|Slogan||"A Radio Station"|
|First air date||1949 (carrier current AM) March 1, 1974 (FM)|
|ERP||1.75 kilowatts (directional)|
|Callsign meaning||W Radio Carnegie Tech|
|Owner||WRCT Radio, Inc.|
WRCT is a non-commercial freeform radio station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The station, which is hosted in the basement of Carnegie Mellon's University Center, is run by students, staff, faculty, and community members. WRCT broadcasts on 88.3 MHz with an ERP of 1.75 kW, from atop Warner Hall (also on the Carnegie Mellon campus, but heard throughout the city). The license is held by WRCT Radio Incorporated.
WRCT was born as an experimental radio station at then-Carnegie Institute of Technology. It began as the project of a group of engineering students in 1949, who first used the electrical wiring in a few academic buildings to broadcast a weak AM signal to campus buildings for several hours a day. In 1950, WRCT, which stands for Radio Carnegie Tech, covered half the buildings on campus, and became an official student organization.
WRCT went on the air in 1949 as a carrier current AM radio station on 900 kHz (mostly heard on campus), but it moved to 88.3 FM on March 1, 1974, with a power of 10 watts, which extended its signal beyond the campus to other areas nearby. In the late 1980s, the power increased to 100 watts, and in 1994, WRCT received permission to increase power to 1,750 watts in the north, south, and west and 680 watts in the east, which enabled it to be heard up to 15 miles away, allowing it to become a more significant community service. Now the station has made it possible to listen anywhere in the world by streaming the audio on the station's website.
Now the station has expanded to serve beyond the campus, it also allows participation from outside the university. DJ's, producers, engineers and staff consist of both community members, as well as undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff who are connected to the school. Participation includes a range of skill levels, from freshmen DJ's who are just learning about the stations' programming to veteran DJ's who have years of experience on the air and a dedicated following. All of these positions are volunteer and nonprofit. For anyone to get involved, they must simply call the station or e-mail the training director.
WRCT's programs, updated each semester, are available online at their program guide.
WRCT's mission is to present its listening audience with freeform, original programming that cannot be found elsewhere on the Pittsburgh dial. As such, the station's musical programming is widely varied, and with few exceptions, left entirely to the tastes of the on-air DJs. Genres including Alt-Country, Jazz, Hip hop, Metal, Experimental, Indie rock, Blues, International, Electronic, and even Musical Theater are among those commonly represented in rotation. They try to show off local music that people do not typically hear on mainstream stations. They do their best to play “Creative beats, conscious lyrics and fresh styles from up-and-comers who just plain aren't getting heard about because they don't fit the formula”.
WRCT broadcasts much more than just music. Public affairs programming also features prominently at the station, with an emphasis on news and issues local to the Pittsburgh community. WRCT is Pittsburgh's Pacifica Radio affiliate station. These ideas that are broadcast generally would not be on the radio anywhere else.
Current public affairs programming at WRCT includes the following original programs:
- Rustbelt Radio: The Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly round-up of "News From The Grassroots" in which these volunteers report on issues overlooked by the local mainstream media
- The Saturday Light Brigade: Award Winning Public Radio for Kids & Adults
- History for the Future: Explores the history behind contemporary social issues through interviews with academics and journalists.
- Brazilian Radio Hour or Cantinho Brasileiro no Radio - The program is broadcast in English and Portuguese and brings Brazilian music as well as unique themes, news, event information, promotions and special interviews. Some important names that have appeared on the show include former Brazilian President Jose Sarney and artists such as Daniela Mercury, Daniel Jobim, Beth Carvalho, Araketu, Terra Samba, Gilberto Gil, Matuto, Nation Beat, Luisa Maita and many more. Hosted by Carla Leininger and guests. Winner of 2013 Brazilian International Press Award.
- Barrio Latino: The Latin American Radio Hour, the latest news from Latin America including sports, politics, economics, local news interviews and events of the Hispanic community in Pittsburgh.
- The Total Education Hour: an educational talk show that discusses local and national education news.
- The Digital Hazard: A tech news show that focuses on the events in the industry, covering as fairly as possible all the major companies in the space.
- Off The Record:
- Lock Down Radio:
WRCT also broadcasts these Public Affairs programs from the Pacifica Radio Network:
- Democracy Now!: a nationally syndicated program of news, analysis, and opinion hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales
- Feature Story News
- Law and Disorder: focuses on legal issues
WRCT celebrated its growing presence in the community after 35 years on the FM dial with a night of music at two popular East Liberty venues, the Shadow Lounge and AVA. The station's own DJs provided the music in both rooms. The bash went from 9p.m. until 2 a.m. with an admission price of only $5. The lineup at AVA consisted of Zombo, Jason the Underwater Culprit, Shawn Watson, J. Malls and DJ Thermos, and the Shadow Lounge consisted of It's Tina, Kimmy+Sandi, DJ Sanspoof, Arsenal+JTS and DJ Firefly. The Shadow Lounge's Blue Room also included performances by Steve Boyle of "Radio Free Radio" and Alex and Sal. The neighboring Waffle Shop, which is Carnegie Mellon's student-run, late-night waffle shop, served waffles to the post-dance crowd The station also launched a revamped Website to occur with the anniversary celebration.
- McCoy, Adrian. "WYEP, WRCT plan anniversary specials." Post-Gazette.com. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10 Apr. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09100/961838-67.stm.
- Cullen, Rob. "The Eclectic and Eccentric WRCT FM ." Pittsburgh news for tech, arts, hiring – Pop City. Rob Cullen, 12 Nov. 2008. Web. 3 Feb. 2012. http://www.popcitymedia.com/features/wrct1112.aspx
- Levy, Doug. “Owen Carmichael.” CMJ New Music Report, n.d. https://books.google.com/books?id=vrIO1R87sXIC&pg=PA28&dq=wrct+carnegie+mellon+radio&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MDMrT5j9L8figgeIn-HxDw&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=wrct%20carnegie%20mellon%20radio&f=false
- Adrian, McCoy (April 10, 2009). "WYEP, WRCT plan anniversary specials". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- WRCT official website
- Brazilian Radio Hour
- Imagine Pittsburgh
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRCT
- Radio-Locator information on WRCT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRCT