90.5 FM Athens
WUOG
WUOG 1975.jpg

Original logo by Doug Hollingsworth

WUOG FM 2020.jpeg
WUOG 1984.png
Last one left.png
Last One Left Bumper Sticker.jpg
WUOG Circle.png
WUOG 2012.png
WUOG 2015.png

WUOG Signs On: October 16, 1972

Click on images to enlarge

FCC Telegram 1972.jpg

FCC telegram authorizing WUOG

WUOG 1972 Sign On.jpg

At sign on: first program director Beau Allen, UGA President Fred Davison, General Manager Ed Dunbar

UGA Pres Fred Davison Signs On.jpg

UGA President Fred Davison at the board

Ed Dunbar Sign On Oct 72.jpg

General Manager Ed Dunbar signs on WUOG

Day before signon Ron Parker.jpg

Ron Parker memory about the day before sign-on

Wilbur Herrington engineer.jpg

WUOG Chief Engineer Wilbur Harrington

R&B WUOG Signs On.jpg
303248869_10114450597194230_6116415144626802868_n.jpg

Some of the 97 steps to the 5th-floor studios. Courtesy Jennifer Griffith.

Broadcast honoring WUOG's first anniversary in October 1973. (Courtesy Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection)

Icon-Color.png

(Part 1) WUOG's first anniversary includes one of the first Athens bands and the Athens tornado, covered by WUOG. Click the icon to listen. (Courtesy Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection)

Icon-Color.png

(Part 3) WUOG's student management team remembers the first days on the air. (Courtesy Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection)

Icon-Color.png

(Part 4) Station manager Ed Dunbar talks about putting the station on the air. Click the icon to listen. (Courtesy Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection)

Did you know? The original plan for what became WUOG was to install small transmitters in Creswell, Russell, and Brumby, connected to the phone lines to emit a 100 milliwatt signal that could be received only in and near those buildings.

 

In the early days of WUOG, the 3,200-watt ERP era mainly, the station would be knocked off the air occasionally in the winter because of icing on the transmitting antenna.  This would cause the power to be deflected back down the transmission line, potentially burning it, so the station would have to shut down until the ice melted.

One day in 1977, Engineer Alvin Saylors, PD Bill French, and GM (and now Friends of Georgia Radio Honoree) Neil Williamson got tired of sitting around waiting on the ice to melt, so they went up to the tower.  Neil climbed up the tower and knocked the ice off, allowing the station to sign back on!

 

With raises in power to 10,000, then 26,000 watts in later years, icing is much less of a problem, I assume! — Roy Greene

T-shirts through the years

from WUOG Alumni Facebook page

(Click to enlarge photos)

244444432_10160226659849880_4390894951800301893_n.jpg
245428299_10159335057219597_4085142074023450070_n.jpg
245386157_10159335058434597_6213092285515649986_n.jpg
240196191_10224527488366545_2850366279644209327_n.jpg
241190698_10224527484726454_8634087340222659063_n.jpg
245221928_4589219514469426_3264014702323087501_n.jpg
240207544_10224527477886283_4601281842113216271_n.jpg
244748356_10159099657650873_99276160078308099_n.jpg
245049159_10103759710257314_6326062102504195730_n.jpg
245018491_10159099657870873_9062562912335463387_n.jpg
245238042_10103759709932964_5961778935548978881_n.jpg
240605358_10224527479406321_8717229018672981139_n.jpg
245019674_10159316629284876_5820736811665492766_n.jpg
245117210_10159460772161624_3333245295992194549_n.jpg
245261682_10159460774871624_4869591080089475779_n.jpg
244511677_10159460774331624_4168901023357217886_n.jpg
244506945_10159460776001624_4700869128629366931_n.jpg
244794303_10159460773781624_6023377242490189398_n-1.jpg
245015347_10224527501966885_7651445418758077180_n.jpg
Screen Shot 2022-04-15 at 10.46.49 AM.png

March 31, 1973: WUOG covers the deadly Athens tornado as the only local station on the air

167990888_1409147812751853_4088732845567913756_n.jpg

GM Patti Oates remembers, courtesy of the WUOG Alumni Facebook page: I started thinking about the tornado we experienced in Athens on March 31, 1973. WUOG was only about 5 months old at the time but I remember staffers reporting from the street as we broadcast the news from Memorial Hall during the event. I had to look up the details of the tornado: it was an F3 or F4 tornado that took a 75 mile path generally along Hwy 78, hitting Athens a little after 7pm. Two folks died and many were injured. One of our reporters was a Vietnam vet named Pat who always wore camouflage gear. As he made his way to Prince Avenue I worried about him for two reasons: he was in the thick of the damage and I hoped some PTSD wouldn't be triggered by what he was seeing. My recollection was that WUOG was the only radio station on the air for a portion of the evening. A National Weather Service report I found online says "all three Athens radio stations - WRFC, WDOL, and WGAU - were knocked off the air." Even though the NWS didn't acknowledge our existence, we did receive a commendation certificate from the Governor's office for the service we provided the community.

WUOG Program Guide | November 1975

DB224AB9-2A02-471E-9112-19B844CFA7B2_1_105_c.jpeg
WUOG Schedule 1974.jpg
October 1974 Playlist.jpg
WUOG staff 1975-1.jpg

1975 WUOG staff

from Pandora yearbook

WUOG staff 1976 page 1.jpeg
WUOG staff 1976 page 2.jpg

1976 WUOG staff

from Pandora yearbook

WUOG Ort.jpg
Icon-Color.png

In the early to mid-'70s, a staple of WUOG was the National Lampoon Radio Hour, where John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray first got public attention. Click the icon to listen. (Courtesy Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection)

Ort circa 1976

Log.jpg

Station log | 4/21/1977

Robert Klein WUOG ID | 1976Courtesy of Richard Warner
00:00 / 00:48

Before his performance for students in Memorial Hall, we asked comedian Robert Klein, often featured on "NBC Saturday Night" (as it was first known) to cut an ID.

Complete 1977 training manual by John Kelly | courtesy of Keith Kozicki and Jan Hickel

WUOG Warner in studio.JPG

Richard Warner in the production room | 1976

WUOG 1977 print ad.jpg

Print ad | 1977

RGA _ Aware Force  7.jpeg
Red Black 10kw congrats 1977.jpg

Red & Black editorial on WUOG 10kw | 1977

Business cards | 1977-78

At the end of each quarter in the mid-'70s, WUOG would air a freewheeling, sometimes-good, usually-awful program of music and skits called "Smoke Damage." It often included trips out the window of WUOG to the roof of Memorial Hall, where staffers would toss promo copies of LPs to passers-by. 

WUOG Murray, Long, JK, Abdul.JPG

Bill Murray, Bobby Long, John Kelly, Mitchell Feldman writing "Smoke Damage" | 1977

WUOG Murray, Warner, Abdul.JPG

Pete Lamb, Richard Warner, Bill Murray, Mitchell Feldman writing "Smoke Damage" | 1977

Smoke Damage 1977
00:00 / 31:15
John Kelly _ Billy Sherrill.jpg
WUOG Midday News Jan 24 77 Snowday
00:00 / 40:49

In 1977-78, WUOG aired a half-hour weeknight newscast called "Athens Tonight" and a 15-minute newscast at 11:30 am called "Midday." Here's a Midday with Kay Warnalis and Bill French, when a morning snowfall disrupted University classes.

John Kelly RandB article.jpg
Red and Black Feb 10 1978.jpg

Kissinger controversy | 2/10/78

nhw at WUOG 1979.jpg

Neil "Hondo" Williamson on the air | 1979

Disco News March 31 1978Courtesy of Keith Kozicki
00:00 / 15:22

The WUOG Kelman Scale | 1978

Kelman Scale Summer.gif
KelmanFall.gif

Photos of WUOG staff from 1978-79. Bill French, Ken Gallo and Steve Kelman, Rick Ruskell and Julie Herron, Julie, John Auskelis and friends, and Lauri DeMaso.

Bill French.jpg
Ken Gallo _ Steve Kelman.jpg
Rick Ruskell _ Julie Heron.jpg
Julie Heron.jpg
John Auskelis and group.jpg
Lori Demauso.jpg

The Wuoggerz

R.E.M. and the Police figure into the tale of the Wuoggerz, a pick-up band of 90.5 personnel in the late '70s that achieved minor fame until final exams ended their story. Neil "Hondo" Williamson, later featured on University of Georgia Bulldog football radio broadcasts, picks up the story.

Neil Williamson remembers the Wuoggeerz
00:00 / 07:12
Wuoggerz JPride jammin.jpg
Wuoggerz Donna Johnson.jpg
Wuoggerz Memorial Hall last show.jpg
Wuoggerz Bill on drums.jpg
Wuoggerz and Wuoggettes Memorial Hall.jpg
Wuoggerz Georgia Theatre from Sam.jpg
Neil Williamson.jpg
Wuoggerz.jpg

UGA administration takes WUOG off the air

For about two months in 1981, the University of Georgia's administration turned off the 90.5 FM signal. Mike Henry, whose career as a respected radio consultant included reformatting NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition, and consulted dozens of commercial and public stations across the US and Canada, was named general manager as the station returned to the air. It led to a college radio renaissance. He's interviewed by Richard Warner.

Former WUOG General Manager Mike Henry on WUOG's rebirth after the shutdown
00:00 / 21:14
R&B Editorial WUOG Sign Off.jpg
R&B Alumni Letter Sign Off.jpg
Red and Black FCC Feb 1981.jpg

Alumni response to WUOG shutdown | Feb 1981

Red and Black March 1981.jpg

FCC on WUOG shutdown | March 1981

Banner Herald Article WUOG Relaunch.jpg
R&B WUOG Names Some New Staff Mar 81.jpg
R&B Apr 81 Mike Henry Please.jpg
Mike Henry 2002.jpg

1981 GM Mike Henry at 2002 Reunion

Record library

Record library

WUOG Control Room 1982 circa.jpg

Control room 1982

1982 Staff picture.jpeg
WUOG 1982.png

Playlist October 1982

Daily News Klan on WUOG 1981.jpg

The KKK on 90.5FM Airwaves

1982 Staff photo

Exec Staff 1983-4.jpeg

Executive Staff 1983-84: Mary Ellen Emerson, David Wellham, Craig Williams, Ken Norton, Lou Lemon, Theresa Morgan, Jennifer Griffith, Shiela Jones, Melissa Harrell. 

Oct 83 11th Anniversary.jpeg

The date: October 1983. The occasion: 90.5 FM's 11th-anniversary celebration at the 40 Watt Club Uptown. Melissa Harrell and Craig Williams. 

Zell Miller Lt Gov letter.jpeg

Letter from Lt. Gov. Zell Miller

WUOG Playlist Aug 28 83.jpeg

Aug 28, 1983 Playlist: WUOG playlist for the week of August 28, 1983: Craig Williams’ first as program/music director. Susan Murphy was the assistant program director. Hand-typed with corrections courtesy of Liquid Paper. Remember, this was ALL alternative in 1983.

Fall 83 Program Guide.jpeg

Fall 1983

Bumper Sticker 1984.jpeg

Bumper Sticker 1984

Memorial Hall: Home to WUOG 1972-2008

At sign-on in 1972, the station occupied 1/3 of the top floor of Memorial Hall, then the student activities building. There was no wheelchair access. Accessing the station required walking up 97 steps. By 1980, the station took over the rest of the top floor, displacing offices of the Pandora yearbook. UGA was the largest university in the country without a dedicated student center until the Tate Center opened. State representative Bob Argo announced plans to fund construction in the spring of 1978.

Memorial Hall.jpeg

WUOG offices were on the top floor.

Tate-Student-Center-Exterior-1024x683.jpeg

WUOG's current home is at Tate Student Center, across from Memorial Hall. 

Floor Plan entire 5th floor.jpg

WUOG takes over the 5th floor in Memorial Hall, displacing the Pandora yearbook.

1681_690453862810_4295_n.jpg
4e31f-wuogpamjustinconcerts001.webp

From Athens Music Junkie: a 

commentary about the move out of Memorial Hall.

Control room, the last day in Memorial Hall, December 17, 2008. The last song played was "Only the Beginning" by Chicago, which was also the first song played during the station's debut 36 years earlier. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Griffith.

From Athens Music Junkie: a 

commentary about the early days in the Tate Center.

Chase_McGee2.jpeg
mix-board-768x512.jpeg

WUOG in its current digs. Photo: Andrew Davis Tucker | UGA

44263677_10109199040600740_3267329330287476736_n (1).jpg

WUOG studios in the lobby of the Tate Student Center in 2016. Jennifer Griffith is on the air during alumni weekend. Photo by WUOG alum Jon Milavec.

Classic Programming

Click to enlarge photos.

Annual Pancake Toss across the Oconee River

R&B Pancake Toss article Feb.jpg
Pancake Toss.jpg
Pancake Toss Photo.jpg
Pancake Toss photo 2.jpg

The Know It Alls

April 12, 1979. Station management, led by Neil "Hondo" Williamson and Bill "Not Hondo" French, had called for new ideas that could be tried at the station. Jim Forbes, Chuck Westbrook, and John Kukla proposed the idea of a 30-minute game show where two in-studio contestants answered trivia questions, and listeners could phone in to play along. The very first night, when a contestant was stumped on a question, the right answer was supplied by a call-in group called "The Brewmasters." They would be regular fixtures for the entire three-year run, along with a gaggle (yes, I said, gaggle) of groups ranging from The Astronomy Club, the Greasemongers, Mr. DNA, and the "3-C Insanitorium." I think we may have invented team trivia...we just didn't know it! In 1980 and 1981, the championship was held in Memorial Hall Ballroom where a live audience could win prizes. The concept continued for years after with "Head-to-Head", "Sports Stumpers with Neil Maziar" and "Good Question." Did we fit in at WUOG? No...and therefore, YES. That was the joy of 90.5 FM, for which we'll always be grateful. These three episodes give you a snapshot of UGA life and pop culture at that week in history....plus a squeaking duck.  

Know It Alls Ad.jpg
Know It Alls May.jpg
Know It Alls Kukla.jpg
Know It Alls.jpg

Chuck Westbrook, Host John Kukla, announcer Jim Forbes

THE KNOW IT ALLS Oct 16 1979 Rob Rushin vs Danny Newman Anniversary week_01
00:00 / 29:30
THE KNOW IT ALLS Championship May 1980 Neil Williamson vs Stan McElroy (first 30 questions
00:00 / 16:44
THE KNOW IT ALLS Feb 9 1981 Astronomy Club vs Greasemongers_01
00:00 / 26:42

As Athens music became increasingly influential,

90.5FM was at the forefront.

"Live in the Lobby" concerts

Live in the Lobby.jpg
Live in the Lobby 2.jpg
Record Rep Pitch Circa 1985.jpg
Rolling Stone on UOG Apr 86.jpg
e84e2-wrem.webp

WUOG and R.E.M.: article in Athens Music Junkie

Icon-Color.png

February 16, 1988: Mike Mills and Peter Buck of R.E.M. on WUOG's "Sound of the City" with Jennifer Fox Armour.

Click the icon to visit the SoundCloud link.

WUOG 88 photo.png

Program Guides through the years

Click to enlarge

Complete WUOG program guide | May 1977

1980 program guide.jpg

1980

Summer 1994 Program Guide.jpg
Winter 1984 Program Guide cover.jpeg
Winter 1984 Program Guide.jpeg

Winter 1984, pages 2-3

REM Cart _ Craig Williams.jpg

Early R.E.M. on cart. Courtesy Craig Williams.

Summer 1984

Winter 1984 

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 10.56.48 AM.jpeg
Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 10.29.56 AM.jpeg

Playlists from March and April 1989, as published in the Flagpole newspaper. Click to enlarge. Courtesy of Music Director 1988-1991 Andy Miller.

Fall 1998 Program Guide.jpg

Fall 1998

Fall 1999 Program Guide.jpg

Fall 1999

Fall 2005 Program Guide.jpg

Summer 2005

Spring 2002 Program Guide.jpg

Spring 2002

Spring 2005 Program Guide.jpg

Spring 2005

Spring 2014 Program Guide.jpg
Spring 2008 Program Guide.jpg
Summer 2000 Program Guide.jpg

Summer 2000

Fall 2010 Program Guide.jpg
Spring 2016 Program Guide.jpg

Spring 2014

Spring 2008

Fall 2010

Spring 2015

Summer 1997 Program Guide.jpg

Undated

Circa Summer 2000 Program Guide.jpg

Undated

WUOGExecutiveStaff1989.jpg

1989 Executive Staff

R&B Apr 2005 Off Air License Issue.jpg

2005 Oops: forgot to renew the license...

Pandora, 1993.jpg
In front of WUOG Vinyl Archive 1992-93.jpg

Lynn Harris Medcalf in front of WUOG vinyl, 1992

from UGA Pandora yearbook, 1993

TV Commercial Swine.jpg
WUOG 2018 Reunion.jpg
140265207_10112692988471200_2921051292574090549_n.jpg

Jennifer Griffith with stepson Colton, who passed in 2020.

WUOG 2018 reunion of pioneer staffers: Patti Oates, Tommy Bowden, Jake Lamb, Don Sylvester, John Kelly, Iris. :-) 

Courtesy Lynn Harris Medcalf.

UOG 2022.jpg

Caroline Smith and the 2022 WUOG crew.

Posters

WUOG 2020a.jpeg
WUOG Vote.jpeg
WUOG 2020.jpeg
Barn Show 2019.jpeg
2018 sign ups.jpeg

2018 Signups

2019 DJs.jpeg

Class of 2019 DJs

Mike Henry article.png
Always a Bulldog.png

Article on Mike Henry (GM in early '80s)

Ernie Johnson, Jr (Sportscaster in 1977) | UGA 2017 Commencement Speech

Quote from Neil Williamson (GM in early '80s) in "Always a Bulldog"

Don Sylvester (WUOG mid '70s) wins Oscar for Best Sound Editing for "Ford vs Ferrari 2020"

WUOG History (from Wikipedia)

The station first broadcast on October 16, 1972, with a 3,200-watt signal. In 1977, WUOG's wattage was increased to 10,000 watts, and in 1994 the station reached its current 26,000 watts, making it one of the most powerful college stations in the country.

 

The transmitter sits atop Brumby Community on the UGA campus, broadcasting at an effective radius of 60 miles or 100 km.

With the exception of a period of time in 1981 and 2005 when the station was shut down for non-compliance of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules, WUOG has operated for 18 to 24 hours each day. The station is maintained and run entirely by a 200-student staff of volunteers. 18 executive members oversee the staff and the day-to-day operation of the station.

WUOG offers regular rotation programming as well as specialty shows. "Rotation" consists of new and old music of any genre that falls within the bounds of WUOG's music philosophy. Once stated as the axiom "If they don't need us, we don't need them", the music philosophy strives to include artists whose music is rarely heard elsewhere. WUOG also carries specialty show programming ranging from Middle Eastern music to new wave, oldies to bluegrass music. News shows, talk shows, and sports shows air throughout the week.

It was on WUOG that R.E.M. was first broadcast; a live recording of "Hippy, Hippy Shake" was played in the summer of 1980. Drummer Bill Berry was also in a short-lived combo of radio personalities from the station, known as the WUOGerz.

In late June 2006, it was discovered that the station was causing electromagnetic interference to a nuclear chemistry laboratory on campus. To alleviate this, the station temporarily went off-air on weekdays from 7 AM and resumed broadcast at 4 PM, as well as on late nights and weekends, while the lab work was done. Electronic filters eliminated the problem on July 13, allowing WUOG to return to a normal schedule. 

On February 21, 2009, the lobby of the new WUOG station inside Tate Student Center was named in honor of Wilbur Herrington. The Wilbur Herrington Lobby memorializes Wilbur's service as the station's engineer since the station's first broadcast in 1972. Herrington had received help in the early stages of applying for an FCC license from broadcast engineers at Athens commercial station WRFC Athens, chiefly Larry Melear (a graduate of the UGA School of Broadcasting) and Everett Langford.