Friday, January 4, 2008

WCVT [89.7FM TOWSON] WILL NEVER DIE.

WCVT [89.7FM TOWSON] WILL NEVER DIE.

...not as long as I keep reposting my tape rip. I see that the download links for the tape rip are still active, so might as well bring this one back. Especially after chatting with Skizz, PJ Dorsey and Stacy Meyn as a result of my original WCVT post - all of which made my day, that particular day. Hey guys!

Like this lovely little text from Stacy I received just a couple weeks ago really got me amped up about reposting...

Mine is one of the voices on your recordings. Wild to hear again. Thanks so much for sharing those--Roberta Cowan (who also worked at the station) gave me the headsup about your blog.
I'm happy to answer your questions--what a trip down the proverbial memorex lane...
I should compose a post--would be nice to say hi to PJ and Skizz--it's been forever.
Cheers,

--Stacy

WCVT 1987-1991 and briefly in 1992-1993 after it had become WTMD (spit spit)


Spit Spit indeed. WTMD took over and with it came a flood of poor programming. I'd almost rather have DEAD AIR then to hear the boring adult contemporary bullshit that filled up the 89.7 frequency gap in my fm dial weeks later. Horrible. With this post revival comes a cool article I came across. Hailing from The Towerlight, the article quotes Skizz and puts everything into perspective re: the WTMD takeover...

Broadcasting TSC's voice
Kristi Funderburk
140 Years: Towson's Story | 11/15/06


After decades of strengthening education, advancing athletics, and campus expansion, Towson finally found its voice in 1976 when the campus' FM radio station hit the airwaves.

WCVT-FM was born in a unique time for radio. According to general manager Steve Yasko, the University-owned public radio station started broadcasting just one year after the Sony Walkman was created and just a few years before music television and streaming on the Internet.

"[Technology's] totally changed everything," Yasko said. "Its totally changed the way we think of our business models. Its totally changed the way that we think about how we provide services and what we are as a radio station."

Towson State College's first huge change at the radio station happened at 6:16 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, 1976, as reported by The Towerlight on Feb. 20, 1976. The College Media Center was flooded with excited students and station supporters as "Bop City Revisited" became the first song to play on the new frequency, 89.7 FM.

At the event, The Towerlight recorded then-President James Fisher when he said, "In the end, this will benefit our academic program, the students, and ultimately the greater community."

WCVT-FM put Towson radio in a new frequency, but it wasn't the campus' first station. The station originally opened in the fall of 1971 as WVTS-AM, according to the 1976 article. It didn't take long before business manager Mark Silvert and general manager Steve Curran were thinking bigger, but the two were three years shy from turning their AM reality into their FM dream.

All according to The Towerlight article, there were four requirements Silvert and Curran had to meet before the station could become FM, and two problems were encountered during the evolution process.

The first step in moving from AM to FM is finding a spot on the frequency. When WVTS thought it found the perfect radio band, Morgan State beat Towson State in receiving it. WVTS had to start again. It eventually found a home at 89.7, where Towson University's station WTMD presently remains. Then the station had to find lawyers, buy equipment and get Federal Communication Commission approval.

The work proved worthwhile when by the end of the first week, Curran said operations for the 1,850-watt station were running "really smooth."
"We set program schedules up well in advance of our going on air to minimize problems," Curran told The Towerlight.

The station, according to the 1976 edition of Tower Echoes, ran 18 hours per day, seven days per week playing a format of classical, pop, rock, progressive, jazz, and educational affairs programs.

Despite a format switch over in 1991, when the station with new call letters WTMD focused more on educational value than music played, Skizz Cyzyk, TU alum who worked at WCVT-FM in the 80s, said music was mostly a main focus for the station.

"I was gone by the time it became WTMD," Cyzyk said. "They hired a professional program director, Jim Armstrong. It was always a student election before that. They did things to weed out the music lovers and just have more communication majors on the air."

Cyzyk said he was one of the last of the station's "music lovers" and the WCVT was hard to listen to with the music played on it. Cyzyk described the switch in format and music to WTMD, originally an acronym for Where Towson Makes a Difference, as "earth shaking" for the students who previously ran the station.

"It used to be that local bands would make a demo tap and we'd play it, and they'd have a hit," Cyzyk said. "It was a sad day" when that ended.

But Cyzyk still carries the overall experience. WCVT introduced him to The Flaming Lips, which is still one of his favorite bands. He also spoke of working at the station as a great experience because he helped introduce bands like The Pixies, The Replacements, We Might Be Giants, and bands "nobody heard on the airwaves in Baltimore unless they were listening to CVT."

Even today, Cyzyk is working on a documentary about a singer he first heard at WCVT. "That's how much of an impact CVT had on my life," he said.


Clearly it had a big impact on my life as well, and I wasn't even directly involved. I just wish I had taped more 'CVT while I had the chance. Oh well. Thank the Lard (another band I heard first on WCVT!) this one tape came out just right ;)

So here's the original post...
******************************



WCVT 89.7 FM Towson - Industrial Show [1990]

* This one tape is the only record I could find anywhere of this obscure radio show ever existing. If ANYONE reading this knows anything about WCVT or this Industrial show from Friday nights around late-80s/'90/'91 - please let me know. I'm dying to locate more recorded shows from that station, since they disappeared into thin air without warning :( RIP WCVT


When I was in 8th Grade, I went over to a neighbor’s house and asked if I could have this broken solid-state AM/FM receiver that was sitting in the garage. I took it home, took it apart, cleaned up all the connections and re-sautered ones that were loose. I put it back together, plugged it in and was ecstatic to see the soft amber backlit glow of the FM dial. After searching the FM range slowly for about 2 weeks, looking for signs of life in between the main stations - I finally came across something faint that really sounded strange. It was *just barely* picking up the signal from 89.7FM, Towson MD’s extremely indie college radio station. The call letters were WCVT - and I happened to stumble upon it late one friday night, during the weekly experimental/industrial show. I had to get better reception to figure out what the f*ck they were playing!

My brother had an old GE boombox that he gave me - looked like a piece of shit, but it worked. He said it picked up WHFS really well, so I gave it a shot. Low and behold, this thing had a ’sensitivity boost’ switch that would give a significant boost to the FM reception. I was thrilled to see that this GE boombox picked up the WCVT reception almost perfectly, if the antenna was in a very specific position. Come that next friday night, I tuned in at midnight and listened to this show in its entirety. I was in 8th Grade, and this random find had literally changed my life forever. I had already gotten into heavy metal and punk via my older brother and some local older neighborhood kids, so Industrial/experimental music logically was the next step in my progression. I was able to record ONE tape’s worth of magic from one particular week’s show; two weeks later I tuned in, and there was just white noise instead of music. I was completely crushed - but a week later the reality sank in. I desperately tried to tune in, only to become horrified at the sound of smooth jazz and adult contemporary where WCVT once was. Seemingly overnight, funding for WCVT was cut - forcing them to kill their transmitter, and also leaving opportunity for this horrible adult contemporary station to snatch up the bandwidth like an evil hermit crab.

Upon further research, I realized that their transmitter operated at a very low wattage - something like 5 kwatts. People in Baltimore had trouble tuning in to WCVT, and Towson is less than an hour away from Baltimore. Yet somehow my GE boombox picked it up clearly, and I live almost 2 hours distance from Towson. To this day, I still see this chance encounter as some weird act of divine intervention so that I could be exposed to all this insane underground music.

Just ripped the original WCVT tape yesterday, and it's got a little radio noise and skips around a little, but who cares. I dare you to find me another WCVT Towson recording anywhere online. They don't exist! The contents of my tape include music from Godflesh, Clock DVA, Motor Morons, Helios Creed, The Wolfgang Press, Throbbing Gristle, 2nd Communication (japan), The Church, Cabaret Voltaire, Bauhaus, The Cramps, A.R. Kane, Circle Jerks, D.O.A., Broken Toys and more. Plus a priceless PSA warning against the dangers of STDs.

DOWNLOAD TAPE RIP
info? mainly here.

11 comments:

rock'n'rolldude! said...

dude. can't believe you taped over White Lion Big Game. that's lame, dude. jk.

Anonymous said...

fucking hilarious

Miles West of here said...

I have hours of CVT on tape from the late 80's.

No industrial show though. If you're interested, I can rip it for you.

I have an industrial version of the Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil (not Laibach) I recorded from CVT. If anyone can tell me where to get it, I'd be forever greatfull. Also a reading of Edgar Allan poe by a reader with deep Baltimore accent. I love it. Wish I new where to get it.

Yes, CVT (and HFS) shaped my musical tastes. I'm 40 now.

Anonymous said...

I have hours of tapes from 87-89

XMP said...

thats just awesome.

Mike said...

I dj'd on CVT from around '82-'83 til '90 or so...who can remember anything that far back? Before that I was on WJHU (W-J-Hates-U) for a couple of years, even before that on WACC Anne Arundel Community College. Anyone rememebr those stations?
I don't really remember anyone else playing a mix-up of prog and deep space industrial before me, I may have been the first to play stuff like Throbbing Gristle on CVT though others were playing that kind of stuff on WJHU in the late 80's. Anyone remember Tara McIntyre? She was the PD when I was first there - give her a shout and tell her Mike sez HIGH! I think my show was called 'Nova Feedback'!

XMP said...

Hey Mike - that sounds awesome. You got any tapes laying around of old shows? I'm dying for more content to put up - what I've got is great but its just one tapes' worth.

hit me up - steve_pmx@yahoo.com

IntangibleArts said...

A year-plus after the fact, I found this post after some random Google searching. Thanks for posting this, it's a great thing.

And a great memorial for decent college radio in general. Around '81-'82, I was able to receive both CVT and WMUC in my room, insuring that I'd have my brains fully scrambled by my sophomore year in highschool...

And all these years later, I still remember hearing stuff like Buried Droog (I knew you when you were sperm, etc), I think it was the Steve & Skizz show...??!

anyway. cheers.

sylvia said...

OMG...so glad to find this!!! just popped on today to find a group that i ofcourse heard first on cvt in 87-89? i STILL listen to my cvt tapes all the time. the best music..station..the best times. my requests would always be played before i went to school..kate bush..runnin up that hill. i was about to start a facebook group to find cvt lovers like me. i heard everything there FIRST! so, can anyone help me with finding this group who sung a song that may have been called 'sexuality' i taped 2 songs of off cvt from this particular group. i hope someone can give me a clue on this. i was so bummed when taping some of the last hours of the show..it was a dance show...playing the song..new york new york new york and everybody in the street..get down to the funky beat. thanks

Gary said...

I have copies of Rock n Roll Radio (1988-1991) if anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any copies of the metal/punk show that was hosted by someone in a local punk band called Red Dye#9? Was it Rock and Roll Radio by any chance? BTW Thanks for this post! Brings back alot of memories!