Thoughts by Henry "Hank" Neimark
C.W. Post Class of 1964
IT WASN'T MUCH BUT IT WAS A START
The station went on the air in October 1961 as a carrier current. I was with WCWP from the beginning, and was the control room director for the first AM broadcast 50 years ago. The station was built in a cubicle not bigger than a walk-in closet, all put together with homemade components. The station was created as a service for students on campus. At first we had a lot of technical difficulties; it was so primitive, almost embarrassing to hear, but we did it. It wasn't much, but it was a start.
DR. COSTON AND THE BEGINNINGS OF FM
Just as there would have been no WCWP without Art Beltrone, I think that no history of WCWP can be written without acknowledging the tireless efforts of the late Dr. Herb Coston to bring about WCWP – FM. It can be argued that without him there would have been no FM license and no Abrams Communications Center. All the material that built the Abrams building was solicited from local businesses by Dr. Coston. Everything—bricks, mortar, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies— was donated to create the Abrams building. The final influx of money came from a grant through Emerson Broadcasting.
Finally we had a station but we had no license. It was very hard to obtain a license because there wasn't much room on the dial. All of our efforts went into obtaining an FM license. Finally, Senator Charles Keating strong-armed the FCC to get us that license.
The inaugural broadcast of the FM station took place in April of 1965. I was the Station Manager at that time and had the honor of being the first voice heard on the air. From the beginning, the station was almost entirely run, scheduled and operated by students. Dr. Coston was a big guiding hand, but he mostly just let us do it ourselves.
A SECOND HOME
We were all very close friends and the station was very central to our lives. It remains, for me, one of the most significant things I've ever done. It was a second home, and it was an awful lot of fun. About a year later I was drafted for the war in Vietnam. I was leaving family, friends, and a girlfriend, but the hardest thing of all was to leave the station.