Indiana Daily Student

WFIU clears half-century mark

Sept. 30, 1950 marked a special occasion for the Bloomington campus. It was the birth of a radio station, WFIU 103.7 FM. During October, the station will promote several special events to celebrate its 50th anniversary.\nWFIU is located in the Radio/TV Building on campus and broadcasts 24 hours a day. The station employs about 25 students and broadcasts everything from classical music and jazz to news and public affairs programming. \nStation manager Christina Kuzmych said the station wants to keep listeners in touch with significant issues in society as well as provide music from a wide variety of sources. \n"It is the station's mission to serve the public of Indiana with a broadcast service that is educational and informative," she said. \nOne of its most popular programs, she said, is "A Moment of Science," which is a "two-minute science module" broadcast on about 70 stations around the country and also reaches internationally. Another is "Harmonia," which is now syndicated to over 140 stations and whose segment "Women's Voices, Yesterday and Today" reaches over sixty stations nationally.\n"(NPR-affiliation) allows us to be creative and produce programs that are truly informative and appealing to the listeners who want to learn about daily news and culture through their radios," she said. \nBut being a public station also has its disadvantages, Kuzmych said. \n"Funding the operation is the biggest challenge," she said. "Since we don't sell spots the way commercial radio does, we have to rely on other sources of funding, such as listener donations, federal funds and Indiana University."\nIn honor of its anniversary, the workers behind WFIU's monthly edition of "Directions in Sound" created a booklet of history and memorabilia. Since there is too much information to share with readers, a special 50th anniversary section will be included in each following issue. \nThe October issue features the special history of the station as well as stories and memories from those involved with WFIU in the past. \nBill Kroll, former WFIU General Manager, said in the edition, "In the past 50 years, WFIU has built a reputation as a public radio station absolutely second to none ..." \nAlso included was a reminiscence of John Harrell, WFIU chief announcer in the fifties. He said he remembers the bare-boned establishment the radio station used to be. \nHe recollects the "attempt to soundproof the room by nailing sheets of rock-wool insulation to the walls."\nWFIU has come a long way from its beginning in 1950. The station reaches an average of about 40,000 listeners weekly. Together with the distribution capabilities of national syndication, and its presence on the world wide web, WFIU's listeners potentially number in the millions.\nThe station celebrated its 50th anniversary with Jazz Extravaganza, Tuesday. Michael Bourne, a contributor to Jazz Times and a former jazz announcer for WFIU, joined Joe Bourne and Dick Bishop as master of ceremonies. Some of Bloomington's best jazz musicians took part in the event, such as David Baker, John Huber, Amy Stephens, Dominic Spera and many others.\nFinally, Saint Paul Sunday was presented at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., Sunday.\nIt involved well-known tenor Alan Bennett and pianist Gabriel Dobner performing some classical numbers as well as performances from cellist Janos Starker and pianist Shigeo Neriki. \nOther than these events to kick-off the anniversary celebration, Kuzmych said there will be much more to come.

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