WHRW: Wikis

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WHRW
WHRW logo.png
City of license Binghamton, New York
Broadcast area Binghamton, Endicott, Johnson City
Frequency 90.5 MHz
First air date 1966
Format Other
ERP 1,450 watts
HAAT 29.8 meters
Class A
Facility ID 63105
Transmitter coordinates 42°5′24.00″N 75°58′5.00″W / 42.09°N 75.96806°W / 42.09; -75.96806
Callsign meaning Harpur College Radio Workshop (at the time of conception, the University was known as "Harpur College")[1]
Owner State University of New York At Binghamton
Webcast listen live
Website whrwfm.org

WHRW (90.5 FM) is non-profit, student run, free format radio station. Licensed to Binghamton, New York, USA, the station serves the New York college area. The station is currently owned by Binghamton University.[2]. The station has operational facilities in and on top of the Glenn G. Bartle Library Tower, and in the SUNY Binghamton Student Union.

WHRW is operated by the students of SUNY Binghamton, and interested members of the Greater Binghamton community. WHRW strives to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (which varies with member body size and interest), and broadcasts using a 2,000-watt transmitter at 90.5 MHz on the FM dial.

WHRW's member body is made up entirely of volunteers, who become members first by "apprenticing" under a current member for a programming season (typically a school semester or over the summer), then passing a Clearance Exam. Since 1996, station members participate in a "Station Service" program, by which they accrue hours by doing things that benefit the station (auditioning CDs for profanities; cleaning up the studios; doing production work; volunteering in the News Department; and many other things). Those hours are then used to determine the member's "slotting priority" when they request a show. This guarantees that those who give the most to the station get back the most.

Contents

Beginnings as a radio "workshop"

Details about the beginnings of "The Harpur Radio Workshop" are few and far between (in the 1950s, the college started as "Harpur College," an offshoot of Syracuse University, thus the name of the organization). In 1954, a loose organization formally called "The Radio Workshop of Harpur College" is formed, and it seems that its primary function was to connect interested college students with area commercial radio stations and get them involved in doing production work for these stations.

In October 1961, members of the Workshop begin to construct their own AM transmitter. For those with a rudimentary interest in electronics, a low-powered AM transmitter is not a difficult device to build. The first incarnation of a self-broadcasting Workshop is born in May 1962, then called WRAF (the letters "RAF" are chosen by the Workshop because SUNY Binghamton's Rafuse Residence Hall is where the broadcasts originate). While the broadcasts are received on 590 kHz on a standard AM radio, the broadcasts are carrier-current, which is "closed-circuit" in nature, since it is transmitted through the power lines of only two residence halls. Thus only the residents of those halls can receive the maiden broadcasts.

A "no rock-and-roll" policy

While WHRW's free format environment (see below) would arguably become the station's strongest suit, the days of experimental FM had not yet happened, and WRAF's days were markedly different. The station regularly polled the student body to try and tailor a programming schedule that would be acceptable to its audience. WRAF actually had a "no rock-and-roll" policy, and focused its broadcast day mostly on classical and "good" non-classical music. However, in 1965, WRAF had its first rock-and-roll show. But times were changing.

The Move to FM

In 1965, WRAF's General Manager proposes moving the station to the FM band, which was still largely unused. In November of that year, the FCC approves the construction of an educational station at the frequency 90.5 MHz (the frequency the station itself requested). The station's first antenna is atop a 60-foot pole located behind the Student Center. The FCC approves the station's request of "WHRW" as the new station's call letters. "HRW" is chosen to represent "Harpur Radio Workshop." While stereo FM had been introduced in the early 1960s, it was not an inexpensive technology, and WHRW's first transmitter was a humble 10 watts, in mono.

WHRW's first broadcast was on Friday, February 4, 1966, at 7:30PM. The maiden broadcast is coverage of a Binghamton Colonials basketball game. The formal "inaugural" broadcast took place two days later.

The broadcasting followed the times and the culture in which it was steeped: Jazz, folk, classical, rock, and other forms of music; news and culture coverage that leaned progressive (Vietnam War protests and debates, news from Pacifica Radio and the BBC); and interviews with local political figures. The regular broadcast schedule ran from Sunday through Thursday, from about 5pm to 1am.

WHRW was only the third FM radio station in the Binghamton market. Why was it such a lonely dial, almost ten years after FM was introduced? Quite simply, commercial radio didn't know what to do with it. Hi-fidelity "popular" music was not yet ubiquitous, and AM was more than adequate for the music of the time. And, since RCA had spent almost 30 years trying to keep FM out of the picture (FM was patented in 1933) so that they wouldn't have to force their millions and millions of customers to buy a new receiver set. Thus, AM stations were loath to put unique programming on their FM stations, because of the saturation of AM-only receivers in the marketplace. This is why many FM stations simply "simulcast" their AM parents' programming for many years.

In the late 1960s, construction on the new "Faculty Tower" (later to be more famously named the Glenn G. Bartle Library Tower) is completed. It is the tallest building on campus (18 stories) and one of the tallest buildings in the Binghamton area. WHRW's antenna was moved to the top of this building in April of 1968, and remains there to this day.

The "old station"

While WRAF/WHRW had called several locations home before September 1968, it would be the move during that month that would find them a home for more than 30 years. University Union 266, on what is called the "Mezzanine Level" of the University Union, was WHRW's new home in 1968.

The facility was built specifically for the station, with two control rooms (which were named "Control Room 1", or "CR-1"; and "Control Room 2", or "CR-2"), a place for extra people to be hosted for group broadcasts (dubbed "Studio A"), rooms for records, and office space. There was also a "lobby," an open room that had couches and chairs, bulletin boards with station news and current events, and WHRW's broadcast piped in through speakers.

In the late 1960s, station members began to augment the normal decor of a college radio station by writing and drawing on the walls. This "graffiti" gave the station an even more enigmatic feel, and by 2000 nearly every inch of the facility had been "personalized" in one form or another.

In 2002 (see below), the station was forced to move to the new University Union after Binghamton University decided they were repurposing the original Union building. However, the budget for the project was misappropriated, and the project ran out of money before the old building could be repurposed. The shell of the "old station," as it was called, existed in exactly the condition in which it was left after the move for five years, until mid-2007, when renovation work finally began.

Moe Loogham

In the early 70's, a strange graffito started to appear on campus. A picture in the 1973 yearbook shows "Moe Loogham Is Coming!" spray-painted on the plywood walls surrounding the School of Engineering building construction site at Binghamton University, which was then known as Harpur College. From the mid '70's onward, Moe Loogham was referred to frequently on WHRW's programs, in station publications, and all around campus. In fact, Moe's name has been seen in such diverse locations as at the top of the Washington Monument and in downtown Prague.

Moe appears to be an enigmatic folk legend whose name is derived from the name of a social club at a Hicksville, Long Island high school. (Moe's last name is believed to be a re-working of the name of the Rolling Stones' record producer, Andrew Loog Oldham). First word of Moe came to the third floor of the dormitory Delaware Hall on September 10, 1970. He was thought of more as the "Bringer of all Rightness" than anything else. In ensuing months, "Men (and Women) of Moe" would engage in "slapping missions" where simply-printed stickers with the words "Moe Loogham is Coming!" printed on them in plain block letters would be pasted in prominent locations on and off campus (like Lecture Hall-1, a popular meeting place for classes and student organizations on the Binghamton University campus).

"Moe" was said by some to be a drug dealer (which in those days meant a counterculture figure who functioned more like a neighborhood grocer or bartender than a criminal nuisance) or a shipment of drugs (which in those days usually meant marijuana ("Moe's Loogs"...), hashish or the odd tablet or sugar-cube of LSD). According to legend, he was supposed to have "so many drugs that no one would ever need to get drugs from anyone else again," and "drugs of many kinds and colors, drugs beyond one's wildest dreams." In later years, Moe was the nostalgic icon for the euphoria of the 1960s. But regardless of the times, the popular saying on campus was that "When Moe gets here, everything will be All Right!"

In more recent years as new generations have called WHRW their own, Moe has become sort of a godhead to long-standing station members, a metaphor for the free spirit of WHRW. Moe's name is now often used as a way to describe the euphoria often felt when good radio happens just right.

The golden age of FM

In the early 1970s, some adventurous FM stations (such as KSAN-FM and WNEW-FM) began experimenting with programming based upon album tracks, not only from established artists but from more obscure bands as well. Many of these stations played records by bands few AM radio listeners had heard of at the time such as Led Zeppelin, The Chambers Brothers, Iron Butterfly, and spoken-comedy acts like Firesign Theatre. As in the early days of rock and roll, DJs would play a record based mostly upon their own judgement.

Experimental programming was also becoming popular, especially among college stations, and this time period is also where the term "progressive" or "underground" radio was born. It was the 1960s description of what we now call free-form radio. A DJ could play whatever he or she wanted as long as it did not violate FCC regulations (some DJ's played things which most certainly did!), and a station's popularity depended upon how well its DJs knew music and how they applied that knowledge on the air. Classical was played alongside jazz; rock against folk music or folk-rock, and so on. In the mid-1970s free-form radio fell out of vogue, and many formerly progressive FM stations adopted an AM-like playlist and rotation schedule, though unlike today many of those stations would still offer specialty programming such as live concert simulcasts (most notably the King Biscuit Flower Hour) and comedy shows such as the National Lampoon Radio Hour and Dr. Demento. WHRW decided to preserve this format throughout those years and beyond, perhaps not intentionally, but simply by sticking with a style that suited its DJ's and listeners.

Since the collapse of freeform commercial FM, the commercial radio market has become more and more stringently formatted and automation-driven, leaving no room for experimentation or the possibility that any artist would ever become popular without the official imprimatur of major-record-label or broadcast-industry focus groups. It has been said time and again that even Elvis Presley or The Beatles would have had a difficult time succeeding if the radio industry of the 1950s and 60's were like the current ultra-conservative climate of radio. But four decades after going on the air, WHRW has bucked current trends and retained its free-format philosophy.

2009: The WHRW news department makes news itself

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Information Security Issues

Since 2005, the University's ability to protect sensitive information has fallen under scrutiny following the exposure of students to potential identify theft. Social security numbers and other sensitive information have inadvertently been e-mailed to unauthorized individuals and organizations, and some sensitive information has also been found inappropriately discarded in dumpsters instead of confidential recycling bins. According to a series of investigative reports by WHRW Radio's news department, hundreds and probably thousands of individuals were put at direct risk for identity theft, though the University would dispute the thousands.

In response, the University created a council on information security headed by a senior-level official within the institution in fall of 2007. Following the information security incidents described above, the University publicly pledged that it was addressing the issue and asserted that future leaks would not occur.

March 9, 2009

WHRW News reported a information security incident on Tuesday, March 10, 2009.[3] According to the report, the University's Student Accounts Department stored sensitive documents in a room within the Lecture Hall complex. This room was supposed to be secure, but a number of doorways allowed access to the room from different areas within the Lecture Hall, and one of these doors was left unlocked and taped open.[4] While investigating this security problem, a WHRW reporter used a catwalk to access the room, entered the room and photographed the location, along with selections of its contents. Photographs of the room and a medley of redacted documents were subsequently posted online at the WHRW News website. [3]

Before running the story, WHRW News alerted University officials of the aforementioned security breach on Monday, March 9, 2009. Shortly after learning of the information security incident, Robert Glass, director of the WHRW News Department, was advised by University administrators to "seek personal legal counsel immediately" in connection to the matter as criminal charges may be brought.[3][4] Mr. Glass was further advised not to publish the story or distribute photographs that were taken in connection with the security incident. In response, WHRW News ignored the guidance put forth by the University and went public with the story on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. As previously noted, photographs of the room and certain redacted documents were made available online by WHRW News.[5][6][7][8]

In late April 2009 University officials released a joint statement. The statement indicated that the University would not pursue legal action against WHRW reporters and that new policies would be examined in relation to WHRW and the responsible reporting of security incidents. The statement was penned by Brian Rose (VP for Student Affairs), Robert Glass, Glass's attorney Henry Kaufman, and Mike Saltzman, the General Manager of WHRW.

April 28, 2009

On April 28, 2009, WHRW News Director Robert Glass found unsecured social security information in a dumpster in a public location within the Binghamton University library. Folders containing names and social security numbers of professors from the Romance Languages department from the 1970s and '80s were discarded without shredding or any form of redaction. The documents, discovered when Glass was walking by the dumpster in question on his way to the library, were found on top of the dumpster clearly visible to passers-by and needed no searching to be found. It is unclear exactly who improperly disposed of the documents by leaving them wholly intact in an unsecure location. The documents were gathered and turned over to the University Police Department within thirty minutes of their discovery, and the police promptly secured the dumpster and searched it for more documents containing personal information. In comments made in Pipe Dream, University spokeswoman Gail Glover said that the University takes information security seriously and that the Administration was addressing the problem with a sense of urgency.

External links

References

  1. ^ "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web. http://www.oldradio.com/archives/nelson/origins.call-list.html.  
  2. ^ "WHRW Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division. http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/fmq?call=WHRW.  
  3. ^ a b c http://news.whrwfm.org/?q=node/204
  4. ^ a b http://www.databreaches.net/?p=2222
  5. ^ http://www.databreaches.net/?p=2122
  6. ^ http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20090312/NEWS01/903120377
  7. ^ http://www.bupipedream.com/beta/index.php/articles/view/10901
  8. ^ http://www.americablog.com/2009/03/data-privacy-breach-at-suny-binghamton.html

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