WRUC 'an electronic petri dish'

Publication Date

1920 - 2020

celebrates a century

In the late 60s and early 70s, WRUC was a popular Top 40 commercial venture, complete with advertising, jingles, contests and giveaways.

Led by Richard Ferguson ’67 and Jeffrey Hedquist ’67, the station was on the air seven days a week, 18 hours a day.

When the two arrived in 1963, the station was off the air. With only a stack of dusty equipment piled in a corner, there was little to encourage their dream of building a professional station.

In just two years, the station was a leader in college radio and beyond. A member of the ABC radio network, it had Top 40 sounds; five newscasts a day that included local, national and campus news; an hourly weather report; frequent coverage of concerts and lectures; and a major daily sports program.

Archival photo of WRUC circa 1960s

Since student activities funding was far short of what their dream required, the two broadcast entrepreneurs sold advertising to upgrade equipment, build news. In 1965-66, WRUC had a budget of $8,000 and billed $6,000 in advertising.

“We sold advertising to local merchants, and nearly every commercial ended with ‘just a short walk from campus,’ no matter where the business was!” recalled Charlie Cisumano ’70. The key to success, he said, was getting friends to patronize the advertisers and mention they’d heard.

For Hedquist, one of many WRUC alumni of his era who went on to careers in broadcasting and journalism, the experience was pivotal: “That’s what we wanted to do in the real world,” he says. “It was an electronic petri dish.”

To read a reprint of a 1998 story about WRUC, visit union.edu/wruc-sixties


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