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WSAJ-FM
WSAJ logo.png
Broadcast area Grove City, Pennsylvania
Branding 91.1 The One
Slogan Something for Everyone
Frequency 91.1 MHz
First air date 1920 (AM), 1968 (FM)
Format College radio
ERP 1,600 Watts
Class A
Owner Grove City College
Website http://www.wsaj.com

WSAJ-FM (91.1 FM) is a non-commercial college radio station located in Grove City, Pennsylvania. The station is owned and operated by Grove City College and carries syndicated classical and jazz music, as well as student programming and local sports coverage. The station is managed by an employee of the college, and its day-to-day operations are overseen by a staff of student volunteers when school is in session.

Contents

History

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Beginnings in AM

Experiments in radio broadcasting began at Grove City College under Professor Herbert W. Harmon[1] shortly before World War I. The station was issued experimental callsign 8CO in 1914, and, after a brief period off the air during the war, returned under experimental callsign 8YV in 1920. The first broadcast was made on April 26, 1920, when President Weir C. Ketler sent a message via the station to the New Castle rotary club.[1][2] The WSAJ callsign was issued in 1920 and the station began operating briefly on a frequency of 1310 kHz, then moving later to 1340 kHz.[3]

At the dial position of AM 1340, WSAJ operated using a two-tower directional antenna system at the lecture hall which housed its studios and the school's communications program, operating at a power of 100 watts. Another radio station, WOYL, signed on at this frequency from Oil City, Pennsylvania in 1946, also using a two-tower directional antenna. In order for these two stations to co-exist within only 40 miles of each other, WOYL was mandated by the FCC to sign off for approximately 90 minutes twice a week in order to protect WSAJ, whose signal traveled further at night without being inhibited by the sun's interference. In later years, the FCC determined that this "shared-time" restriction was no longer necessary and that both stations could actually operate with a non-directional signal. While WSAJ did take this route, WOYL chose not to and still uses a directional antenna system today.

WSAJ-FM Signs On

An FM station at 89.5 MHz was added under the same callsign in 1968 before moving to 91.1 MHz in 1981.[4]

Student programming was a mainstay on WSAJ from its inception, with off-site satellite-delivered programming during non-student programs, until a power increase in 1995 resulted in the FM station's coverage area being significantly enlarged. At that time, student broadcasting on the FM station ceased and was moved to a current-carrier AM station on 530 kHz, which could only be heard in the immediate vicinity of the college campus, largely necessary because of frequent equipment problems that plagued the ancient AM 1340 transmitter and rendered the station unreliable.

WSAJ-AM Leaves the Air for Good

Over the next few years, the AM broadcasting equipment deteriorated to a point at which it was no longer functional, and student programming moved to an intranet streaming format, calling itself WGCC, even though this was not a legitimately-issued callsign.

In 2004, newly-installed college president Richard G. Jewell and chairman of the board David Rathburn, himself a WSAJ alumnus, instituted policy changes which allowed student broadcasting to return to the more powerful FM station. At that time, the student programming rebranded itself as 91.1 The One and adopted a primarily indie rock format. In early 2006, the operating license for WSAJ-AM was allowed to expire while the FM station remains on the air.[5] The original antenna array for AM 1340, though no longer functional, remains on campus today atop Rockwell Science Hall.

WSAJ has applied for a construction permit to increase its signal across more of western Pennsylvania. It was accepted by the FCC for filing on August 29, 2007.[6].

Programming

In March 2007, WSAJ made significant changes to its syndicated programming lineup. For years, the station carried classical music programming during the daytime from the Beethoven Satellite Network, originating at WFMT in Chicago. A decision was made to switch to classical music offerings from Public Radio International, which also enabled the station to add news programming from the British Broadcasting Corporation. The station also added a variety of specialty classical, jazz, bluegrass, and folk music shows throughout the week. The WFMT syndicated program "Jazz with Bob Parlocha" continues to air as well.

During the school year, students from a recognized campus organization fill each evening of the week with programming under the moniker "91-1 The One", featuring a main format of independent/alternative rock. Under this format, the station reports its spin counts to the College Media Journal. Some students also air specialty shows at various timeslots during the week. The organization appoints its own executive staff that governs the student programming. The students also do regular remote broadcasts at the college's Homecoming and Parents' Weekend events.

WSAJ also airs Grove City College football and road basketball games, as well as some area high school football games.

WSAJ has future plans to add more local programming and news coverage to benefit the citizens of Grove City and the surrounding areas. Already, WSAJ has aired brief reports from Grove City Borough Council meetings.

References

External links


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