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.

Tim Brown shares WEHR memories

I joined the staff at WEHR as a freshman in 1974. We were just a hole in the wall in Johnston Commons with a wall of just a few hundred vinyl albums. We had two turn tables and a very small, sound mixing board.  I remember Russ, the engineer, maintaining transmitters in several of the East Hall dorms and using the wiring of the building to “broadcast” the station. And it was carried over the PA speakers in the halls of Johnston. 

 Carol was the president for at least a portion of my time there. Jim had a really good voice and I hope he went on to do professional broadcasting. Even though we have not stayed in touch, I remember the gang at WEHR very fondly. My thing as a DJ was basic Top 40. For some period, I had the first show of the day about 7am. I loved using Chicago’s Colour My World and America’s Miniature (Tin Man) as the first song of the day with a voice over of the intros: “This is WEHR Radio 1600. Broadcasting live from East Halls on the Penn State campus, and this is . . .” 

Honestly, I don’t if anyone ever heard me as I said that! After having grown up with a speech impediment, I used this opportunity to learn to speak much more clearly. Since then I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking and I believe that being a DJ at WEHR played key role in developing my public speaking skills. 

As a side benefit, being a DJ also helped me impress the girl who would eventually become my wife. I was disappointed to learn that WEHR no longer exists.

See Me, See Me

Steven Weisberg, Class of 1972, shares a photo and a story:

I wish I had, or more accurately, wish my parents had, more space to save my WDFM college era stuff but one of the surviving photos I found from December 1968 shows me in a “See-Me- See-Me” WDFM Exhibitionist Team T-Shirt that we sported on campus. 

I can’t remember the day or time, but sometime in the fall of 1968 after Richard Nixon was elected President and the world was going to hell in a handbag back then, there was a story in the Collegian about a young co-ed encountering a man on campus who exposed himself while proclaiming “See-Me; See-Me”. Of course, it caught more attention with the rock jocks of the station than it did with the girl on campus and we memorialized that main event of the Fall Term with a limited edition T-Shirt. It’s not altogether impossible to think that our relentless recounting and satirical take offs then ricocheted across the Atlantic to the Mother Country and inspired Pete Townshend to write “See Me Feel Me” while creating “Tommy”. One can never quite tell the reach and consequence a 1,000 watt FMer might have on a clear night when radio waves bounce to unexpected heights and distances.

In the picture, I’m behind my best friend Warren Rosen in my home in Northeast Philadelphia. Ironically, though he got SAT scores over 1300 and was admitted to PSU before graduating the 11th grade, Warren was quarantined at the Ogontz Campus because he declared himself a Liberal Arts Major, while I found my way to University Park as a declared Theater Major with SAT’s that barely broke 800. In hindsight, I suppose that artists’ get a break on the I.Q. bell curve since they’re willing to do Theatrical behind the scenes grunt work as educational sweat equity.