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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Alum Checks In

We have received another post from a WDGC Alum. This time, it is Larry Massingill, from the class of 1968. Below is his post. He was also kind enough to send along a picture from his archives.

More posts are on the way! We've still got 6 shirts to give away to alums who share a memory with us. Email to join in.

Larry writes:

"I ran across your blog today and was pleased to see your picture of Fred (as we used to call him behind his back) looking puzzled at all the wires and cables under the Gates Yard console. Fortunately, he had knowledgeable students to keep him from electrocuting himself, or getting his ever present tie caught in a turntable or tape reel."

The process for transforming the carrier current AM station WDGN to a licensed FM station was not without difficulties. First we built the studio which I drew up and Fred built, with a (mostly) sound proof announcer booth behind the glass. I installed and wired the equipment which included the console, two manual turntables and an Ampex 400 console tape deck, which is either hidden behind the turntable on the left, or no longer present when this picture was taken.
I apologize for the rat’s nest of wires Fred seems to be caught in, but tie-wraps weren’t invented yet in 1968, and I was just a wanabee engineer at the time.

I studied for and obtained my First Class Radiotelephone license, required to run an FM station, and helped others gain their first or second class licenses needed to operate a broadcast station. I then helped with the FCC application, which was turned down for both the initially requested frequency and call sign. With the help of a "real" engineering firm we found an acceptable frequency, and since WDGN "Downers Grove North" was already assigned to another station, we choose "Downers Grove Community" WDGC as our call sign. There was no consideration given to including the new uppity South High in the program, but I guess loss of the "N" in the call sign worked out for the best.

We installed the FM transmitter, but I graduated in the spring of 1968 before the license was granted, so I missed the first sign on. I had to be content using my license at the newly established station WPGU at the UofI Champaign/Urbana campus. I maintained the transmitter for two years while I was busy attaining the right to call myself a real Engineer.

Today my only connection to radio is through designing the internals of cell phones, but I have many fond memories of "radio days", both on and off the air.

Larry Massingill ‘68"