That other radio station

So, I used to be a dee-jay.
Not a club “DJ” but a radio “jock:”  cueing up records (yes, vinyl) and playing “carts.”

I first got on the air at WBFH, 88.1 FM, Lahser and Andover High School’s jointly run student radio station in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I loved it.
WBFH Logo

Dominic Cianciolo and I took a radio broadcasting class together back in the fall of 1985 at Lahser High School, and we were trained to be on-air talent for BFH. I only got to do three shows on the station before moving to Connecticut that January, but I had “the itch.”

I spent the next two and a half years pleading with the administration of Wilton High School to add a radio station to the campus. Unsuccessful in my lobbying efforts, I turned to the school newspaper (The Forum) where I still managed to make some noise:

Finally, I got to the University of Pennsylvania and was able to return to radio. WQHS, 730 AM, was the school’s student run radio station.  It was broadcast over “carrier current.” This means that the station transmitted through the electrical wiring of the buildings, as opposed to through the airways: not ideal, but in every other aspect it was the same as any other radio station.

I went through my training and landed a 2-hour, weekly show. I was finally back “on-air.” As a WQHS dee-jay, I played all the great alternative music of the late 80’s, early 90’s. If it was in John Hughes film or on New York’s WLIR – I was playing it.

When I wasn’t doing my show, I’d go into the studio and make mix tapes or expore the vast collection of records. In fact, when my wife and I met, one of our first dates included a tour of the station and sitting in the production booth listening to the latest tracks from Faith No More, Depeche Mode, and I wanna say …. The Flaming Lips (?).

Once a week, I’d intern at WXPN. WXPN was located in the same building as WQHS, but they were an FM station which broadcast through more traditional means: over the airwaves. XPN was once the student radio station but, well, let’s just say something went wrong. The details aren’t important here, but it was a privilage to be able to work at XPN, and I was happy to help out screening calls for XPN’s shows or cataloging the music library.

In 1992, I graduated from Penn as the station’s production director (oooh, ahhh), went to graduate school at Rutgers, and put my radio days behind me. * sigh *

Lately, I’ve reconnected with Dominic. I’ve also been fooling around with some podcasts, and I listen to a lot of online radio. And I find myself thinking more and more of my time on the radio.

I’d visited the WQHS site a couple of times since I’d graduated and often listened to the station’s internet streams, but for the last 15 years I haven’t been very active in any formal alumni group for the station. Yes, I was on a mailing list; I sent some money; I responded to the occasional email from the station over the last fifteen years… but it’d been a while now since I’ve heard from anyone at WQHS.

But, like I said, I’ve got that itch to get involved again.

So, I’ve been asking around:  I’ve found some fellow WQHS alums through LinkedIn, and I’ve reached out to the station. My goal is to become a more active alumnus of the station: maybe set up a web site here at thatotherpage.com or help the current student leaders of the station reconnect with alumni.

My progress in this venture is sure to be the subject of future blog posts. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is an alum of the station – please let me know.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1992

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