90.7 The Leap has a long-standing tradition at Alfred State College. Students tinkering with radio paraphernalia in the early 1960s felt they could provide some entertainment to Happy Valley. A few Alfred State engineering technology faculty and staff took an interest, and soon the carrier current station, WVAT (“Wonderful Voice of Alfred Tech”), was broadcasting in January 1965. WVAT alumni Bob Ribbeck remembers that initially, “…the studios were in the old dairy building on the University side of the valley, and then [moved] to a shared space with Tor Echo in the lower campus.”
By the late 1960s, music and radio were a powerful means of social awareness, which drew more than just engineers to the studio. In 1973, the Alfred Educational Foundation received the first FCC license for WETD (“W Engineering Technology Department”). The station’s studio and 10 watt transmitter were originally located in Wood Hall, but then the main studio was later moved to Alfred State’s Engineering Technology Building.
The 1970s saw a campus-wide involvement by students from all curriculum resulting in Student Senate funding the operation as a student club/organization. There were strict programming and hours of operation….Mondays (12-2a.m.) Welcome Back to School, Thursdays (6-8 a.m.) Pub Recovery, Saturdays (8-11 a.m.) Beatle Invasion….. It was a character-building time for WETD, but mostly engineering based.
The station moved its operations to the basement of the Orvis Activities Center in the 1980s with much-needed equipment improvements including new turntables, cassette and reel-to-reel tape decks, cart machines, and a 50-watt transmitter (yes, we passed on the 8 tracks). But visibility was an issue, so plans were drafted in the 1990s under the leadership of Faculty Advisor Mark Amman to have the studios in a more accessible space with much more transmitter power and technology options, as well as off-air opportunities.
After over 4 years of support and design by Prof. Amman & former ASC President Anderson, WETD’s main studios were moved from Orvis to the new Student Leadership Center’s prime 4th floor Student Media Suite location in August 2013. The Student Leadership Center replaces Orvis as the primary hub of student activities and also serves as a comprehensive connection point for students, faculty, and staff to access leadership and civic engagement opportunities on campus, in the greater Alfred community, and beyond.
In recent years, WETD has become a beacon of light at Alfred State College and surrounding communities by attending national college media conferences in New York City, Atlanta, & San Antonio designed for the advancement of college media. In addition WETD has gained membership in the New York State Broadcasters Association (NYSBA) and College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI) to further improve the listening experiences of our audience. In Sept. 2013, WETD was honored with a Wellsville Chamber of Commerce membership for our support of community events.
WETD’s DJs and alumni are proud of our heritage, and hope to serve our listeners with even more in the years ahead!