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WTPC-FM is the radio station at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.

It began in the early 1960's as an AM Carrier Current station. AM carrier current, means the station transmits over the electrical lines of the College Campus, and was received on the AM band. As to whether you had to be plugged in to receive the station, we're not sure, but we have heard stories of people in the 1960's opening the door to their dorm refrigerator and hearing the station emanate from the light bulb! Perhaps mythology, we're not sure.

In the late 1960's, the station applied for a license to broadcast in what was then called the "educational band" of the FM frequency. They received their license to broadcast at a frequency of 89.7Mhz.

Through the generosity of an alumnus and trustee of the school, Richard B. Tullis of Cleveland, Ohio, the station was supplied with equipment that would have been the envy of many professional stations.

During this entire time, the station was entirely a student run activity, with barely any oversight by the College. In retrospect, it is surprising how well the students took care of the legalities of operating the station. Not to mention the maintenance and installation of equipment.

In fact, the one constant through these years was Richard Tullis himself. Each time there was a trustee meeting, he would ask to meet with the station management to get a report on how things were going.

It was in these meetings where the students running the station would make a case for any new equipment the station might need; and if their case was good one, Mr. Tullis would donate the funds necessary to purchase the equipment. It should be noted that the station operated on a shoestring budget at best, since it was entirely an extracurricular activity at the time.

It should be mentioned that Richard Tullis was Chairman of Harris Corporation, whose Gates Radio Division (as it was then called) manufactured some of the highest quality broadcast equipment in the world. It's safe to say, that those whose later careers were so indelibly influenced by their experiences at WTPC, owe a huge debt of gratitude to Richard Tullis.

 


At the start of the school year in the Fall of 1972, the station wasn’t that respected an activity on campus, with about 8 to 15 dedicated participants.

Telling someone you were involved with the station usually brought about snickers and laughter. The station wasn’t that well listened to, mostly because it was a free for all format where each person that had a show played their own favorite music. Which of course meant there wasn’t any consistent sound to the station at all. This was about to change in the next year or so.

In 1973, the station embarked upon an expansion of the studios. Again, with the generosity of Richard Tullis, the station replaced the main studio equipment led by a new Executive console from the then Gates Radio division of Harris Corporation. With the supervision of some Tech Reps from Gates, Principia Students installed all of the new equipment, and built a new production studio, re-purposing the previous main studio equipment.

With the new studios, the station enjoyed a new commitment to professionalism, along with an influx of Freshman in the Fall of 1973 with an avid interest in working at the station.

In the Spring of 1974.... Well, this story will continue in a few days.... In the ,mean time, enjoy the rest of wtpcfm.com!

 


In the Fall of '74, the station embarked on a campaign to convince the station personnel that the station needed a consistant sound, and this could come about through implementing a global format to all of the shows. This obviously would ensure that all of the shows would at sound "similar."

This story will be detailed more later....

If you'd like to see the format clock used by the station, click here: