According to a story on WNEP, Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn College) radio station WPTC 88.1 FM in Williamsport, Pennsylvania is facing an uncertain future after the college’s mass media major is discontinued. A petition in support of the station states,
“After the Spring 2013 semester, Penn College is ending its Mass Media Communication major, and along with it, may shut down WPTC. College radio focuses on art, not dollar signs. We don’t have to worry about pleasing advertisers, or playing music that will attract the masses. We get to play the music we want you to hear. There are thousands of artists that deserve just as much air time as top dollar artists, and college radio is the platform for those people. College radio is all about the music. College radio deserves your support.”
Currently the Penn College course catalog includes several mass media communications classes that require participation in the student radio station, including “Radio Station Operation and Production,” which is dependent upon “hands-on experience at the College’s radio station.”
The WNEP article explains that Penn College is still contemplating the fate of the station,
“88.1 FM has been on the air since the late 1970’s, and without students to major in media, the college is weighing its options if the station will stay or go…It was a little more than a year ago when Penn College decided to stop offering the mass media major to students on campus. Now that remaining students are ready to complete that major next semester, it means the fate of the radio station is in jeopardy…The students aren’t going down without trying to convince the college that WPTC is worth keeping on the air…
‘If we choose not to run it anymore, we would look to sell the equipment, our FCC license, those kinds of things,’ said Elliot Strickland, Chief Student Affairs Officer at Penn College and added there wasn’t enough interest in the mass media major…”
WPTC primarily airs a mix of modern rock and jazz programming. Since 1997 the station has been known as WPTC, but used the call letters WWAS prior to that. WWAS went on the air with regular broadcasts in 1980 at 10 watts and upgraded to 100 watts in the early 1980s.
Before applying for a 10 watt FM license in 1979, the station operated as a campus-only closed circuit radio station known as WACC radio (at the time the college was known as Williamsport Area Community College).
A news release in a student newspaper from March, 1968 stated that the school was the first community college in Pennsylvania to offer courses in journalism and broadcasting.
As part of the new program, the college planned to construct “a complete radio studio on the campus located next to the college’s closed circuit television facilities.”
A course catalog from from 1969-1971 includes course listings in radio and references the college’s “radio studio and closed-circuit television system.” In the early 1970s the station was piped in to campus dorms via cables and played a mix of top 40, progressive and folk music according to reports in the student newspaper at the time.
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