Dartmouth College. WDCR (Radio Station: Hanover, NH)
The opening program of the Dartmouth Broadcasting System (DBS) took place on October 27, 1941. Two years previous, President Ernest M. Hopkins had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Professor Stearns Morse to survey student, faculty,and alumni interest in radio. In January, 1941, this committee evolved into the Dartmouth College Radio Council and was given the task of bringing radio to the College. In April, the Council proposed a loan that would fund the establishment of DBS as an independent student organization, with the goals of providing a medium in which various campus groups could come together, offering programs in line with the educational aims of the College, and allowing students experience in the production and technical aspects of radio. Upon its licensing by the Council, DBS became the first campus radio station in the country to have the official support of its college administration. The establishment of a College radio station required the construction of a soundproof studio in Robinson Hall and the creation of a “controlled wire broadcasting” system which operated on a frequency limited to the campus, meaning it was not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The station would be student-run and provide diverse programming, including live and recorded music, dramatics, news, sports, and educational offerings. The station experienced a three-year wartime hiatus between 1943 and 1946. In 1948, the station became part of the Ivy Network, a business arrangement to encourage advertsing through radio stations at Ivy League colleges. DBS became WDBS in 1949, and in the summer of 1957, the station changed its name from WDBS to WDCR in preparation for an even greater transformation. The station was granted FCC approval in 1958 to graduate from a closed-circuit system to a 250-watt commercial broadcasting system, making it the first college student-run station in the country to operate on a standard A.M. frequency. A new radio tower was built in Chase Field to support the switch. In 1975, a new studio was constructed to house an FM radio station, and in 1976, WFRD, 99.3 FM, went on the air as one of the few student-run commercial FM stations in the country. It had a broadcast range of up to 80 miles. In 1985, WFRD made the decision to offer primarily rock music, moving classical and other genres to WDCR, the AM station. Shortly thereafter, it adopted the new moniker 99 Rock. In 1995, plans to change from analog to digitial technology were put in place. In 2002, another programming change occurred when 99 Rock switched from classical to modern rock offerings, the older music moved once more to WDCR.