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WTSR-FM is a trend-setting 1500-watt non-commercial educational radio station serving Mercer and Bucks County. We broadcast the best and the latest in new music from independent and local artists, over 20 genres of specialty music, hourly local news, and college sports from our studios at The College of New Jersey.
WTSR provides its broadcast community with over 25 hours of public service programming each week, through its news updates, Democracy Now!, Sports Countdown, and FM in the AM. Our Sports Department broadcasts many TCNJ Sporting Events with both pre and post game coverage and interviews.
Call Sign & Logo
Trenton State College radio was commissioned WTSR back in 1966. Originally, the call sign letters stood for Trenton State Radio. When the school changed its name to The College of New Jersey in June of 1996, the acronym was changed to stand for The College of New Jersey Student Radio.
Power & Broadcast Area
WTSR broadcasts at 1500 radiated watts from its studios on The College of New Jersey campus. Our broadcast radius extends into the Trenton-Philadelphia metro area for approximately 25 miles from the campus, and contains almost 800,000 potential listeners.
Although the exact number of listeners can never be determined, WTSR’s average weekly listenership cume is between 50,000 and 100,000 listeners. Our average listeners range from ages 15-35 for our Dayside Programming, and ages 23+ for our evening and weekend specialty shows. Listeners are usually high school and college students living in Trenton, NJ and Bucks County, PA.
Hours of Operation and Methods of Broadcasting
Since 2004, WTSR has broadcasted twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.
Since 2007, WTSR has been broadcasting live on the web at wtsr.org. Just click on the “Listen Live!” link at the top of this page!
Open Your Mind™
Open Your Mind is WTSR’s on-air slogan and a registered trademark of the station. The station uses the slogan to describe its unique programming philosophy — asking listeners to “open their minds” to entertainment not usually found on the commercial radio band.
WTSR strives to serve its listeners through a dynamic block program format featuring the newest College Alternative Music from 8am until 5pm on weekdays. In addition, we are also host to dozens of Specialty Shows spotlighting over fifteen musical genres from 6pm until 2am on weekdays and from 6am-midnight on weekends. The WTSR Music Department reports College Alternative, New World, RPM, and Loud Rock Music to the College Music Journal, one of the top magazines in the college music industry and host to the CMJ Music Marathon each October in New York City.
News & Sports
By combining a student-run news staff with a unique computerized new satellite information system, WTSR reports on both local and world issues. Beginning in 2010, WTSR launched its new news program, News at Noon, which airs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12-1pm. As of January 2010 WTSR commenced weekday broadcasts of the news program “Democracy Now!” at 5pm, with a repeat of the day’s broadcast aired again 2am. A WTSR News Update airs hourly during the broadcast day via partnership with the Associated Press. The Sports Department broadcasts various TCNJ men and women’s sporting events and also airs sports-talk programming in the form of Sports Countdown (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1pm and Fridays from 6-7pm) and Gametime! (Saturdays from 12-1:30pm).
WTSR is a completely student run radio station. A TCNJ Faculty Member from the Communications Department helps to advise the Board of Directors. The Board is comprised of Full-Time Students who sit a minimum of 3 office hours per week. Positions of Station Manager, Operations Manager and Program Director are elected positions who, in turn, appoint people for the remaining positions on the Board. Term of Service is one academic year, beginning at the beginning of May and ending at the end of April. Community volunteers comprise a sizable portion of the staff as well. They are either Part-Time or Non-students who help to contribute to WTSR on many aspects including being on-air DJ’s.
If you are in a band, work for a music label, or want to contribute to WTSR’s Music Vault please contact the Music Director at 609.771.2420 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking to make new contacts and the help bring new music first.
The History of WTSR
WTSR has been broadcasting as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensed FM radio station since 1966, but the origins of radio operations stretch back much further at Trenton State College as The College of New Jersey was known prior to 1996. Operating under the self-assigned call letters of WTSC (for Trenton State College), the station began its programming on campus during the 1958-1959 academic year with a little over a dozen total staff members, only three turntables and one microphone.
In the spring of 1960, station manager Hans Krucke began exchanging correspondence with the FCC in an effort to elevate WTSC to legitimate FM broadcast status. However, he was informed at the time that the call letters WTSC were unavailable. It was an early setback for the organization, but not one that would hinder the station for long.
The station continued to grow during the early part of the 1960s. WTSC’s major focuses were to act as “a communicator between news-making groups and the student body, and to extend to the student body an opportunity to engage in a type of activity not found with other extra-curricular activities.” With the help of faculty advisor Mr. Warren Nutt, the station overcame early technical issues and continued to improve by “’pioneering’ and experimenting to find the best type of broadcasting techniques” for the station.
After several years of planning and effort, WTSC was granted its first official FCC license to begin broadcasting on September 12th, 1966 as 89.7 FM with a transmitter output power of 10 watts. Prior to taking to the airwaves, they had to refine their equipment and choose a new set of call letters. The FCC offered the station’s current call letters, WTSR, which at the time would stand for Trenton State Radio. In 1966, 89.7 FM WTSR was finally a federally legal radio station.
Students tuning in to WTSR during those early years discovered a radio station that featured the campus information that they wanted to know as well as one working to separate itself musically from the rest of the stations in the region. It would be present at major college events, and by the 1971-1972 academic year, WTSR was already defining itself as Trenton’s “only progressive rock FM station.” Operations were growing quickly as well: the station was listed during the 1973-1974 year as having twelve board members and twenty-seven staffers, an example of the station’s progression. Today, the station boasts over 100 staff members.
But the station’s biggest change and biggest area of growth would occur in the fall of 1975, when WTSR was granted approval by the FCC to increase their transmitter power from 10 watts to 1500 watts. Under the previous conditions, the station was lucky to reach within a half-mile of campus. Now, with the power increase, Trenton’s only progressive rock station could sport a broadcasting radius of over 20 miles. This allowed WTSR to broadcast throughout Mercer County, NJ and into the eastern part of Pennsylvania, reaching a potential audience of over 800,000. In addition, the station’s frequency changed from 89.7 FM to 91.3 FM, setting the stage for the station that you hear today.
In 1978, WTSR moved from its old studios in Kendall Hall to a brand new facility in the basement of the Brower Student Center. The new location gave the staff the chance and the space to grow and expand their operations even further, while also bringing them closer to one of the main centers of student activity on campus.
It was during the 1980s that the station began to receive the support of Trenton State faculty member Dr. David Rogosky. Affectionately known by staff and students as Dr. Dave, he was originally hired by the College because of his skill in photography, but began collaborating with Dr. William Wegner of the Communications Studies department on developing audio and visual media on campus.
After becoming faculty adviser, Dr. Dave would leave his lasting legacy by throwing his efforts behind the construction of new station for WTSR. The Brower facilities had become, in the words of one DJ, “old, dusty, dirty, and dingy” and conditions had become cramped over the years. Renovations on Kendall Hall had begun in the late 1980s and Rogosky not only lobbied for a place to be set aside for the station, but also researched and designed the blueprints for the new studios as well. When the dust had settled, WTSR returned to the building that housed its first operations as an FM station and opened their new studios in early August of 1993. Rogosky would prove to be a vital part of WTSR until his sudden and untimely passing in January, 1998. He was succeeded as faculty adviser by Bob Maarberg, followed by Kevin Potucek.
1996 would prove to be a notable year for WTSR as the station would encounter three significant changes over this period of time. First, with the college’s decision to rename itself The College of New Jersey, the acronym WTSR was changed from “Trenton State Radio” to “The College of New Jersey Student Radio.” Second, WTSR would change its slogan from “The Alternative” to its current slogan, “Open Your Mind.” This was the product of a contest sponsored by the station in the spring of 1996.
Finally, 1996 would bear witness to one of the station’s most significant programming shifts in its history. While WTSR had always prided itself on being ahead of the curve in exposing new music to its listeners, its programming philosophy prior to 1996 was still very much free form, with various styles of music appearing at various times depending on the DJ present. It would not have been uncommon to have a classical show followed by a metal show followed by a jazz show, all in the middle of the weekday schedule. However, this changed when the station instituted its “Dayside” music programming policy. Between the hours of 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM Monday through Friday the station’s musical emphasis was now placed solely on the new rock and hip-hop that could loosely be defined within the boundaries of “college alternative.” The genres that deviated from this format would be featured in shows aired only during the evening and weekend broadcast hours. While the change ruffled a few feathers at first, it would be instrumental in catapulting WTSR into the upper tiers of influence within the college and non-commercial radio community. This shift in musical focus can be characterized by WTSR’s change in its declared format, from progressive rock to its current one, “New Alternative Variety.” In February of 2007, WTSR made its broadcasting radius virtually limitless with the introduction of Internet Broadcasting through its website at www.wtsr.org.
All of this only begins to scratch the surface of the history and impact that WTSR has had on The College of New Jersey and the surrounding community at large during its 43+ years of FM broadcasting. Today, WTSR continues to be a leader in the college radio community, offering 24 hours of progressive, trend-setting broadcasting seven days a week, 365 days a year. Within the station’s constitution, the purpose of the WTSR radio system is set “to serve the students, the college and the surrounding community with educational, informative, and entertaining programs, to provide for the cultural demands of listeners, and to extend opportunities to those interested in the field of radio communications.” We’re sure though that the thousands of students and staff that have called WTSR home at one point or another over the last 40 years would argue that the station is so much more than that. It has served as a place where students can stretch their artistic capabilities, an occasional distraction from the rigors and stresses of academic life, and a conduit through which life long connections and friendships have been established. The millions of hours of entertaining, though-provoking, and trend-setting broadcasts have merely been a byproduct of it all.
Are you a local organization interested in how college radio works? We’re always willing to give tours, email our Station Manager at email@example.com for more information!
-Compiled by Chris Kubak: WTSR Music Director 2004-2007, Production Director 2007-2008
-Edited by Michelle Yzaguirre: WTSR Production Director 2008-2009, Program Director 2009-2010
If you have any information you would like to see added/altered in this historical summary, please contact the station manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 771-3200