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WERU Timeline


Date Event Title
September 1979 Reg Bennet suggests creating a local non-profit radio station in Blue Hill
January 1980 Word Corporation formed to apply for a radio station license (date approximate)
June 1980 FCC requires additional engineering studies to demonstrate no interference with Channel 6 in Portland (date approximate)
December 1982 David Snyder hired to help shepherd broadcast license application
January 1984 Salt Pond Community Broadcasting incorporated - becomes licensee applicant of record
June 1984 While awaiting license decision, Salt Pond runs fund-raising and informational concerts featuring many local and nationally known musicians
June 1984 FCC finally accepts license application (date approximate)
June 1986 FCC grants constuction permit
February 1987 Salt Pond applies for a PTFP grant to purchase a transmitter and studio equipment (date approximate)
December 1987 Original construction permit expires Dec 25 - WERU hires Washington attorney to apply for a Construction Permit extension
January 1988 WERU receives permission to keep constructing: Jan 21
February 1988 First Volunteer Training Session: Feb 17
March 1988 Radio Systems installs studio equipment in Henhouse
March 1988 50 people committed as Volunteers
April 1988 WERU schedule appears as full page ad in Blue Hill Packet supported by 40 local businesses: April 28
April 1988 WERU Program Committee volunters listen to 24 audition tapes: April 21
April 1988 Transmitter and antenna helicoptered to top of Blue Hill
April 1988 Atlantic Systems puts up new tower on Blue Hill to bear the weight of WERU antenna
May 1988 WERU's signal interference problems begin - last over six months: May 2
May 1988 WERU Sign-on Day May 1! Station begins broadcasts 12 hours a day, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6 p.m.-Midnight
May 1988 WERU FCC lawyer Stephanie Sommer arrives 15 minutes before sign-on with license in hand, and with taped good wishes from Sens. Cohen and Mitchell: May 1
July 1988 Lighting stike damages transmitter during fundraising drive
August 1988 On air listener call-in capability becomes available
October 1988 WERU receives word of PTFP grant to build production studio with goal of all day broadcasting by spring 1989
October 1988 First Funathon ends with 589 members and over 40k raised
February 1989 Saturday and Sunday all day broadcasting begins
March 1989 Salt Air, WERU's printed program guide, begins being mailed to members
April 1989 WERU issues calls for volunteers for new "Public Affairs Unit"
May 1989 WERU receives contributions from 1300 contributors in first year
May 1989 Second Funathon reaches goals of 20k and 400 calls
May 1989 Over 300 hours of local non-music programming broadcast in first year
May 1989 One year birthday party lets listeners program station in 15 minute blocks-40 listeners participate
July 1989 Public Affairs Hour begins 4-5 p.m.: station now on air from 6:30 a.m.-12 midnihgt, except 2-4 p.m.
September 1989 Station goes on air 18 hours a day every day
November 1989 WERU recieves its first programming grant: for "Northern Lights" from Maine Community Foundation
April 1990 WERU reaches 1900 members
April 1990 WERU conducts first listener survey with assistance of UMaine students: gets amazing 54% response rate!
July 1990 First Full Circle Summer Fair attracts 4000 people, 150 exhibitors generates $15k for the station
July 1990 Deb Suran wins WERU's first national programming award from National Federation of Community Broadcasters for her promotional piece "Radio Trek"
February 1991 WERU receives "The Great Pioneer Award" from the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance on Feb. 2 for the stations's "dedication to justice and equality for Maine's lesbian and gay citizens."
February 1991 After a vote of station volunteers to hire a General Manager to replace the station's "troika" management structure, Jeff Kobrock hired as WERU's first full time station manager
August 1991 Full Circle Summer Fair draws 6500 people and generates $28,000
December 1991 David Snyder leaves WERU and steps out for new adventures after almost 10 years of helping to birth and nurture WERU
April 1992 WERU featured in national Knight-Ridder news article as "one of most innovative stations in New England
July 1992 Jeff Hansen hired as first Program Director "from away"
July 1992 7500 People attend second Full Circle Summer Fair which generates $27k for the station
July 1993 Full Circle Fair features Peter, Paul, and Mary Concert and generates significant proceeds for WERU and Emmaus Center
October 1993 Initial workshop for Healthy Station Project
March 1994 As part of Healthy Station Process, WERU's Mission is reviewed and approved as is. Operating Principles are developed
July 1994 Full Circle Summer Fair moves from Blue Hill Fairgrounds to Union Fairgrounds - 6000 attend
July 1994 At Full Circle Fair, Cathy Melio records over 100 "songs, poems, and jokes" by kids
August 1994 Matt Murphy becomes editor of Salt Air
September 1994 Jeff Hansen leaves as Program Director to go to KPFT, the Pacifica station in Houston
October 1994 Dave Pizscz becomes Interim Program Director
February 1995 BBC News Headlines begin broadcast on Morning Maine
March 1995 Dave Pizscz becomes Program Director after serving as Interim
June 1995 Voices, WERU's local news program, begins
July 1995 Paul Anderson, founder of Bronzewound and host since WERU's first week on the air steps aside as regular Bronzewound host
July 1995 Moring Maine begins experiment with having short local news reports by local newspaper reporters
July 1995 KMUD, Comunity Radio in Humboldt County CA, becomes WERU's Sister Station
September 1995 Congress, under the "Contract with America" cuts funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting costing WERU 26% of its CPB funding, a huge financial hit
September 1995 After four years as WERU's first General Manager, Jeff Kobrock leaves to become Bucksport's Development Director
October 1995 Cathy Melio becomes General Manager
October 1995 Board forms study committee to look into getting a stronger signal into the Bangor area
October 1995 As space at the Henhouse becomes tight and as the Henhouse is put up for sale, the Board forms a committee to study a permanent home for WERU
May 1996 At WERU's birthday party, listeners were once again invited to program the station for 15 minutes and many participated
June 1996 After six months of study and input meetings, the WERU Board decides to move to WERU's current location in Orland
July 1996 WERU serves as co-host of the first Grassroots Radio Conference held at KGNU in Colorado
July 1996 Don McKillop, WERU's first engineer who helped get the station on the air, departs
September 1996 WERU inaugurates a news hour from 5-6 p.m. on weekdays. "Democracy Now!" begins airing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; locally produced program "Maine Focus" airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
September 1996 Capital Campaign, "Let's Get Moving," gets under way to help pay for and renovate WERU's new Orland home
January 1997 On January 25, WERU holds its first party at the Orland location: Volunteer Appreciation Night
January 1997 On January 17, WERU begins broadcasting from the new Orland location. Chris Smither stops by and sings a few songs live from the new studios
February 1997 Move to the Orland location from the Henhouse complete
March 1997 First concert from the WERU "Community Room" in the basement of the Orland location: "Celebrating Celtic Women" for International Women's Day
July 1997 "WERU's First CD" becomes available with songs donated by musicians to benefit WERU
October 1997 WERU begins broadcasting 24/7!
October 1997 WERU Bangor Translator turns on at 102.9. Sign on party is October 12
November 1997 Radio Town Meetings begin from "Commuinty Room" in WERU's new building
January 1998 Henhouse Remote Studio closes
May 1998 WERU Celebrates 10th Anniversary with the broadcast of 10 days of live events from the station
November 1998 Left Bank Cafe in Blue Hill, source of recordings for many Concert Grand programs, is put up for sale
January 1999 Salt Air gets new design
March 1999 Joel Mann becomes Program Director
March 1999 Dave Pizscz becomes station's first full time News and Public Affairs Director to expand station's locally produced information programming
August 1999 WERU co-hosts national Grass Roots Radio Conference at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor
August 1999 Emma Finn becomes News and Public Affairs Director
August 1999 Dave Picscz steps down as News and Public Affairs Director, continues as volunteer host of Talking Furniture
October 1999 Matt Murphy becomes General Manager
October 1999 Cathy Melio steps down as General Manager, continues at WERU as a volunteer
January 2000 Cellar Door live concerts continue to be broadcast from lower level "Community Room" at WERU
February 2000 "Crisis" at Pacifica affects programming available to WERU. "Pacifica Network News," "Democracy Now" important programs for WERU listeners that originate from Pacifica
May 2000 WERU creates a part-time Production Director position.
January 2001 Salt Air program guide goes to quarterly schedule from bi-monthly
January 2001 Cherie Mason, long time volunteer focused on environmental issues, does final long form program on January 16
February 2001 WERU drops "Pacifica Network News" from schedule due to discord at Pacifica, seeks replacement news service
July 2001 Full Circle Fair fails to meet financial goals
July 2001 Don Furth, volunteer financial and database wizard, retires after 13 years, 40 Funathons, and 7 Full Circle Fairs
July 2001 Amy Goodman, host of "Democracy Now," is Keynote speaker at Full Circle Fair Jul 8
August 2001 WERU broadcasts an Old Time Radio show live from the Stonington Opera House
September 2001 WERU begins to work on first strategic plan
September 2001 Question arises for first time of whether the Full Circle Fair should continue and, if so, in what form
March 2002 Outline of first Strategic Plan emerges
April 2002 Midnight Oil performs live in Orono as a benefit for WERU on Apr 25 and fills what is now the Collins Center
July 2002 Lightning strike hits aging transmitter - knocks station off air completely, then to reduced power
August 2003 WERU begins broadcasting live from the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront (for the first three years, it was known as the National Folk Festival)
March 2004 WERU receives Watering Can Award from Maine Initiatives for exemplifying "the spirit of social change in Maine" (date approximate)
July 2004 WERU begins online streaming of its programming
July 2004 David Barsamian of Alternative Radio speaker at Full Circle Summer Fair
August 2004 WERU receives grant to expand its Youth Radio Project and "Teen Talk Show"
December 2004 WERU receives grant to produce "Common Health" radio programs from Sound Partners for Health
July 2005 In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, WERU does on air fundraising for "Pledge Day for the Maine Plan for Displaced Americans"
November 2005 WERU receives the "Rising Tide Award" from the Maine People's Alliance
March 2006 WERU Strategic Plan Goals published for listener comment
June 2006 WERU begins podcasting and making online archives available (date approximate)
June 2006 Democracy Now headlines begin broadcasting at 8 a.m. on Morning Maine
July 2006 WERU begins "low key" capital campaign to raise funds to replace transmitter and studio to transmitter link
July 2007 Helen Thomas, dean of White House press corps, gives keynote talk at Full Circle Fair
May 2008 WERU celebrates 20 years on the air May 1 with an Open House
August 2008 WERU hosts "Stories of WERU's Beginning:" anyone who wants comes to Blue Hill Library to share stories about WERU as part of the station's 20th Anniversary celebration
September 2008 WERU Board reluctantly decides to suspend producing the Full Circle Summer Fair: income had been declining for several years and the 2008 fair actually lost money after so much work and time contributed by volunteers
October 2008 WERU receives FCC approval to change antenna pattern to reach a larger area to the north and west
January 2009 WERU's 20+ year old transmitter fails again: station broadcasts at 600 watts instead of 12,000 for over three weeks while repairs are made
January 2010 WERU's Bangor translator (102.9) goes off air per FCC rules due to interference with a full power station that changed frequencies
March 2010 WERU web site redesigned to provide greater access to WERU info and past programs
June 2010 After putting the Capital Campaign on hold because of the recession, WERU restarts a captial campaign to purchase a new transmitter entitled "Full Power to the People"
September 2010 Music Director Maggie Overton recognized as "Specialty Music Director of the Year" by CMJ, a prominent industry magazine
April 2011 New WERU Bangor translator goes on air at 99.9 FM
August 2011 WERU hosts and records the first "WERU Community Story Forum," this one at the Blue Hill Library, where local folks are invited to come and share memories about their towns
September 2011 WERU co-sponsors first Maine Grassroots Media Conference at Unity College
July 2012 WERU finally replaces its original transmitter from 1988, and brings better sound and more reliability to the WERU signal
December 2012 On-air wedding of Howie Kittelson and Vera Jones broadcast live on WERU's "Head Rush" program
April 2013 WERU kicks off year-long 25th Anniversary Celebration with Music Sale and Spring Fling at the Belfast Boat House on April 27
May 2013 WERU 25th Anniversary of going on air May 1


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