Thoughts of Art Beltrone
BIRTH OF WCWP
The WCWP studio and control room were packed with students, college staff and high-ranking administrators. It was just after noon, October 18, 1961, the college lunch hour, and WCWP, located in the Language Building, was about to go on the air. The inaugural broadcast was the culmination of planning and work that began a year earlier with the founding of a radio club supported by student council funding.
Student experience levels varied. Some club members had electronic skills critical to engineer the carrier current station. Others were passionate about music, including John Leon, whose letter to Columbia Records resulted in our receiving more than 150 LPs for the WCWP music library. I was fortunate to have attended Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park and had four years experience with the school's FM educational radio station. A part-time desk assistant job in the NBC newsroom in Manhattan resulted in more experience and an introduction to "Brownie," an NBC studio engineer. Mr. Brown attended night classes at Post and helped us sort through technical issues.
The 12-minute dedication program, heralded by announcer Dennis Sullivan's proclaimation "Radio station WCWP, the voice of C.W. Post College, is on the air," launched the station on its now half-century journey to entertain and inform C. W. Post students and the community. As program director I co-moderated the broadcast with Dennis. Guests were college President Richard Conolly, Dean R. Gordon Hoxie and our advisor, Professor V. J. Lee. Steve Radoff and Ron McCarthy handled the engineering duties and Hank Neimark directed the show.
Admiral Conolly commended the "enterprise, energy and persistence of the student group who were responsible for initiating and carrying through to completion this whole program that brought into being our station." Dean Hoxie added, "In the seven years of Post College there have been many firsts and I honestly and sincerely think that this is one of the most significant firsts. To have a radio station as part of a liberal arts college is certainly a fitting and proper thing to do. It can enrich both the student activity program and the curricular program." Professor Lee invited students to participate. "We have a new facility here that is yours and we certainly hope that you take advantage of it.
And participate they did. For the last 50 years.
—Art Beltrone, Class of 1963