Our station has a rich history — let us tell you about it.
First off, we have a claim to fame. Throughout the first two decades of the 20th century, technicians across the United States, including professors and students at Union College, experimented with rudimentary radio broadcasts. It wasn’t until 1920 that the first commercial radio station emerged, and it happened to be ours.
The station now known as WRUC (formerly known as 2ADD) signed on for the first time at 8:00pm on October 14, 1920. Two young men hooked together five U-tubes and broadcasted 27 minutes of music. The first song played was “Tell Me Little Gypsy” by John Steel. Glen C. Mercer (class of 1916) had built the station, and William G. Craig (class of 1923) served as the station’s first announcer. The students borrowed records from H.S. Barney Company in downtown Schenectady for the first few years of broadcasting, having none of their own to play.
The original station and transmitter were located in a shack behind the Electrical Engineering building with a wire antenna strung between two nearby trees. The station was wired through a shed to an engineering classroom, to Union’s Psi Upsilon fraternity, to the present admissions office to the Campus Center.
In 1940, the station was given new call letters: WRUC, for Wireless Radio of Union College. WRUC went FM in 1975, switching to operation at 10 watts. In 1983 the station moved to 100 watts and moved its frequency from 90.9 to 89.7.
Today, WRUC is a thriving student organization with around five dozen DJs, who are just as committed to preserving the station as the thousands (yes, thousands) that have come before them.