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Archives & Special Collections: WRUC (Union College Radio Station)


On September 16, 1920 the headline on the front page of the Concordiensis read, "Union Again Pioneer of College World, Music by Wireless Radio..." Indeed Union had broken a new frontier on September 14th by becoming the first College radio station to broadcast in the United States.  From the humble beginnings of the Union College Radio Club in 1920 grew an interest in radio that continues today.  The college radio station, once called W2GSB, was experimental from 1923-1940.  However, In 1941 the station was given amateur radio status and began regularly broadcasting news, Union sports, and music.

The radio station call letters were eventually changed to WRUC (sometimes referred to as Wireless Radio Union College) and eventually became a completely student run club.  In 1975, WRUC switched from AM to FM and was provided a 100 Watt frequency, about a five mile radius, of transmission.  Special Collections has more than  a dozen scrap books containing materials about the station, ranging from the 1940s through the 1970s. These scrapbooks offer an opportunity for researchers to track WRUC's technological and social evolution through the years.

Primary Sources

"Union College Radio Club 1920-21" Scrap Book V UL R11 [vault] UL R11 (Special Collections)

"Union College Radio Station WRUC" Scrap Books, 1939-1951 V UL R11 le (Special Collections)

"W2GSB Amateur Radio Log" Nine Volumes V UL R11 l v. 1-9 (Special Collections)

"WRUC"; Four Boxes of files, reel to reel tapes, and scrapbooks Coll Num 433 (Special Collections)

Secondary Sources

Bloch, Louis M. The Gas Pipe Networks: A History of College Radio, 1936-1946Cleveland: Block, 1980.

Douglas, George H. The Early Days of Radio BroadcastingJefferson, NC: McGarland, 1987.

Douglas, Susan J. Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987. 

Dunlap, Orrin E. The Story of RadioNew York: The Dial Press, 1935. 

MacDonald, J. Fred. Don't Touch That Dial!: Radio Programming in American Life, 1920-1960Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1979. 

Ringwald, Christoph O."A Pioneer Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary: WRUC Then and Now." Concordiensis February 24, 1995.