A quick wiki count of all the radio stations in the USA that broadcast at eighty-eight point one FM, and you’ll come up with nearly three hundred. No doubt it’s a diverse bunch. Some are religious, some broadcast from inside native American reservations and some are college radio stations.
Recently, it was my great pleasure to visit MIT’s, 88.1, WMBR. Originally, there was an AM station, WMIT, broadcasting within the footprint of the campus way back in 1946. WMIT was replaced by, WTBS (Technology Broadcasting System) in April of 1961. Then, in the late 1970s, the station was approached by media mogul Ted Turner. You see Ted wanted to call his new TV station, the Turner Broadcasting System. Long story short, after some negotiations, since you can’t sell call letters, donations were made which went right into some greatly needed upgrades. Thus, “Walker Memorial Basement Radio” was born. Said basement has three studios, AND contains, what has to be, one of the largest music libraries in all of college radio, with more than 100,000 LPs and a similar number of CDs in their library! But, it hasn’t just been prerecorded material going out of the air waves all the time. For many years the station has opened its doors to hundreds of bands for live broadcasts. In fact, WMBR’s show, Pipeline! is celebrating 25 years of live & local rock music programming with a series of 13 shows, featuring 80 acts in all, in 5 different venues over the course of 5 weekends, Sept. 12th through Oct. 12th, 2016.
Cheers to WMBR and to the General Manager, Jon Beaulieu. It was great to hang out for a bit & talk college radio.