Campus radio at IU has been around for 40+ years and has had thousands of students on the air and behind the scenes. Here is a look at our history:
WQAD, a carrier current AM radio station was founded in Wright Quadrangle at Indiana University. The studios were originally in Todd House and later in Elliott House. WQAD beamed its programming to Wright Quadrangle, Teter Quadrangle, Read Center, Forest Quadrangle and what was then known as the Graduate Residence Center or GRC. As a note, at the time of WQAD, Wright housed only men.
January 5, 1963
WQAD broadcasts for the first time on 730 AM via carrier current throughout Wright Quad. The station was started by Physics major, Bill Weaverling, chemistry major, Steve Peterson, and education major, Jerry Pugh.
1964 – WFQR Radio, also a carrier current AM radio station, was founded in Foster Quadrangle; the call letters stood for “Foster Quadrangle Radio.” WFQR broadcasted on 600 AM. Its programming was beamed to the dormitories along Fee Lane, including Foster, McNutt and Briscoe Quadrangles.
WFQR Radio changed its call letters to WIN, and continued to operate from Foster Quadrangle.
Phil Murphy formed the Indiana University Radio Network (IURN) to combine sales for both student stations. At times during the 1966-67 school year, each station originated a “network feed” which was sent to the carrier current transmitters of all wired student housing. At other times for this final school year, WIN and WQAD maintained separate programming.
WIN and WQAD merged to form the largest carrier-current, student-owned, commercial campus radio station in the world. The new station was called WIUS, for Indiana University Student radio, and was the beginning of our station as we know it today. It was supposed to be at 620 khz in all student housing, but until the end of carrier current operations, some transmitters continued to operate at 730 khz. The original WIUS studios were located at 617 E. 8th St., today the site of Mathers Museum. All IU undergraduate dormitories were wired and able to tune into WIUS.
October 10, 1972
On the first day of National Fire Prevention Week, a pre-dawn fire destroyed the original WIUS studios. The fire was arson, set in at least two locations, the sales office at the front of the building and the administrative offices in the rear; the person or persons responsible have never been arrested. For one week, WIUS programming aired from a spare studio of the Indiana University Radio and Television Service. WIUS then relocated until Spring Break of 1973 to the old Elliott House WQAD studios, using salvaged and borrowed equipment, records that survived the fire and records from student DJ collections.
“From mid-October through spring break, WIUS moved back to the Elliott House location, which was in its last year as a men’s dorm then. We did so because it provided us ready-made studio space. Room dividers put in by WQAD still existed in the storage area…enough for a newsroom and a studio, with a walkway and a small engineering closet. The Associated Press wire machine…yes, we had the AP back in those days…was located around the corner in another closet. We routinely assembled newscasts on the Elliott House ping-pong table and typed stories on two typewriters, which survived the fire…and are still at the station today. They’re old gray Royal manual typewriters. That’s as cramped and rudimentary a set-up as WIUS ever had. Here’s the kicker,” says Bob Roberts (a/k/a Bob Rodenkirk and “Frankie B. Rhodes”)1972-73 WIUS Program Director. “Despite those physical problems, that’s when we began to assemble the entries for the AP Indiana Broadcast awards made in the spring of 1974 (for calendar year 1973), in which we swept every statewide category we entered. That means we beat the Indianapolis commercial stations! WIUS was named the Indiana AP station of the year. The job market was tight in radio news, and it helped a lot of us find work when we graduated.”
WIUS moves over spring break from Elliott House into the current student radio house at 815 E. 8th St., two blocks from the previous WIUS house.
In addition to carrier current, WIUS begins to air its programming on the local Blooomington, Ind., cable TV system, then owned by Monroe Cablevision, at 95.1 mHz. Broadcasts to IU dormitories and a select number of fraternities and sororities (notably Alpha Epsilon Pi, Evans Scholars and the houses surrounding them) remained carrier current, although after 1977 the carrier current system was allowed to deteriorate and reception was often spotty or absent in certain dormitories. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the IU dormitories would be wired for cable; as soon as they were, WIUS became exclusively cable-accessible.
After several years of sometimes sporadic broadcasts and funding so bad that portions of the WIUS House were rented out as student apartments, a group of students dedicated to IU radio formed a committee to search out money for WIUS — and with the university’s help they provided funding to help improve the station. This funding lasted until the end of the decade.
WIUS was allowed a portion of the student activity fee for each of the following two school years. This funding allowed WIUS to further its evolution, and it added open-air AM broadcasts from a low-power transmitter, identical to those used for roadside traffic reports in any cities, atop the Indiana University Library, broadcasting to an approximately three-mile radius at 1570 khz, while maintaining its cable FM presence. This transmitter remained in place until January 2006.
This year proved a breakthrough year for WIUS in terms of recognition, identity and community relations. In the Bloomington Voice “Best of Bloomington” poll, The Alternative AM 1570 placed in ten categories, and won in Best Campus Organization, Best Festival and Concert (both for Best Radio Show for “Bloomington Vibes.”
WIUS stayed with the information technology boom by adding a Real Audio server to their existing website. This served as a new way for alumni and parents, as well as other people outside of the Bloomington area to listen to WIUS.
An application for a student-operated FM radio license is submitted to the FCC. The FCC delays granting a low-power FM license to WIUS because of another application in the Bloomington area.
After settling the debate in court, the FCC grants the permit to WIUS and assigns the operating frequency of 100.3 MHz, identical to the former WQAX cable access station. The move to an FCC licensed broadcast FM station, however means that the station needed to change its call letters. Since 1981, WIUS-FM has operated as the FCC-licensed, student-operated FM station at Western Illinois University. The selection of WIUX as the new call sign (usage of the “X”) is a small tribute to the former WQAX, its Indiana student staff (now alumni), and the Bloomington area that it served.
January 30, 2006
WIUX begins broadcasting on 100.3FM after being granted a Low-power FM License.
June 4, 2007
WIUX moves to 99.1 FM after Columbus, Indiana radio station WYGB expanded it’s range to the nearby area and began using the 100.3 FM frequency.
October – November, 2008
WIUX is selected a “Staff Favorite” on iTunes radio, a list that consists of only 10 stations. WIUX was given this honor for two months in a row, in both October and November.
May – August, 2009
WIUX is again selected a “Staff Favorite” on iTunes radio, gaining many listeners from around the world.
September – October 2009
WIUX is nominated for “Best College Radio Station” in mtvU’s annual Woodie Awards competition. WIUX is one of 260 stations nominated for the award. It later advances to the top 100, top 50, and top 25 rounds of voting.