When the campus radio station in the old "BUB" went live on April 5, 1971, students tacked cardboard egg cartons to the walls to enhance acoustics, built and mixing console, bought a mike in a pawn shop, and scrounged tow cast-off turntables. The booth was an old wooden desk piled with equipment. While they may have lacked sophisticated equipment, the entrepreneurial students running WPSM made up for it with ingenuity and technical know-how.
A gift of $25,000 has allowed the campus to name the radio station booth in the Student Community Center in honor of James ?Jay? M. Weitzel, Jr. ?74. His connection to the radio station goes back to 1971, when he and a group of students including longtime friends Tom Lemak and Rick Toretti were involved with WPSM. Lemak built much of the equipment, Toretti was president of the Electronics Club and wired the station, and Weitzel was in charge of recruiting disc jockeys and developing the play list.
This group followed an earlier set of students, including Charles T. Glazer '73, who began broadcasting on campus in 1969.
The current home for the radio station?with its new call letters of WMKP?has gone way beyond egg cartons and vinyl records to provide a commercial-quality broadcast to listeners in the building and on the internet (www.wmkptheroar.com). The booth, overlooking the game room on a central corridor, provides an exciting space for DJs of the twenty-first century.
?It's great to see the station still going after 35 years with so much student interest! The professional equipment is a whole lot better than what we started with, so the station gives students a better introduction to the art of broadcasting," Weitzel said. "And, as with any student-run organization, you hope that while they're having fun, the students will develop leadership and other skills that will complement their classroom work."