The Story of WGLS-FM

The Story of WGLS-FM

The Story of WGLS-FM

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Glassboro State College was granted a construction permit by the FCC to build a 10 watt FM radio station on the campus on May 17, 1963. 89.7 WGLS-FM's broadcast license was issued the following year on April 9, 1964 and went on the air with funding provided by the college's Library Department. Educational Media Director William McCavitt served as the first faculty supervisor of the radio station until 1966. WGLS soon had its signal increased to 250 watts. Communication professors George Reinfeld and Joe Salviuolo next supervised WGLS in 1967 and 1968 respectively. Dr. Gregory Potter, from the GSC Library Department, took over management of WGLS in 1969, and successfully led the effort to update the college’s radio studio in the campus’ Bole Hall administration building, as well as correcting various engineering and transmission issues.

By 1970, the school’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts took control over WGLS. Performing Arts Dean Armand Vorce and manager Bob Blake kept WGLS broadcasting until 1973, when it was decided that the radio station’s broadcast license would be released back to the FCC due to management and operational concerns. Student Station Manager Jim Servino successfully petitioned Glassboro State’s then-president Dr. Mark Chamberlain to keep the license, and to allow the students to manage WGLS on their own.

Servino and the students enlisted the help of Communications professor Mike Donovan to help consult the radio station. WGLS then lobbied for additional funding from the school for more technical upgrades. The station moved across campus to the former Savitz Library, a 50-foot tower was erected, and the transmitter power increased again to 440 watts. By 1977, WGLS moved to a larger studio space within Savitz Library and began to broadcast in stereo.

Following the tenure of station advisors Mike Donovan (1973 to 1988) and Phylis West Johnson (1988 to 1990), it was decided that a dedicated full-time General Manager was needed in order for WGLS-FM to continue its growth. Former WFIL-AM Philadelphia broadcaster Frank Hogan assumed the newly created role in 1991. At the time, Hogan was serving Glassboro State College as a ¾ time radio professor, having previously worked as the engineering consultant on the station’s 1977 stereo and studio upgrades.

With the 1992 name change of Glassboro State College to Rowan University due to a $100 million donation from industrialist Henry Rowan, WGLS-FM re-branded itself as "Rowan Radio". The station’s antenna moved to the Glassboro city water tower in 1993, and the increased height boosted the station’s power to an Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 640 watts. In 1995, Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM became a permanently incorporated, award-winning aspect of the newly created College of Communication and Creative Arts. WGLS-FM moved again into its fourth studio home at Bozorth Hall in January 1996.

Rowan Radio began streaming over the internet in 2000. In January 2001, the station’s antenna and transmitter were relocated 12 miles off campus to a 500-foot tower in Harrison Township, NJ, again increasing its signal strength to an Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 750 watts. ESPN sports broadcaster and college instructor Derek Jones, and former commercial radio producer and adjunct professor Leo Kirschner succeeded Frank Hogan upon his retirement in 2012.