Thomas Doorley’s WDFM memories

Thomas Doorley shares his WDFM memories:

As a freshman and sophomore in 1962-64 I was a DJ, newscaster, sportscaster, and generally jack-of-most trades at WDFM. I enjoyed it. My music was jazz, rock and folk.

I arrived on campus as an engineering major but with a career in broadcasting as a preferred choice. In high school I was the sportscaster for the morning announcement broadcasts. I had a TV (black and while) in my room at home and I’d turn off the sound and call the play X play for football and baseball games. Loved it! Once at Penn State I jumped at the chance to join WDFM. Since we had to be our own ‘control room” I got my FCC engineers’ license and I was good to go.

WDFM seemed very professional to me. Having access to an extensive library of albums was a surprise and a thrill. What a delight, to prowl through those albums! My first gig was as a DJ. I then I picked up newscasting and did time as Penn State’s baseball one man team. Live from Beaver Field! The big deal about doing the evening news was that the 9PM news was simulcast on the AM station, WMAJ. Now that was big time, reaching all of Centre County!

(My sister was a Penn State grad working in New York City in advertising, and she created a band for me should I continue on as a newscaster. Rather than being simply Tom Doorley, she suggested the more elegant…”Tonight from New York the nightly news with T. Lawerence Doorley!” It sounded good to me.)

I felt honored to have the trust of the leaders of WDFM to handle the entire production on my own. The only sharp comment I ever got was to “tone down” some of my music during drive time. The preferred jazz at the time was Sinatra, not the more up-tempo or “out there” folks like Miles Davis. They were probably right. But I still managed to slip a bit of Ramsey Lewis and Ahmad Jamal into the mix. In retrospect this was a leadership experience that has helped shape my life and career.

After two full and exciting years at WDFM I was offered the role as night manager. I pondered it and realized that the time it would take away for my studies and my income-generating activity was just too much. I came to the realization that I was not likely to pursue broadcasting as my career. And, while that has turned out to be true, I have continued to keep my hand in the skills I developed at WDFM. I’ve appeared on radio and TV talking about my books and delivering insights about strategy and governance. Because of WDFM I am confident. I know what’s going on and how to handle the camera and microphone.

Thank you, WDFM.

Penn State places ‘Student Broadcasting’ Historical Marker on campus

August 2017—Office of Physical Plant employees Vince Benner, left, and Jim Simpson erected a new Penn State Historical Marker outside Sparks Building on the morning of August 7. The new marker celebrates Penn State’s rich history in college radio and student-driven broadcasting. —Penn State- Flickr

Chris Buchignani visited the day after installation and captured these shots:

Mark Wharton shares WDFM memories and photos

“I found the attached pictures of WDFM from 1971 while going through boxes in the office. I was a student in Electrical Engineering at Penn State from 1967–1971 and Chief Engineer of WDFM from 1970–1971. At that time our faculty manager was Dr. Harold Nelson, the station’s General Manager was another EE student, Paul Heimbach, and the Program Director was Joan Kalejta. Paul and Joanie, as she liked to be called, married after graduation. The photos are of the studio in 304 Sparks Building and the transmitter site near Beaver Stadium where we shared a building with WMAJ AM and FM. Some of the students involved with the station are identified on the photo titles and three aren’t because their names escape me. Perhaps if you post these pictures, someone else will remember.”

— Mark J Wharton, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Electrical Engineering, Penn State

Roger Silverberg reminisces

Roger Silverberg, Class of 1974, reminisces:

One of my lasting memories from my 4 year tenure at WDFM was one wee hours air shift when, alone in the studio, I put on one of those go-to sides that were nice to have at the ready for when nature called. About 17 minutes was good enough. In fact it was probably enough time to make the mad dash from the third floor of Sparks Building to dash down the mall to the NCD for a cup of coffee. I did that once and saw that, upon my return, the record was skipping. I promptly cued up another track, and settled in. I know that there are at least a few peeps tuning in at 3:30 in the morning. One of those peeps was the Station Manager, Pat Richards. I had the cans on when Pat appeared from behind, scaring the crap out of me. Apparently he got down to the studio in the time I was gone but laid in wait for me to return. I swear, I don’t think Pat ever slept.