1- This photo collage (above) was on the door to the music office for my tenure as music director. The photo was taken of me when Dan Ruccia (outgoing music director) and I were starting to really unpack and decorate (rehanging some old posters from [WPRB’s old studios in] Holder [Hall] and hanging some new ones, along with junk CDs and other summer staff/intern coloring book doodles among other things that made it the cavern of greatness that it is today). Bloomberg Hall (then known simply as “The Ellipse”) was made into a home over the course of one semester and one summer …..Where the moose collage element came from continues to mystify me!
Pictured: WPRB’s trophy wax Naughty by Nature 12″s
With thanks to WPRB History’s newest digital archivist Joan Hsiao, we present two recently digitized drop-ins from the station’s storied era of Thursday night hip-hop shows (The Raw Deal, Vibes & Vapors, Club Krush, etc.)
First up, this drop from Jeru the Damaja from the Vibes & Vapors era.
And then from the Raw Deal, we present Treach from Naughty by Nature.
And finally, just because it’s an easy excuse to post a great song, here’s the late, great Tony D, who was a contributor to all of the above mentioned shows, as well as a WPRB DJ in his own right. “Check the Elevation” is a critical slice of local hip-hop history.
Text: Marc Fisher ’80 | Photo: Rob Schuman ’74
The Magic of Radio was a late-night, sometimes all-night, program that aired once a week from about 1977 to 1980. It was a mix of music, juvenile nonsense, brilliant satire and pathetically bad taste.
We tried to stay as close to the legal and moral edge as possible. We had a weatherman with a speech impediment that rendered him entirely incomprehensible. We had a substitute weatherman who was sentenced to stand at an (imaginary) outdoor phone booth in Kingston whenever there was significant snow or, his personal favorite, freezing rain. We had a sports reporter who never once made it on the air; he always seemed to be delayed at a bar across the street. The news was read by Gus Gil, whose booming voice made the acts of a New Jersey state magistrate seem like the coming of the Lord.
[embeddoc url=”http://www.wprbhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Part1_TheEarlyDays.pptx” viewer=”microsoft”]
Rob Schuman ’74 sifted through The Daily Princetonian‘s extensive archive, looking at all 8,000 unique mentions of WPRB. He’s compiled the most interesting into a series of slideshows. This post documents WPRB’s early years. Beware those kilocycle gremlins.
It’s time for WPRB’s annual fund drive, running now through October 18. If you’ve enjoyed reading/seeing/hearing about all the amazing things that have happened at WPRB over the past 75 years, please help us keep the station going for the next 75. Make your pledge now!
In case you need any more convincing, here is a note from our current station manager:
Dear Members and Listeners,
This is the big one. 75 years of unique, challenging radio. 75 years of weird. 75 years of the best radio station in New Jersey. 75 years of WPRB.
Every year we ask you, our devoted listeners, to help us keep the lights on by donating during our Fall Membership Drive. And well, you’ve done much more than that. Thanks to your help, WPRB lives on as an independent radio station, giving our DJs the artistic freedom to create the programs they want to present to the masses. That’s right, we’re independent. Although we are housed at Princeton University, we are independently owned and operated and do not receive financial assistance from them.
That’s why our Fall Membership Drive is so important: it’s how we keep the station going. Last year, you helped us exceed our goal of $50,000. You proved that you think that WPRB is something special, and with this enormous support we’ve been able to deliver even higher quality radio to you.
But this year the stakes are even higher. To commemorate our 75th Anniversary, we’ve set an especially ambitious goal of raising $75,000 during this year’s Membership Drive. For 75 years, WPRB has served as New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s safe haven from the monotonous, corporate radio found on the rest of the dial. We want to celebrate this legacy by forcefully pushing into the next 75 years of WPRB’s history. With your help, we can continue to grow as an independent radio station of the 21st century by expanding our online capabilities to be able to engage even more with our devoted listeners. Exciting things are ahead at WPRB.
From October 11th at 7pm to October 18th at 10pm, we need your love more than ever. Join us in celebrating WPRB’s past and future 75 years.
WPRB Princeton 103.3 FM
Years on air:
Favorite bands/musicians: David Bromberg, Leftover Salmon, Railroad Earth, Beppe Gambetta, Dan Bern, Tedeschi-Trucks Band, Randy Newman. Lacy J. Dalton, Chuck Brodsky, Bruce Hornsby.
Memorable on-air moment: When I started and had an early morning show, a woman called in and said, “Young man, do you realize you are in Princeton, New Jersey? This is not Nashville.”
Advice for current WPRB DJs: From time to time while you are alone (and preferably driving), listen to a recording of your show and make sure nothing about it annoys you and makes you think about switching the station.
[Words: Mike Appelstein. Photos: Rob Schuman]
In the summer of 1986, I was a student at Rutgers University and a DJ at the campus radio station, WRSU-FM. I had grown up in the area, and listened to both WRSU and WPRB as a teenager. In those days before the Internet and streaming audio, you had to seek out cultural avenues by yourself, and I was very fortunate to have resources like these to light the way.
I’d heard my friends Gene and Bryan, both Rutgers students and WRSU DJs, on WPRB as well. One day I asked Bryan how he managed to get on WPRB. I assumed you had to be a Princeton student to qualify for airtime. “Call Ken Katkin,” he suggested.
Years on air: 2004-2006
Favorite bands: Joy Division, Andrew Bird, Cat Power, Devendra Banhart, T. Rex, Caribou.
Memorable on-air moment: Receiving a request for “Fistful of Love” by Antony and the Johnsons from a federal prisoner.
Advice for current WPRB DJs: Don’t be afraid to mix genres–some of my favorite playlists were the ones that had songs that didn’t seem to go together at all but somehow worked. You don’t always have to have a premeditated theme. And sometimes it’s okay to go mainstream. (I got a lot of flack for listening to Franz Ferdinand but I have no regrets.)
[By Stephanie Obodda. Photo by Dr. Cosmo.]
I have a lot of WPRB memories, but the most important is my first. When I got to Princeton in 1998, the social life seemed so homogeneous and it didn’t take me long to realize I wouldn’t fit in with the [University’s] eating club scene. I was already resigned to spend the next four years in my dorm room listening to music alone when fellow freshman Alex Wood and I decided to check out the radio station. The first time I walked into the tech shop and Phil Taylor handed me a soldering iron, I knew I’d found my happy place!
Even pulling a 2am shift, you were never alone in the studio. You were in the company of hundreds of former DJs who’d left their handwritten reviews on record and CD covers.
Pictured below, by Stephanie’s request, WPRB’s copy of Einstürzende Neubauten’s “Silence is Sexy”—a favorite of her era. (Hilariously tagged as “German R&B” by former WPRB DJ and Treblequake host, Brian Farmer.)