WERW is an independent student-run, free-format radio station at Syracuse University that broadcasts on the Web. The station programs an eclectic format similar to many other college radio stations in the United States of America, with blocks of programs featuring underground rock music, world music, folk music, occasional news, and some political or public affairs programs. The online station can be streamed at its website.
The station was formed by the largest student-run organization on campus, University Union, after a controversy involving the other student-run station, WJPZ. WJPZ had incorporated as an independent entity broadcasting Top 40 music in a simulation of a professional radio station, in order to provide communications students attending the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with vocational training. It started, like WERW, as a carrier currentAM station, but began broadcasting with 100 watts on 89.1 FM on February 2, 1985. WJPZ did find some favor among students at Syracuse University and amongst Top 40 fans in the surrounding community that could hear it. However, there were protests among many university students who wanted the station to reflect more "diverse" programming, including a three-day sit-in at the station's studios by the Student Afro-American Society in the autumn of 1986.
The concept for the station was originally conceived in October 1986. University Union Concert Board Director Fred Feldman Creative Board Director Will Morrison and UU member Kevin Baier hatched the idea for an alternative radio station to exist under the University Union umbrella. They joined forces with SU freshmen Pete Wesenberg, Kyle Rosa, and Shane Francis, who also wanted to start a radio station. Baier became the station's first General Manager and Lori Teitler the first Music Director. The original turntables and records were those of the University Union members and its free-form format initially consisted of indie rock, rap and alternative dance music.
In response to the student complaints, and with the new team in place, the University Union organization established WERW in January 1987. University Union is commonly referred to as "U.U." and the station call letters, WERW, were chosen as shorthand for "We Are U.U.". During its first year, WERW broadcast out of the control room of CitrusTV (then UUTV) for a limited broadcasting schedule, and was heard only on cable television (WJPZ earlier had a similar arrangement). University Union secured just enough funding for turntables, a mixing console and other basic broadcast necessities and WERW moved into a "real" studio over the summer of 1987 in Watson Hall just across the hall from WJPZ. The station was originally heard only through television monitors and over low-power FM. By the early 1990s, WERW operated on carrier current at 750 AM and was available in Syracuse University's dorms and some other campus buildings.
A low-power AM broadcast transmitter was acquired and an antenna was erected atop Booth Hall in 1995 to allow WERW to broadcast with 20 Watts of power at 1570 AM while simulcasting on 750 AM. It could then be heard all across campus at the Syracuse University and in adjacent areas of the city of Syracuse.
WERW began to simulcast its programming on the Web in the early 2000s. By the mid-2000s, the carrier current broadcast at 750 AM had been abandoned. At a similar time, the 1570 AM transmitter began to broadcast a dead carrier signal when the cable that ran from the studio to the transmitter was cut or damaged from corrosion. The transmitter was finally removed from the air in early 2011. Since then, WERW has been an Internet-only "radio" station, but is hoping to broadcast on an AM frequency again in the future.
In early 2010, WERW split from University Union and became an independent student organization. "What Everyone Really Wants" began to be used as an alternate meaning for the call sign instead of the original meaning of "We Are U.U." In October 2010, the station relaunched and began to broadcast from its new facilities in the basement of the Schine Student Center in the Jabberwocky Cafe.
^"Mixed signals for CNY alternative radio". Syracuse Post-Standard. 1988-03-31. "Lori Tietler says it's a lot of fun being music director for an alternative campus radio station, but things would run smoother if she could just hear her own station. "Sometimes my roommate and I will get in her car and park it in front of Watson (Hall), just to be able to hear WERW," said Tietler, a junior at Syracuse University."
^"Low-power AM radio station will broaden coverage at SU". Syracuse Post-Standard. 1988-01-28. "Syracuse University will soon have a low-power AM radio station operating on campus, broadcasting contemporary college programming to the university area. The station, WERW, is carried on University Union cable, and is available only in the university's dormitories."