Broadcasting in the 1940-1941 School Year

Nov 17, 2011

The Purdue Exponent - Sunday, January 12, 1941

New Equipment Will Increase Power of 'Voice of Purdue' To 50,000 Watts

(Editor's Note: This is the first of a series of articles on the changes which are being made in the transmission facilities and studios of WBAA. We hope that they will serve to answer some of the questions you may have concerning these changes. This article concerns the station in general. Future stories will take up the actual details of the studios and the new transmitter.)

by Lee Roffner

High up on the third floor of the Electrical Engineering Building--up where the air starts getting thin--are three little rooms. A sign on one of them says "WBAA." At the present time those three rooms are the source of the "Voice of Purdue." But not for long.

They're Getting Underway

In about two weeks now, WBAA will start to come into its own by shifting its studios from those little rooms to a brand new location in the Music Hall. And it's about time. We had heard that when the Music Hall was complete, WBAA was to get new studios in it; we even saw a sign over in the Hall that said 'WBAA studios.' But Purdue's voice continued to come directly from the top of the double-E building into the receiver of our rather tired wireless set.

Wondering if those rooms in the Music Hall were just an idle rumor, we talked to All Todd about the thing. Al is a combined undergraduate student and staff member and has been working on the job since last fall some time; so he knows quite a bit about it. He sure can talk about it, anyway.

Tour Of Inspection

We cornered Al the other day in the rooms that are to comprise the new studios and ended up with enough notes to write a dozen articles. Some place that is! We followed our guide in and out of 12 rooms, no less. Studios, offices, workshop, storerooms and control rooms--the new place has them all. And some time within the next two weeks--if construction work goes as well as is expected--WBAA will move in, and in so doing will take the first step in its program for becoming a full-time radio station. Here are the plans as outlined tous by our informant:

Equipment Almost Ready

The first thing, of course, is to get the studio settled in the new location and to get the staff accustomed to using the auditioning system, the practice studio, the amplifiers, the control console, the audience studio and all the rest of the brand new equipment that has been and is being constructed for it. This equipment, by the way, has been planned and most of it built under the guiding genius of Ralph Townsley and Charles Jackson. More about them later. As soon as everything is settled in the new location, things will really start to happen. The old out-moded towers atop the electrical building will cease to function.

New High Power Transmitter

Taking their place will be a transmitter using a directional antenna located somewhere south of Lafayette (we couldn't find out exactly where--sabotage suspected, no doubt). When this change takes place sometime in March or April the power of the station will be increased to 5,000 watts and the directional feature of the antenna will give it an effective signal strength of almost 50,000 watts. Al explained all this in detail to us, but our meagre experience with EE 19 didn't permit a very complete understanding of it. Sure sounded good, though.

At the same time the power change is made, the station will take up a twelve hour schedule of broadcasting (maybe they'll make "Meet the Band" a half-hour program). Also, for you technically minded people, there will be no transmission line used between the studio and the transmitter. A small transmitter using the up-and-coming frequency modulation will be installed.

Ralph Townsley, mentioned earlier, seems to be the electrical brains of the outfit. He does the planning of the equipment and then he and Charles Jackson put it together. The control console and the amplifiers that we saw were wonderful jobs. Both the boys are University graduates; Townsley got his BSEE in '33 and Jackson graduated in '24 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. We don't get it. Jackson graduated in chem engineering, he's working on a very much electrical job, and we've been told that he's very proficient on any job requiring mechanical ability. Must be taking his last name seriously. That's all for now.


The Purdue Exponent - Sunday, February 9, 1941

WBAA Moves To New Home In Music Hall

WBAA can now call the Music Hall "home," G. D. Williams, director of the station said today. Studio facilities have been moved from the Electrical Engineering Building to the basement of the Hall of Music from whence will issue the first broadcast tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.

Three separate studios will be maintained in the new quarters. This makes it possible to conduct auditions all day in the extra studios instead of having to do them after hours, as was necessary under the old set-up. One of the three is an audience studio with a stage and seating room for 75 persons.

Transmitters and the rest of the mechanical apparatus is still housed in the Electrical Engineering Building. The new studios may be reached through the doors beneath the bridge connecting the Music Hall with the Executive Building. r.r.r.


The Purdue Exponent - Sunday, February 16, 1941

WBAA Holds Open House; Broadcast From New Offices

Yesterday marked the end of WBAA's successful reign in the EE Building and the beginning of a new era of broadcasting in the front half of the new Music Hall basement. WBAA had visiting day yesterday from eleven till four o'clock to help advertise their new location and encourage more attendance to their programs. At eleven o'clock a steady stream of interested spectators filed into the Music Hall to enjoy the broadcasts and examine the new offices.

The public was permitted to go through the modern rooms of the WBAA studio and observe how the broadcasts were carried on. They were able to watch through a sound proof window all that was going on in the controller's room and from a radio in the room listen to a program which could also be seen through the window. The broadcasting room for the public is a large, soundproof room seating approximately four hundred people.

Campus Varieties closed WBAA's visiting day program, which starred Irv Givens and his popular campus band. Walter Short, assisted by Joyce Burnham, acted as master of ceremonies.

New Show

After a few numbers by Irv Given's band, Short announced a new radio show called "Answer It or Else." Two persons were picked from the audience, a man and woman, and told to identify three tunes played by the band.

After they had recognized the tunes, they were directed to repeat the titles in the order of which they were played to form a sentence. From there each was given fifteen seconds in which to form his sentence into a short narrative. George Pecha, of Cicero, Illinois, and Elaine Louis from Chicago University, were the two persons chosen for the show.

Also on the program was Donald Brinkerhoff with a Charlie McCarthy - Edgar Bergen act, and Carolina Wood sang, as a special number, "Lover Come Back To Me." The program closed with Irv Given's band playing the tune "Rose Room." e.r.m.


Special Convo; ASCAP - BMI Still Squabbling

by Peggy Howard

It's the number one hold-out of the year (Joe DiMaggio not excepted)! It's a calamity, a catastrophe; not only that, but it keeps us from hearing "Stardust." Oh, you know what we mean, this ASCAP vs. BMI feud of the century.

We've heard vague rumors as to what it's all about, but confidentially we're a little confused--as to who's holding out on who, etc. However, we won't be in the dark very long because next Tuesday night Carleton Smith, music editor of Esquire (the ladies' favorite) and Coronet magazines, is coming to the campus to explain the whole thing.

Now, Mr. Smith is quite an authority on music, having discussed sharps and flats with such notables as Mr. Churchill, Mr. Hitler, and Mussolini, and credit must be given to Tau Kappa Alpha, WBAA, and the campus musical organizations for bringing him to the campus to give us an inside view of the situation.

The meeting at which he will speak is to be in the form of a forum and will be open to all students who are interested. The date: Tuesday, February 18; the time: 7:30; the place: Eliza Fowler Hall.

So, if you're confused and aren't even sure what it's legal to play on a "juke box," c'mon over to Fowler Hall Tuesday night. Maybe we'll all find out who's the sour note in "the great discord," who knows!


The Purdue Exponent - Wednesday, February 19, 1941

WBAA Auditions Scheduled For 5 PM In Music Hall

Auditions for the WBAA announcing staff will be held today at 5 o'clock in the studios in the Music Hall. The tryouts will be for sports announcing and general announcing. A 3.5 index is the only prerequisite, except for an interest in announcing and radio work. m.l.h.


The Purdue Exponent - Tuesday, April 1, 1941

Radio Guild

...tonight will sponsor a technical open house of the radio station's equipment in the Hall of Music.


The Purdue Exponent - Saturday, April 12, 1941

WBAA Will Broadcast Prom Preview Today On Campus Varieties

"Promcast," campus varieties show, will present an inside view of what to expect at this year's prom at the WBAA audience studio in the Music Hall this afternoon from 3 to 4 o'clock.

For one hour Larry Meyers and Betty Erick will introduce entertainers, including Woody Herman, Irv Given and his orchestra, who will take over for "Woody," and Charley Powell and Janeth Dixon, specialty singers. A typical campus couple will give the listeners a preview of prom night.

Other who will appear on the program are Bill Stewart, Ruth Bryant, and John Hobson.

Charley Powell has appeared on several previous campus varieties programs. In addition to singing he also is adept on the piano. Janeth Dixon will make her first appearance on the radio this afternoon, although she has previously sung as a star in the musical show, "Sweethearts," last spring. She will sing "Because of You" and "I Give You My Word" this afternoon and will accompany herself on the piano.

WBAA officials have announced that no one will be admitted in the audience studio later than 2:45. The entrance to the studios is through the ground floor entrance behind the Executive Building. a.c.


The Purdue Exponent - Sunday, April 13, 1941

Campus Varieties Predicts Actions At '41 Junior Prom

WBAA presented a humorous preview of what could happen at the 1941 Junior Prom yesterday afternoon from the studios in the basement of the Hall of Music. High spots of the program were enactment of the life of Prom Queen Ostrander from the time she was born until eight years in the future, the singing of "Because of You" and "I Give You My Word" by Janeth Dixon, and the interviewing of Prom-goers.


The Purdue Exponent - Friday, May 23, 1941

Stage, Stump, Studio Honors Outstanding Seniors At Banquet

At the annual State, Stump, Studio banquet held last night in Lincoln Lodge, the five seniors, as announced by Dr. Elliott, given special recognition for displaying outstanding activity and versatility over a period of four years were: in radio, Bill Fall and Joyce Burnham; in forensics, Charlotte Finney and Richard Springgair; and in dramatics, Mary Jane Carr.

Gold, silver and bronze keys were awarded to students working in WBAA, and to managers and debaters in forensics. Honor awards were given on the basis of skill and achievement put forth in dramatics.

"Don't Do It" was the title of the address given by Major C. C. Mather of Culver Military Academy. Toastmaster for the affair was Prof. A. H. Monroe. Entertainment was furnished by a celebrity quiz, handled by Bill Fall, and the awarding of razz awards to students by L. S. Windel and to the faculty by Bill Sharple. r.w.b.