Nifty, nifty—KWSC 91.9 The Cat is almost 50

47 years ago, Wayne State College got its own radio station

Brianna Parsons, Staff Writer

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“Your Music Authority, 91.9, The Cat” has been Wayne State’s radio station’s slogan for years. Now approaching its 47th anniversary, the station continues to pump out music and news for WSC students and Wayne residents 24 hours per day.

“Years ago, in the middle of the 20th century, the AM station was at Wayne State College,” Radio Station Advisor Michael Marek said. “In the 1960’s, the Federal Communications Commission allowed a new category of low powered FM stations designed for schools and colleges to serve a limited geographic area.”

The conversion to FM was a gradual process. At first, the station lacked the power and capabilities to be on air more than a few hours per day.

“In October of 1971, it was the first time Wayne State went on air,” Marek said. “It was a progression, development. There was a history of the station.When KWSC first went on the air, it was one of those ten watt stations and soon increased power, it only went on for a few hours of the day, from 6 to 10 p.m. It then extended the time to midnight, and now the station is on 24 hours during the school year.”

Along with developing the capability to operate for longer time periods, the station also had to adjust to broader changes in the music industry.

“When the station was new, it was not stereo, it was monaural. Within a few years it became stereo,” Marek said. “The biggest change is how we played music, in the 70s, 80s and 90s, we played records. The industry changed, and commercial stations were operating automation systems, the program radio station went full time, playing music and public service announcements.”

Although, the KWSC call letters remain from the transition to FM broadcasting, the station has had different names throughout its history.

“Every radio station has assigned call letters that the Federal Communication Commission assigns, ours is KWSC FM, but we used different names over the years,” Marek said. “It was K92 when I first came here in 2004 and our frequency is 91.9.”

During Marek’s first year as advisor, he and the students made some changes to the station.

“The students felt that the name was getting dated, so the students did their own synergizing and brainstorming ideas,” Marek said. “They came up with our current name which is ‘Your Music Authority, 91.9, the Cat.’ The cat is of course a reference to the Wildcats, our sports team and our mascot as WSC.”

With the new title of the station formed, students would deliver a variety of information.

“Most often, in a broad sense, we talked about recreation, activities, academics and opportunities for learning; majority of the things that are talked about are important to students, so we can help them understand and the information changes year by year,” Marek said.

Changing the name was not Marek’s only concern when he took over as the radio advisor; he also oversaw changes in the content produced and aired by students as well as upgrading the station’s equipment in order for the program to stay relevant for student’s pursuing professional careers in radio broadcasting.

“Certainly, we want the station to do a good job of serving the public,” Marek said. “With our mass communications enrollment, we want to see it continue to grow because as our enrollment grows, we have more people working in all three of our student media. That provides more opportunities to do cool stuff [in the work field].”

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