A BIT OF HISTORY:
On April 28, 1949, WGRE went live as the first 10-watt educational radio station licensed by the Federal Communication Commission. Professors Elizabeth Turnell and Harold Ross were instrumental in the process of getting the station licenesed and "on-the-air." The first official broadcast was a tribute to the president of DePauw University, Clyde Wildman, who was unable to attend the inauguration of the station because he was in the hospital at the time. However, by giving President Wildman an FM receiver, he was able to hear the ceremony from his hospital bed.
WGRE's programming then ranged from radio dramas and live musical performances to covering special events like the groundbreaking of the Roy O. West library and DePauw sporting events.
In 1952, after moving from a small room in Harrison Hall to its new state of the art studio in the Student Union Building, WGRE expanded its programming to include popular music.
WGRE joined forces with the Associated Press in the early 1960's in order to increase the variety of the station's news coverage. Then, in 1962, WGRE underwent a power increase, enabling the station to broadcast at 250 watts. This increased the broadcast radius from 6 miles to approximatey 45 miles. The station switched to the UPI news service in the mid '70's, shifting back to AP in 1987.
In the Fall of 1983, WGRE got a grant from the university to upgrade to a stereo signal. We also replaced our audio processing and built an air-conditioned closet for the transmitter in the UB attic that removed it from the room behind the on-air studio in the Union Building. Within a few months the first digital audio was being played over the air via a (then very expensive!) CD-Walkman, although Vinyl wasn't eliminated as the primary music source until the early '90's after the station moved into the PCCM.
With the opening of the Center for Contemporary Media in 1991, WGRE relocated to its current location and began operating at 800 watts. The station now boasts a staff of approximately 200 students who devote themselves to keeping WGRE on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For many years, WGRE has won numerous awards for its news and sports programming from organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists and the Associated Press. The station also holds philanthropies to raise money for various local causes, and in 1997 was honored to be named as the only non-commercial radio station to receive a Crystal Award.
In 2000 WGRE began webcasting, which allowed parents and off-campus students to keep in touch with DePauw from afar. Now, the webstream makes up a significant portion of the listening audience, with the Monon Bell game standing as our signature broadcast to alumni and parents.
In 2002 WGRE underwent a $100,000 upgrade to replace the facility's electronic infrastructure and eliminate analog recording and playback technology, along with the major furniture in all operational areas. All production and on-air equipment was replaced, including the main audio processor and transmitter.
In 2015, WGRE spent $60,000 on the station to upgrade the audio boards throughout the station and the audio chain to the transmitter. This upgrade should be able to take the station into the next decade.
Through our entire history, we have remained "Your Sound Alternative!"
WGRE Signed-on for the first time on April 28, 1949. Check out the beginning of the first official broadcast!
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