WELH AND LATER WEIU

RADIO AND TELEVISION FOR CENTRAL ILLINOIS

PART F

EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY HISTORY OF BROADCASTING: RADIO & TV

 

EASTERN ILLINOIS STATE NORMAL SCHOOL ATTEMPTS RADIO BROADCASTING

In 1931, The TEACHERS COLLEGE NEWS editor, Paul Blair (1931-33) developed a weekly "news hour" over radio station WDZ at Tuscola. Several college departments including the Women's Glee Club, the Mathematics Club and the Forum and many individuals provided the talent and content for this program. The program continued until 1933, when a problem with distance from Tuscola to Charleston brought about its end. This indeed was a beginning for modern broadcast journalism for Charleston's university.

EASTERN BROADCASTERS PARTICIPATE IN DISTANT WSM (NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE) PROGRAM
Distance made the Tuscola program difficult to continue, but at the same time Eastern sent on three occasions, teams to Nashville, Tennessee for the "Teachers College of the Air" program. The first of these broadcasts was in March of 1935, and involved the EIU Menís' Chorus and College Trio.

1944 BRINGS A RENEWED EFFORT TO BROADCAST ON TUSCOLA'S WDZ

Again in 1944, a Mr. Buren Robbins of the English Department arranged a series of programs over WDZ. The series were called the "Eastern Radio Workshop". Each program was to be called the "Eastern Hour."  These programs consisted of seventeen weekly broadcasts originating from the tower of Old Main and carried by telephone to Tuscola. After four programs, telephone relay problems and newly established War restrictions, would cause the series to be cancelled.

COLES COUNTY GAINS ITS OWN RADIO STATION-DISTANCE PROBLEMS ALLEVIATED

November of 1946 was the month and year that J.R. Livesay went on-air with his Mattoon-based radio station, WLBH. Even before going on-air, Ray would extend an offer to President Buzzard at Eastern to provide a half-hour of "free" time to the college each afternoon for the purpose of teaching students about broadcasting, as well as public relations for the college and Coles County communities. The time slot would be 2:30-3:00 p.m. of each school day. Ray Livesay realized the importance of the college in the area, and established a strong link very early in his station's history.

EASTERN HIRES MAN TO HEAD-UP THE BROADCAST PROGRAM

Dr. Elbert Moses Jr., was hired in 1946 to be the director of the Eastern radio broadcasting program.

LEE LYNCH OPERATES WLBH STUDIO IN CHARLESTON

In 1947, Ray Livesay and WLBH established a remote studio in a building on the west side of the Charleston square.    The new studio would eliminate   all   distance-connection   problems   for   Eastern broadcasts.  Eastern always had a good working relationship with Coles County's radio stations.

WORLD WAR H ENDS, RESTRICTIONS END; THE NEW WLBH ENCOURAGES E.I.U. BROADCAST JOURNALISM PROGRAM

Eastern accepted the offer from Ray Livesay. The "Lets Go to College" program started in 1946, on WLBH provided a regular "voice" for the college, and soon radio broadcasting courses were added to the Speech Department. Dr. Moses outlined the course of study for the new programs. On Friday, November 29, 1946, the "Let's Go to College" series was started. The first program was in the form of an interview with Dr. Moses by President Buzzard, Dr. Rudolph Anfinson, Dean Elizabeth Lawson and Mr. Livesay. On December 2, the regular College half-hour started under the leadership of Mr. George Ross, College dramatics director and Mr. John Paul, the first student director of Eastern's first "radio station"


Return to the Radio History Home Page

Learning On-Line Home Page