Monday, October 26, 2020


I found  this logo stamped on an old LP. Sadly I lost track of which one. So I can't fully close the loop as to the hear that logo was in use. But we can work out the timeline quite nicely. I found a similar stamp on an LP on eBay: matrix CL-2105 of Bob Dylan's LP "The Times They Are a Changin'." Which, if original, would date that logo to 1964, the first year of it's use. This fits the timeline and the story here nicely.

Today the WWRC call letters live on 570 AM in Bethesda, MD. It's owned by Salem Media Group,which tells you that it's christian propaganda talk. The brand only names sense in that context 'AM 570 The Answer". But that station first signed on as WQQW in 1946. They only picked up the WWRC call sign in 1998. It had been WGMS from 1951 to 1992 and then had a bit of an identity crisis first taking on the WTEM call sign in 1992 with a flip to sports talk then WWRC  when Chancellor Broadcasting swapped calls on both of it's DC-area stations. WTEM moved to 980, and WWRC moved to 570. Remember that last one, it's a sideshow but it comes up again later in the story. Let's get back to the Bronc.

Rider University's new calls WRRC are an unfortunately popular acronym; shared by Web Rally Radio  Communication, the World Rock and Roll Confederation and multiple resource centers': Women, Water, Workforce and Waste to name a few. It is not a convenient call sign to google. Endeavor to persevere.

The official history says that the radio station originally went on air as WRCR-AM on November 1st, 1962. At the time it was  located at 640 AM on the dial. "Student Ira Kinder started the station with the help of his adviser, Gordon Graves, who was in charge of the Rider Audio/Video Department." Kinder was also a reporter for the Rider News campus paper in 1961. But in September of 1961 that same newspaper says the following:

"WRCR the Rider College radio station, begins its third year of  broadcasting tonight at 10:30 on the new campus. The station, which operates on a closed-circuit system, can be heard only in Hill, Switlik, Zeigler and Wright Dormitories, 640 on the radio dial... Michael Brooke is president of the organization. Ira Morris is station Manager and Morris Kurtz is campus station manager. Dennis Dobrin and Harry Barber head the sports department while ken Hoffman is in charge of the news department."

So clearly the station didn't debut in 1961. That October was the start of it's third year of broadcasting. But in the caption of the picture accompanying the article the station is described as in it's second year, which while technically accurate, obfuscates the real start date. Clarifying that language, the article then clearly states "WRCR was begun October, 1959 by Brooks and Kinder. They strung a wire from their room in Hill B-301 to Hill C-310 and transmitted the human voice. Thus, WRCR."  I have no good explanation why the station uses a later start date in their own online history. [LINK].  According to that same 1963 article the station's weekly broadcast hours were as follows:

Monday7:30 AM to 8:45 AM3:00 PM to 7:00 PM10:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Tuesday7:30 AM to 8:45 AM3:00 PM to 7:00 PM10:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Wednesday7:30 AM to 8:45 AM3:00 PM to 7:00 PM10:00 PM to 11:45 PM
7:30 AM to 8:45 AM3:00 PM to 7:00 PM10:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Friday7:30 AM to 8:45 AM



10:00 PM to 11:45 PM

While the station biography may contain errors, it does tell us why they changed calls from WRCR to WWRC:

"In 1965, the station changed its call letters from WRCR to WWRC, because a commercial station on the East Coast wanted the same WRCR call letters. In exchange, WWRC received equipment from the commercial station."

Who was that "East Coast" commercial station?  Well it appears to be 1010 WRCR-AM in Maplewood, MN. It's a South East suburb of Minneapolis. Surprise! It's not on the East Coast. It's not even on Eastern Standard time. The station signed on as WGBH-AM in November 1963 owned by Ramsey Broadcasting and became WRCR on May 18th, 1964 now under WRCR Broadcasting Corp. 

However a carrier current station has no need to change calls, nor would a commercial station in Minneapolis even know that they exist. So while the timing more or less fits the timeline but some of the details seem off. The website Twin Cities Musical highlights [LINK] fills in some later WRCR history: “The station became WJSW “Polka Power” around 1969, and they picked up the WMIN call letters in November 1973. The calls later reappeared on 94.3 WRCR  as "Farm and Field" in Rushville, IN. 94.3 WRCR didn't change calls to WIFE until 2000. Today the WRCR calls live on 1700 AM in Ramapo, NY. 

The history skips it, but in 1978 Rider U. filed for a CP which was granted in 1980. It was for FM channel 261 which is 1001. FM. This frequency was never used as far as I can tell. This must have been the initial application which led to their CP on 88.5. Some biographies refer to what may have been a some kind of share-time agreement with student-run station WLSR, operated by the nearby Lawrenceville School, a private prep school. WSLR appears to have still existed in some format until at least 2015 [LINK] and possibly still streaming in 2019.  In the "mid-1980s" they parted ways and thereafter WRCR had 88.5 to itself. I can corroborate the existence WRCR on 88.5 with 10 watts as early as 1985 in issues of the Broadcasting & Cable yearbook. WLSR is more elusive.

Rider College Radio :

FrequencyCall sign
640WWRC1964 - 1984
88.5WRRC1984 - 1991
WRRC1991 +

This leaves one more significant event to confirm.  According to the history, in 1984, the station changed its call letters to WRRC. Leading up to 1984 Rider's call sign was WWRC which it only shared with a single AM station, 980 WWRC-AM in Silver Spring, MD which was operated by Greater Media. This station is now WTEM-AM.  It seems likely that this is when the story arose of a station on the "East Coast station" wanting their call letters. However, 980 WTEM/WWRC would have had terrible coverage in New Jersey. It's well outside it's protected contour, and this would not have been the reason they needed to change calls to WWRC. Nonetheless 980 in Silver Spring did flip from WTEM to WWRC right then in 1984. So perhaps in a fit of excessive branding they did work that out a deal with Rider.

But there was a near-miss in this story. In 1979 another FM WRRC was not yet on air, B&C reported them with an unknown target date on 89.9 Mhz at 10 watts. It was the Radford College station. Instead by the time they signed on in 1980 they were using the callsign WVRU under Radford University. The reason for that name change was self-evident.

Out of all the facilities in this tale my favorite discovery is that our Ramapo, NY AM station has shared calls with Rider College twice. The station signed on as WRRC at 1300 AM in 1965, and took on the WRCR calls when the station in Radford, VA gave them up in 2000. But being on the AM band this had no bearing on Rider's choice of calls on the FM band. So Rider retained the WRRC calls when it moved to its current dial position 107.7 FM in 1991, now at 20 watts.

Ira Kinder, the father of Rider University radio "The Bronc" died of prostate cancer in 1999 at the age of 57.  [LINK] After Rider he earned a master's degree in theater from Nova Southeastern University. Then in 1979, he got a job teaching theater at Plantation High School in Broward, FL. He worked there for the rest of his life.

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