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Rensselaer Magazine Winter 2007

WRPI Celebrates 50 Years on the FM Dial

In 1957, I was the engineer on duty as WRPI signed on the 91.5 MHz FM. [Mail, Fall 2007] Fifty years later, I find myself volunteering at another public radio station doing essentially the same thing!

I am a board operator at the Accessible Information Network, a SAP service of Oregon Public Broadcasting for seniors and the physically disabled. There are many similarities between my new gig and the time I spent at WRPI during 1956-60.

It’s an amazing return to my roots, the preparation for which took place in Troy over half a century ago.

Steve Kerman ’60
Portland, Ore.

Happy Anniversary to WRPI! But I believe the current WRPI president [via a Fall 2007 letter to the editor] has misstated the number of years (50) since WRPI’s founding, probably by a lot.

In 1950, for a very short period of time, I was a low-level volunteer broadcasting on Sunday nights. Around 1951 or 1952 WRPI organized and participated in one of the first (or maybe the first) commercial public stereo music broadcasts in the nation, utilizing WRPI for the left channel, and a commercial Albany station for the right (or vice versa).

By 1950, WRPI already had a rich and long history on campus. In fact, I would fully expect that RPI students from two genera-tions before mine, around 1920, would be operating a campus radio station at the very birth of the technology. Why not? They were at least as smart and curious in their era as subsequent generations of RPI’ers were in theirs.

Bill Glaser ’53
Naples, Fla., and Westport, Mass.

In the fall issue of Rensselaer magazine there is a letter regarding the 50th anniversary of radio station WRPI. I don’t know what this is celebrating, because WRPI was in existence more than 50 years ago. In the 1952 Transit yearbook there is coverage of WRPI and the related stations WHAZ and W2SZ. It says that WRPI was a limited area station covering the RPI campus with transmitters located in three campus buildings. In 1950-51 I worked in the WRPI studio, which was located in a small room in the 15th Street Lounge. I played records and read campus announcements, and in between I was able to study in a quiet environment.

Harold (Hal) Erhardt ’52
Northridge, Calif.

Editor’s Note: In November, WRPI celebrated 50 years at 91.5 on the FM dial. The station made the switch on Nov. 1, 1957.

Zeta Psi Fraternity Feature

I enjoyed reading the fall issue and especially the insightful article, “The Circle of Greek Life,” written by Roger Mike ’70.

For the record, the photo accompanying the article shows the front steps of the RPI Zeta Psi fraternity house and a group of the undergraduate brothers living there, circa 1987.

Rick Kasold ’70
Elder Association President
Zeta Psi, Pi Chapter
Indialantic, Fla.

Musically Inspired Career Change

Several alumni have commented on singing in Joel Dolven’s Glee Club [“Musical Memories,” Winter 2006-07]. My singing under his direction led to a career change.

In public school, I played clarinet and oboe for eight years. But when I got to RPI, I didn’t have time to keep my embouchure in shape. So I played cymbals and then bass drum in the band for two years. During that time, I heard the Glee Club and thought I’d give it a try. So I sang in it my junior and senior year and also in the Rensselaermen my senior year. I loved singing and resolved to continue in other groups.

After graduation, I worked with my father’s construction company but finally realized that it was not for me. My Glee Club ex-perience had con- vinced me that I wanted to be a music teacher and choral conductor. I eventually went to SUNY Potsdam, got a B.S. degree in music education with a voice major, then to the University of Michigan where I earned an M.S. in music history and literature, and finally a Ph.D. in musicology. From 1971 until my retirement in 2002 as professor emeritus, I taught music courses and directed choral groups at University College in Bangor, Maine.

In 1973, a barbershop chapter began in Bangor. I became a charter member and have sung tenor with them for 34 years. I have also been an assistant director and now director for the last 13 years. Also during my Glee Club days, I remembered hearing the Four Horsemen and thought I’d love to sing in a quartet. In 1978, I started singing tenor in a quartet that has now been together for 29 years.

All of this happened because my Glee Club days with Joel convinced me to change careers. I am so thankful.

Dave Klocko ’59
Old Town, Maine

We’d love to hear from you! To provide space for as many letters as possible, we often must edit them for length. Please address correspondence to: Rensselaer Magazine, Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, e-mail to alum.mag, or call (518) 276-6531.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.