in Schenectady

1939 Union's Radio Workshop begins through GE shortwave stations

1942Union radio airs five hours a day

1943 Debut of "Remaining Standing," a popular quiz show in which students try to stump a faculty panel

1947A contest produces new call letters: WRUC – “Radio Union College”

1965After a 1963 shutdown, WRUC schedule at 18 hours per day; 24 hours by 1980

1974 FCC approval to switch to FM broadcasting

WRUC microphone
WRUC record player
The radio set, Union College 1920

The radio set, Union College 1920

Bob Saltzman '69
Bob Slatzman '69
Greta Bieg ’15, left, and Emily Crampe ’15 in WRUC’s “fishbowl studio” on the first floor of Reamer Campus Center in 2013.
Greta Bieg '15, left, and Emily Crampe '15 in WRUC’s "fishbowl studio" on the first floor of Reamer Campus Center in 2013.

What's in a name?

Union College radio, best known as WRUC, has used many call letters.
Some of them, by year of adoption, were:

1919
|2YU

1920
|2XQ & 2ADD

1922
|WRL

1928
|2BMS

1929
|W2XBN

1932
|W2GSB

1939
|W2XAD & W2XAF

(GE shortwave stations)

1941
|UBS

1946
|WRUC

Old WRUC microphone
WRUC button
WRUC control board buttons
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