Electricity and radio

A newspaper article about the (2nd) radio station

“Dan was really into batteries and bulbs with his kids I remember.” – Ruth Wishik

“Building the radio station with Paul Cummings was one highlight. We, mostly Paul, got the majority of the equipment from the bi-annual large trash days. We had an amazing amount of equipment that Paul, with Jordan and a number of other teacher’s help ,was able to repurpose. At first we actually broadcast with a transmitter he built. You can transmit up to a mile without license.

But when we started getting requests called in from Ithaca College and Cornell the teachers thought it better to broadcast through the school PA system. At already over 6’ in 6th grade and all of about 120 pounds I was called Bean Pole. My radio show was Big Bean and the Big Bean Show. It never did get syndicated.

Building the geodesic dome with the architecture students at Cornell for the spring festival and setting up the station on the Quad and broadcasting all weekend was also a great memory. We got a good education in music that weekend. College students had a bit different taste in music than us 6th graders did.” – Sid Bardwell

“Building GTRS, Good Things Radio Station, was a major project and adventure.  We had to physically make the window between the studio and control room and put up the sound proofing (egg cartons) but the final success was a lucky accident when Jordan Puryear discovered he could use the building’s steel cage as the the antenna. It could be heard all the way up to the Cornell campus. 

It was too bad we had to take it off the air, but we discovered that the FCC had a monitoring post just a couple of blocks away. The risk of getting caught was just too great….  The radio station worked rather well despite our flirting with the law. ” – Bill Mutch

“Paul Drake, alias ‘Eric Von Rippy’…( Rippy for short)… was selected by acclaim to be the main disk jockey for GTRS because all the kids knew he had a nearly pathological sense of time. 

He wore a $600  Pulsar digital watch  (I’d had a minimum wage job in a sweat shop in New Jersey grinding and polishing the crystals for those watches, knew the price, and was amazed that a kid would have a $600 watch. ) …and  became very upset when watching the ball in Times Square NYC  herald in the New Year 3 seconds early. 

Rippy knew to the second how long every song on every record (33 vinyl) lasted, so the kids could tell him “we need 17 minutes, 22 seconds worth of music here.” He would then chose the songs that totaled EXACTLY 17′ : 22″  He was irreplaceable.” – Bill Mutch

(Rippy grew up to be a drummer and radio DJ)

The second radio station… “we ran it over the intercom system and some donated equipment I got from WVBR and a few things I had or bought.” – Bari Lee

“I think I was quoted as saying that the whole radio station or something in it was my great idea! I guess I was kinda full of myself a bit at the time, I guess a lot of 9 year olds are, it was a fun time. I remember Court Bell bitching that all we ever played were the Beatles!” – Joey Giordano

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.