Norwich radio station WNUB will celebrate 50 years on air this December

Students do a show at Norwich’s radio station WNUB, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this December.                                                                                                      Evan Bowley Photo

WNUB has clearly been able to stand the test of time as Dec. 8, 2017, marks its 50th anniversary at Norwich University. A celebration of its 50 years will take place on the 8th in the Mill located in the Wise Campus Center.

Professor Doug Smith has been the manager of the station since 1999, and teaches classes that teach students the fundamentals of running a radio station, as well as how to run their own show.

“The experience is really good for them in terms of understanding how radio stations and radio broadcasting really works,” said Smith.

While the station itself is located on the second floor of the communications building, the signal actually broadcasts from an antenna atop Jackman Hall. The station features three studios: One is for on air entertainment, and the other two are used for production and editing.

WNUB was founded in 1967 by a group of engineering students. Up until the classes to teach broadcasting techniques were offered, the station was entirely student run as a club.

Smith is organizing the anniversary event.

“We’re having a big celebration in the Mill on Dec. 8th, counting down the top songs from the past 50 years, along with contests, prizes and giveaways,” said Smith.

In the evenings on Sundays through Thursdays, students run their own two hour shows live on air. Most of the students are enrolled in Smith’s class, but not all.

“We have last year’s students who enjoyed being on air so much that they came back this year,” Smith said.

Connor Guzda, a 20-year-old from New Fairfield, Conn. is among the few who returned to the station.

“I enjoy everything about having my own show. I love having two hours to play my music and relax in the studio. It’s one of the things I look forward to every week,” said Guzda. Guzda also spoke about the learning opportunities he has received through his time at the station.

“We have to find ways to advertise our show, having different contests and promos makes it really fun because you have more listeners,” Guzda said. “Having your own show, you really learn to cater to your audience. I try to give what they want.”

Jasmine Bowman, a 21-year-old senior communications major, from District Heights, MD., also spoke about the hands on learning she received from the station.

“I learned how to use the control board, how to correctly talk on a mic. We went on field trips and learned from professionals in the business,” said Bowman.

Students can talk about almost any topic they want to on air. They are encouraged by Prof. Smith, however, to stay away from controversial conversations.

Kanisha Gonzalez, a 19-year-old sophomore communications major from Camden, N.J., has guest-starred on the student led shows on air. She says “it’s a good way to entertain” students and helps build people skills and confidence and said being on air is valuable.

“I think it teaches you how to think before you speak. It makes you more personable,” Gonzalez said. “You learn how to bring up discussions, and what types of discussions work on air. You also can see what kind of music attracts people.”

Jim Black, the administrative assistant of the college of communications, has been heavily involved with the radio station since his show he ran last year, “The Weekly Wick.”

“These shows provide more than just training in the radio environment, they train confidence in the ability of not being afraid of talking. It’s a lot different when you’re on the air waves and there can be thousands of people listen to you,” Black said.

Black is also involved with the celebration leading up to the date of the 50th anniversary. Black said that every day up until the date, the station is airing minute-long snippets of history and trivia and music on WNUB.

Black said that aside from providing service to students through learning, the station also provides service to the community.

“We can do a lot of things, from voice tracking, promos, advertisements. We also have Colby Symposium speakers come on air. People can have their stories heard on the radio,” Black said.

Voice tracking refers to prerecorded segments that anyone with a show has to do weekly. It gives the illusion of a live DJ in the studio.

“We put on the air Northfield news and sports, weather forecasts, and PSA’s. We get the word out about non-profit and community organizations,” Smith said. The station also alerts the community of dangerous weather and AMBER alerts.

“During tropical storm Irene in 2011, we had many alerts on air. Anything that happens in Washington or Orange county we get an alert for,” Smith said. He noted that the historic storm was a big day and night of notifications of dangerous weather conditions and emergencies for Northfield and Norwich University.

Black added some thoughts on all the recent developments and technological changes that had occurred at the station as it approaches its upcoming anniversary in December.

“We’ve been using Radio FX. You can download it to your phone and hear WNUB streaming live. Radio FX is going to hopefully help modernize WNUB. WNUB wants interconnectivity and user engagement,” Black said.

Smith has been promoting the streaming of WNUB and its merits in the digital age.

“We also have the livestream that can reach anyone with a device and Internet connection. We occasionally had stream evidence from China, Iceland, and other places,” Smith said in regards to the global outreach the station has today.

Black spoke about how important the station is to not only the curriculum, but to the institution as well. When the station was student run, it had around-the-clock student participation and students in charge of the maintenance. He’d like to see that return.

“We need a 24/7 faculty member there all time. I think Professor Smith should be full-time to give the radio station the love it needs. WNUB is one of the best things we have, and it needs all the love it can get,” Black said.

As a communication major himself, Black also has taken other classes in the department, and said that his experience on the radio differed vastly from anything else he has done in the field.

“I believe it’s on a different spectrum than all the other medias. Radio, to me, is more organic. I think it’s something everyone should try at least once in their life, to be on air. There’s something so special and organic about when you’re with other talents and other people,” Black said.

WNUB’s 50th celebration will be Friday Dec. 8, at the Mill with a reception, prizes and live broadcast from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


  1. Maria Flaherty says:

    Congratulations WNUB!!

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