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WYSO's Sonic 60th: Growth And Fundraising In 1974

We’re celebrating WYSO’s 60th birthday this year by listening to highlights from our historic audio collection.

In the early 1970s. WYSO had a growth spurt, adding staff and expanding the listening area. In 1973 came the first grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The money allowed us to buy programs from NPR for the first time. Also that year, the first on-air fundraiser was held. Listeners and businesses donated goods and services for an on-air auction, things like airplane rides and fresh baked bread. The fundraisers were called marathons. Regular programming was suspended for four straight days. Those who remember say the programming was wild and kinda wacky, and the few precious recordings we have confirm that things did get pretty squirrelly.

There was a lot of pressure to make money. That year membership jumped from 3 to 130 in nine months, so that was good, but we had just increased the broadcasting power and gone from 91 point five to 91 point three on the dial – and had to pay back a loan from Antioch College by July first, so the pressure was on. The marathon goal was $7,000.

Of course, we made the goal. WYSO listeners always come through. 

You can record a birthday greeting for WYSO.  Here's how:

Plan a message about 90 seconds long.  You can start it like this:

Hi, my name is _______________ and I’m from ________________.  I’ve been listening to WYSO since_______________ and  (pick one): 

  • My favorite memory of WYSO is_________________
  • I hope WYSO never loses its ______________________
  • The funniest thing I ever heard on WYSO is _______________________
  • Listening to WYSO has been important to me over the years because_____________________.
  • WYSO is different from other radio stations because_________________.

…or craft your own message.
Record this on the voice memo app on your phone.  Send that to: wyso@wyso.org

OR  if you don’t want to use a voice memo app on your smart phone, call this number and record your message.  937-769-1374.


Jocelyn Robinson is a Yellow Springs, Ohio-based educator, media producer, and radio preservationist. As an educator, Robinson has taught transdisciplinary literature courses incorporating critical cultural theory and her scholarship in self-definition and identity. She also teaches community-based and college-level classes in digital storytelling and narrative journalism.
Neenah Ellis has been a radio producer most of her life. She began her career at a small commercial station in northern Indiana and later worked as a producer for National Public Radio in Washington, DC. She came to WYSO in 2009 and served as General Manager until she became the Executive Director of The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices where she works with her colleagues to train and support local producers and has a chance to be a radio producer again. She is also the author of a New York Times best-seller called “If I Live to Be 100: Lessons from the Centenarians.”