By Bandon Brown
WYSU, Youngstown State University’s public radio broadcast station, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The radio station first went over the airwaves on Oct. 23, 1969, at 88.5 MHz and has been broadcasting ever since.
David Luscher, associate director of WYSU, spoke about the work and dedication the station has seen over its 50 years.
“You feel a connection here,” Luscher said. “I can’t tell you how many people, even after they have retired or quit and gone on to another job, have still remained active within WYSU. It’s just something that I think, at the heart of it, we all believe strongly in.”
The station initially broadcasted from the Valley Park Motel on Wick Avenue and now broadcasts from Melnick Hall on YSU’s campus.
WYSU has been a National Public Radio station since its inception, being one of the first radio stations to partner with NPR. It provides the Mahoning Valley with content for its committed group of listeners.
Over the years, WYSU has expanded its broadcast hours, provided live coverage for campus events and expanded its communication capabilities to reach more people.
Ed Goist, station coordinator at WYSU, has always been familiar with YSU and WYSU and has continued to see the station change through the years.
“I think in the future we will continue to see changing technologies at the station,” Goist said. “We’ve seen so much technology change, and I like to think WYSU stays on top of what is current in the industry because our students and staff deserve it.”
The stations programming currently consists of classical music and NPR news. WYSU also broadcasts jazz music on the weekends. There are around five on-air talent personalities at WYSU.
According to Luscher, local partnerships increase listener interest.
The station partners with local news businesses, such as The Business Journal, Ohio Public Radio and The Vindicator while it was still in production.
“Forging partnerships gives the station a voice for things happening in the region,” Luscher said.
According to Luscher, the on quality content it distributes is part of the reason the station receives over $250,000 in donations each year.
Having an operating radio station on YSU’s campus for 50 years also gives students the opportunity to learn real, on-the-job skills for a career in radio.
Walter Allen, student employee, board operator and junior telecommunications, sports broadcasting track major, said the experience he gains working at WYSU is something not many schools have.
“It’s an outlet for students that want to be a part of an actual 24-hour radio station that operates and thrives in the area, which is so cool.” Allen said.
Goist said student employees are a critical part of WYSU’s success.
“They not only do office work but are involved in production and serve as weekend radio board operators,” Goist siad. “It provides good work experience and acts as a training ground if the student wants to continue with a career in radio.”
As WYSU celebrates 50 years on campus, the station is looking forward to the next 50 years.
WYSU will be celebrating with events such as “An Evening with NPR’s Korva Coleman” at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. and “50th Anniversaries: WYSU-FM, The Moonwalk and The Ward Beecher Planetarium” at Ward Beecher Planetarium Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.
For more information on these events visit WYSU.org.