WMBR (formerly WMIT) history and current events

Shawn Mamros mamros@mit.edu
Wed Jan 5 16:44:51 EST 2022

WMBR had to completely transition from almost 100% live, in-studio programming to 100% pre-recorded, produced at home (or wherever the individual program hosts could find to produce their shows) programming, because MIT shut down the entire Walker Memorial building where the studios are.  Walker has since reopened, but is restricted to those who are registered with MIT's Covid testing protocol, which is only for MIT students, faculty, and staff.  With WMBR's large contingent of alumni and community staff members still not being allowed in, shows are still all pre-recorded outside of the studios, though I think they're trying to work out a "hybrid" mode of operation to allow for in-studio programming for those who are allowed to be on campus.

In spite of all the difficulties, it's still running (and now on a full-time 24/7 basis, because the pre-recording and remote operation make that preferrable), and there were even successful fundraising weeks held in Novembers 2020 and 2021.  In addition to the article that Tim linked to below, there's a blog post written by technical director Brian Sennett about the transition:

And in the midst of it all, there was a transmitter move!  (That move was planned before the pandemic, delayed somewhat because of it, but ultimately completed because MIT is demolishing the Eastgate graduate student building where the transmitter was located as part of the ongoing Kendall Square redevelopment.)

The hardest part of it all (at least for some of us) is the loss of the camaraderie we had in the Walker studios.  It's one of my dearest hopes that we can get back to that someday, somehow.

From: Boston-Radio-Interest <boston-radio-interest-bounces@lists.BostonRadio.org> on behalf of Rob Landry <011010001@interpring.com>
Sent: Wednesday, January 5, 2022 1:14 PM
To: Kevin Vahey
Cc: Boston Radio Group
Subject: Re: WMBR (formerly WMIT) history and current events

How is WMBR doing these days? I've observed that while some college
stations are still going strong, others have disappeared.


On Wed, 5 Jan 2022, Kevin Vahey wrote:

> In the mid-1950s, the possibility of an FM license was explored and it
> was discovered that the call letters WMIT were (and still are) in use
> by a North Carolina station serving the Asheville area. WTBS (for
> "Technology Broadcasting System") was chosen as the best alternative.
> On Wed, Jan 5, 2022 at 9:42 AM Bob DeMattia <bob.bosra@demattia.net> wrote:
>> Actually, WMIT was the callsign they used for their carrier current
>> station. When they went to FM in 1961,
>> they were actually WTBS.   They changed from WTBS to WMBR in 1979 when a
>> certain fellow from
>> Atlanta wanted the calls for his UHF television station in Atlanta.
>> -Bob
>> On Wed, Jan 5, 2022 at 12:26 AM A Joseph Ross <joe@attorneyross.com> wrote:
>>> I didn't know the station was once WMIT.  I always wondered why it
>>> wasn't WMIT.
>>> On 1/4/2022 9:48 PM, Tim Gordon wrote:
>>>> I just happened upon this article the same week I learned that my father
>>>> had been involved with the engineering/technical side of WMIT in the
>>> early
>>>> 50's. Maybe someone else on this list might find it interesting, also.
>>>> --Tim
>>> https://alum.mit.edu/slice/steady-beat-student-alumni-collaboration-sustains-campus-radio-station
>>> --
>>> A. Joseph Ross, J.D. · 1340 Centre Street, Suite 103 · Newton, MA 02459
>>> 617.367.0468 · http://www.attorneyross.com

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