by Ryan A. MacMichael '98
In 1946, WMWC was born as "The Mike Club" and registered with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System as "Station WMWC." Things were significantly different then compared to currently; to get a taste of how things "used to be," here is the entry from the 1946 Battlefield yearbook for Station WMWC:
600 on the dial . . . 4:30 on the clock . . . and Mary Washington College is on the air! This year the campus radio station became affiliated with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, and adopted as its official title Station WMWC. Daily dramas, campus news, the concert hour, and the hit tune parade have become favorites on the Hill. Those who are selected to be on the staff receive valuable training as announcers, actresses, engineers, and script writers -- training which will prepare them for jobs in radio.
During the stations resurgence in the early 1980s, WMWC began to broadcast on the 540 AM frequency. Due to a lack of maintenence, just about nobody on campus could get the station by the 1990s. Rats had eaten through transmitter boxes in dorm rooms and the antennae WMWC used just wasn't strong enough. This continued until the summer of 1995 when cable FM became a reality for the station. During the first semester of 1995, WMWC began broadcasting as 91.5FM. More students could hear the station, but it required a special attachment (provided for free by the station) to hook one's stereo up to the cable box in each room.
In 1997, WMWC started a long-planned experiment with "radiating cable," which allowed people on campus to listen to the station in their dorm rooms without any special attachments. It started with one dorm being connected and now covers about five or six dorms. In addition, in 1999 the station became the background audio for the college's cable station. Early attempts at Internet broadcasting were thwarted, but more attempts are being made in an attempt to bring the sounds of 91.5 to the world at large.
As far as programming, two milestones came during my tenure at the station. In 1996 we debuted the Live at the Station series which featured live performances by MWC students. In the summer of 1997, we acquired our cart replacement system and were able to broadcast archived shows and interviews overnight with no DJs in the station.
I hope to beef up this history after speaking with some people at the college. I would ideally like to provide a full list of officers through the years as well as a more complete milestone list. Keep an eye out.