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WCSF-FM 88.7 30th Anniversary Reflection

Thirty years ago on September 5th 1988, WCSF-FM 88.7 began broadcasting to the local community.  When I began my career at St. Francis, we were a college not a University.  I taught speech, radio and TV courses while serving as the advisor to both the Radio and TV clubs. 

It was always a dream of the radio club to secure an educational FM license so students could gain a wider audience.  It took a lot of fundraising efforts by the club, significant funding from the college and a grant from Caterpillar.  Finally, after about ten years we had enough money to furnish the facility with the necessary equipment including microphones, an audio console, turntables, cart machines, transmitter and an antenna. 

When we tested the equipment prior to our grand opening, I played the Beatles Sergeant Pepper album and had four students drive in different directions to learn how far our signal was able to transmit.  I was shocked when they told me that our radio signal could be heard as far north as Brookfield Zoo, south to Braidwood, east to Frankfort and west to Morris.  Our small 100 watt station covered a greater area than Joliet’s local AM commercial station

Early in morning on September 5th, students started our first licensed broadcast of alternative rock music and news.  Later in the day, they did a remote broadcast of the college’s first football game of the year from Kentucky.  All in all, the students and our listeners were ecstatic.  Our dreams of an educational FM radio station came true!

Thirty years later, WCSF continues to serve the local Joliet area with news, public affairs, sports and entertainment.  And, WCSFstreamon.FM has listeners from across the country, in Europe, Japan and South America. 

Certainly, the technology has changed but our current WCSF club members have maintained enthusiasm and creativity with a strong sense of community service.  On September 22nd, right after the homecoming football game, everyone is invited to come to the main campus and participate in our 30th anniversary of WCSF-FM 88.7.  The festivities will begin at the radio station located on the 4th floor of Tower Hall from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  

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