Vintage WESU Photos from Wesleyan Archives

Thanks Leith Johnson, Wesleyan University Archivist for making these photos available!

We do not have dates for the following images. Do you? Email with any info you may have!

WESU, honored for 75 years of Community Radio That Matters.

WESU honored by City and State elected officials

from left: Danielle Pruitt, Rebecca Seidel, Rick Sinkiewicz, Matt Lesser, Ben Michael, Daniel Drew, Grady Faulkner, Joe Serra, and Cathy Lechowicz. Photo by David Bauer

Sunday, November 2nd, after touring an exhibit at Wesleyan’s Olin Library, elected city and state officials and university staff and faculty joined a large crowd of WESU volunteers and staff in Wesleyan’s Daniel Family Commons for an event commemorating the community radio station’s landmark 75th anniversary.  State Representatives Matt Lesser and Joe Serra presented the WESU Board of Directors with a citation, and Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew was joined by Councilmen Grady Faulkner and David Bauer to present the station with a Proclamation from the City of Middletown.

The event began with a reception featuring food donated by several area restaurants and bakeries, including Taino Smokehouse, Realto Café, Illiano’s Italian Restaurant, Krust, Tandoor, and NoRA cupcakes of Middletown as well as Patty Cakes Italian Bakery of Rocky Hill/Glastonbury, and Great Wall Chinese Restaurant of Portland.

Following the reception, Danielle Pruitt (Wesleyan ’15), president of the WESU Board of Directors, and vice president Rebecca Seidel (Wesleyan ’15) spoke about the station’s mission to reach audiences who have been marginalized by mainstream media,  and they introduced the debut screening of a new short film about the history of WESU, produced by WESU production director Abigail Shneyder. The eight-minute-81-second documentary illustrates how the station grew into a valuable community service over the last seven decades and features footage of Archibald Doty Jr., who brought radio to Wesleyan in the fall of 1939. The voice of Howard Williams (Wesleyan ’48) tells how the station almost disappeared in the wake of WWII and of the importance of media outlets like WESU that need not be commercially viable. The film also utilizes archival photos, documents, and program guides from Wesleyan University Special Collections, as well as snapshots of station staff over the years.

After the film presentation, Mayor Drew talked about the importance of independent media within the current state of media consolidation. Drew was joined by Councilmen Bauer and Faulkner in presenting the station with a Proclamation from the City commemorating Nov 2nd, 2014, as “WESU’s 75th Anniversary Day.”  That was followed by the presentation of a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly, introduced by Reps. Matt Lesser (100th District) and Joe Serra (33rd District) and Sens. Dante’ Bartolomeo (13th District) and Paul Doyle (9th District).

Before the evening’s events concluded, Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships at Wesleyan, and Ben Michael, WESU general manager, gave brief remarks about the important role WESU has played in fostering university and community engagement.  The WESU Board of Directors will be presented with a citation from the city of Middletown at tonight’s Common Council meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber of the Municipal Building.

Throughout 2014, WESU has been celebrating 75 years of Community Radio that matters with special programming, events, and exhibits. You can find related images, audio, and more online at, where you also can find a current program guide, live and archived streaming audio, and a link to make a donation to support WESU.  The exhibit “WESU: Celebrating 75 Years of Community Radio” offers an anecdotal look at one of the oldest college radio stations in the United States and is currently on display at Wesleyan’s Olin Library.

New Exhibit Celebrates 75 Years of Community Radio

WESU_75_banner_small When sophomore Arch Doty moved into room 23 of Clark Hall in September, 1939, he brought with him a radio transmitter he had built at home the previous summer. Using a turntable, 78 rpm records, a microphone, the transmitter, and an antenna wire hanging out of Arch’s window, student-run radio at Wesleyan hit the airwaves.

It was a modest start. The entire audience that tuned into the evening AM-band broadcasts was limited to Clark residents—the weak signal reached no farther than several hundred feet beyond the antenna. But the broadcasts proved to be very popular, and within weeks, students in other residences wanted to be able to tune in.

Seventy-five years later, WESU-FM reaches a potential audience of over one million listeners, and can be heard as far as Springfield, Massachusetts; Long Island, New York; Waterbury; and Norwich.

“WESU: Celebrating 75 Years of Community Radio” takes an anecdotal look at one of the oldest college radio stations in the United States. Throughout WESU’s history, there have been two constants: first, without interruption, Wesleyan students have operated the station; and second, broadcasts have been focused on new, under-represented, or non-commercial programming aimed at students and the larger community.

Most of the items in the exhibition are from the collections of Special Collections & Archives, Olin Library. University Archivist Leith Johnson is curator of the show, with research assistance provided by Ian McCarthy. Special thanks to WESU General Manager Ben Michael for advice and loans of items from WESU’s collection.

The show is on view in the exhibition area near Special Collections & Archives, 1st floor Olin Library, Wesleyan University.
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Doo Wop, Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of our Doo Wop Extravaganza!Super Girls 1The Super Girls Group rocked the house, showing that the 70+ year old Divas still had their moves and amazing voices!
the tokensJay Siegel’s Tokens entertained the crowd with their classic tunes, funny stories, and some great renditions and tributes to the music of yesteryear!

WESU 75th Anniversary Doo Wop Extravaganza with Jay Siegel’s Tokens and The Super Girl Group

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Mark your calendars for The WESU 75th Anniversary Doo Wop Extravaganza
Saturday July 12th at 8pm at the Middletown High School Performing Arts Center for a celebration of 75 years of community Radio  & 35 years of the Moondog Matinee with a fundraising concert featuring:  Jay Siegel’s Tokens, The Legendary group that recorded the mega hit song, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”!!. Plus “The Super Girls Group” featuring original members of some of the greatest female groups of Rock and Roll including:  Louise Murray of The Hearts & Jaynetts- “Lonely Nights” & “Sally Go Round The Roses”,  Lillian Walker of The Exciters- “Tell Him” & “Doo Wah Diddy”, Margaret Ross of The Cookies- “Chains” & “Dont Say Nothing Bad About My Baby, Beverly Warren of The Raindrops- “The Kind of Boy You Cant Forget” & “What a Guy”, & Nanette Licari of Reparata & The Del Rons - “Whenever A Teenager Cries” & “Tommy”

Tickets are $30
Click here to buy tickets online or call the Wesleyan Box office 860-685-3355

Discount available for groups of 10 or more



Welcome Back, Howard Williams ’48!!


(Howard Williams, pictured on left)On this episode of Welcome Back,Howard Williams of Weselyan’s class of 1948 talks about his experience with WES AM, the predecessor to WESU.

He talks about inheriting the station by chance, developing student interest and a management structure, popular programming of the day, and a surprising relationship to broadcast pioneer and CT native Franklin Malcolm Doolittle. And you won’t want to miss his epilogue, which I think is particularly poignant and moving.

There’s even a bonus track wherein Howard shares some hilarious insight on Middletown origins of  “Russia’s inferiority complex with the US.”


75 years of… Poetry!

75 yrs poetryDuring April, C.C. Arshagra, our “Spoken Mind Poet” and host of “The I Do Not Know Show”, is curating our “75 years of….” spotlighting poetry, spoken word, and lyrically dense music.
Check out the most recent episode:

Last week’s episode:

By exploring monthly themes, “75 years of…” provides a free-form cross section of programing genres that would likely have been absent fro the airwaves for the past 75 years without stations like WESU.  Currently, the program broadcasts each Wednesday at 11pm.

The “I Do not Know Show” broadcasts live on Saturday nights / Sunday at 1:30am. In the mean time you can find recent show archives and more by clicking here.


Welcome Back, Laurenellen McCann!


Photo by John Ulasek

On this week’s episode of “Welcome Back” we talk with Laurenellen McCann ’09.   Some of us remember Laurenellen as Hailey Bop, host of Dimension X, the 1950’s radio drama  revival show Laurenellen produced at WESU during her undergraduate studies at Wesleyan.

These days, Laurenellen is the executive producer of  The Good Fight with Ben Wikler, a podcast she describes as “a little bit This American Life, a little bit Colbert.” She’s also been a champion for open data and transparency-related policies during her time as the National Policy Manager at the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit organization that champions increasing government transparency.

Recently Times Magazine included Laurenellen in their  article on the 30 People Under 30 Changing the World.

Click here for a 30 minute conversation feature don this week;s episode of Welcome back with Ben Michael.