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memories

RECOGNIZE

this dapper deejay? Reveal his identity at magazine@ american.edu. Excerpts from the Eagle archives at the eagleonline.com/archives

1961

After a decade as a student station (with a signal that didn’t make it past Ward Circle), WAMU made the leap to the FM dial. On October 23, WAMU 88.5 FM debuted with “a salute to the New York Philharmonic.” White House advisor Jerome Weisner read a telegram from President John F. Kennedy in honor of the new 4,000-watt station. “With the success of educational radio, we can look forward to a deeply rewarding source of knowledge and fact.”

1967

Sue Raezer won WAMU’s first-ever “mommy” contest in October, correctly identifying her mother’s voice on the radio. Station manager Tom Wills, clad in 10-gallon hat and bolo tie, presented Raezer with a $10 gift certificate to Count’s Western Wear. “The next voice you hear on WAMU may be that of your mommy,” Wills told the crowd gathered at the now defunct clothier.

1989

Morning announcer Bill Redlin’s April 19 broadcast was interrupted by a fire in the transmission room, which destroyed $10,000 worth of gear. Nine fire trucks responded to the blaze in the AU Broadcast Center, which melted wires in the station’s transmitter tubes and destroyed the dummy load, a transformer testing device. After six hours of dead air, the station was back up and running.

2013

This summer, WAMU began moving to a building befitting D.C.’s most popular radio station: a 96,000-square-foot facility on bustling Connecticut Avenue. The 50,000-watt WAMU, which reaches 805,000 listeners a week as D.C.’s only NPR affiliate, doubled its space. Nestled near the Van Ness Metro, the building—home to other AU administrative offices—will feature a ground-level studio, where passersby can watch Diane Rehm chat up her guests.

Do you remember when WAMU debuted on the FM dial? Did you work at the station? Are you a longtime listener? Share your stories: email magazine@american.edu, or post your memories at Facebook.com/AmericanUniversity. american.edu/alumni  43

American magazine, August 2013  

The flagship publication of American University. This magazine offers a lively look at what AU was and is, and where it's going. It's a foru...

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