Pictured here are members of the WSHU Public Radio Group staff, including:
Back row (left to right): General Manager George Lombardi, Music Director Kate Remington and Program Director Tom Kuser, and front row (left to right): News Director Naomi Starobin and Development Director Gillian Anderson. Photo credit: Jens Haulund. (contributed photo)
The WSHU Public Radio Group (Fairfield, CT, www.wshu.org) announced on Thursday its 30th anniversary as an NPR member station. The milestone comes at a time when WSHU has been garnering recognition and industry awards for its high quality news and content, as well as its commitment to classical music programming.
In 1984, WSHU was a small station, newly re-minted as a public radio station. Under General Manager George Lombardi’s leadership, WSHU joined NPR and re-affirmed its commitment to classical music programming. Since then, WSHU has grown in quality, scope, and reach. The Group now comprises seven licensed stations and seven additional translators. Its unique combination of NPR News, talk, classical music, and weekend entertainment can be heard from Greenwich all the way to New London, Connecticut…in Litchfield County, CT…throughout Suffolk County on Long Island, in northern Dutchess County, NY…and into parts of Rhode Island and Westchester County, NY. WSHU has over 275,000* loyal listeners, and has seen a tremendous increase in support from individuals, foundations and corporations.
According to Lombardi, “1984 was a very important year for WSHU. We hired additional professional staff and became an NPR member station, which expanded our programming, providing us with the kind of in-depth, insightful reporting that is a hallmark of public radio. And, it made us part of a prestigious group of what today is now 268 NRP members operating over 835 radio stations across the country.”
In the years that followed and leading up to this 30th anniversary, WSHU made many major strides in programming, recognition and community outreach. In 1985, for example, it expanded its programming on Saturdays with “Weekend Edition” hosted by Scott Simon. That same year, it began airing “Morning Edition” with Bob Edwards on weekday mornings.
1987 saw WSHU’s transmitter power increase from 1,000 to 12,500 watts bringing its signal to east of New Haven and parts of Long Island. That year, WSHU also premiered Sunday Baroque, a program of early classical music which is now broadcast on over 100 stations across the country, in Guam and in the N. Marianas Islands. In 1991, it established its first Long Island News Bureau. Over the next several years, WSHU added other dynamic programs, from NPR’s enormously popular “Car Talk” to David Bouchier’s “Sunday Matinee.” For years, acclaimed sports writer Frank Deford recorded his weekly commentaries, heard nationwide on NPR, at WSHU’s Fairfield studios. Always committed to serving the community, in 2001, WSHU launched its “Music in Our Schools” outreach program through which it brings cast members from Broadway shows to perform for local, winning schools.
In 2006, WSHU established the Local News Initiative Fund through which it sought to improve the quantity and quality of regional news coverage done by its own reporters. As a result of this focus and funding, WSHU has gained recognition for its high quality journalism. In 2010, it received one of journalism’s most esteemed awards, the national “Edward R. Murrow Award.” It was just one of many other honors it received including awards from the Fair Media Council, the Society of Professional Journalists and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI). 2010 was also marked with WSHU’s acquisition of WQQQ which, in turn, expanded its reach into Litchfield County, Connecticut. Three other acquisitions would follow: WYBC in 2011 and WSTC and WNLK in 2012, extending the station’s western reach in Southern Connecticut as far as Greenwich.
There have been countless other major achievements over the past three decades since WSHU became an NPR radio station. Through the course of its growth and development, WSHU has remained committed to is primary mission to be a unique and independent voice in the communities it serves. The tremendous growth has left WSHU truly outgrowing its existing facility, and in the early planning stages for a new, larger and updated facility.
For more information about WSHU and the 30th Anniversary Celebration, which will be held on Sunday, April 6th in The Garden Terrace Room of the New York Botanical Garden (Bronx, NY), or to purchase tickets at $150 per guest or $1,000 for a table of eight, visit: www.wshu.org or contact: contact: Gail Hunt at: 203.371.1251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.