By Marianne Scott Rushville Republican
---- — You hop in the car and without a thought turn on the radio. The radio ranks right up there with apple pie. Who do we credit with this audio entertainer? Well two men in particular, Serbian-American scientist Nikola Tesla and Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi went head-to-head in what would become the race to invent the radio. But more than 100 years later, ask any two people who invented the radio and you’re likely to get two different answers. The story is a murky one that mixes scientific discovery with lawsuits and good old-fashioned marketing. For argument sake let’s say Marconi comes out on top mainly by being in the right place at the right time. In 1904 the final patent was granted to Marconi for invention of the radio.
In Indiana one of the first radio stations was WOWO out of Ft. Wayne (March 1925) with a whopping 500 watts reach. Over the years stations have cropped up all over the Hoosier state. Today there are 379 FCC licensed radio stations in Indiana. Of that number, 38 are college radio stations and 15 are school corporation stations. So, the fact that Rushville Consolidated High Schools houses WRLN (91.9) and offers credited classes in communication is outstanding. The first Radio and TV Classes at RCHS (early 70’s), under the guidance of Principal Cyral Turner, were taught by John D. Wilson. There was no studio or licensed station for practice. Early radio efforts were done at a small local 10 watt station. These classes grew and it was WRCR that provided the format for a Saturday morning radio show called “What’s Happening.” Communication classes continued to grow and change under the leadership Jeff Hufford. Hufford taught Speech and coached several RCHS students in state Speech Contests.
In more recent years Ed Small (Director RCHS Radio/TV) sought out the purchase of the 91.9 frequency from Miami University (Miami of Ohio). This FCC license helps RCHS students reach approximately 100% of Rush County. As formats and listener preferences change, so has WRLN 91.9. “Today we are refreshing our music format to include a smattering of ‘Hot County’ hits. Part of the new format will also include two weather updates per hour and news on the 30’s. Each sport will have a student liaison who will host one live event coverage for that sport. The students are doing it all as they seek to learn more about live radio broadcasting,” stated Small. “All of this would not be possible without the great support we’ve received from our sponsors. Their willingness to step up and help underwrite this program has been impressive. As we move into our new format, there will be a more concerted effort for sponsors to support special events during the year. We are really excited about Refreshing Rush 91.9 and hope you’ll make us part of your listening preference,” cited Small.