Rudman Foundation donates $10,000 to Haverford High radio station

Posted: February 20, 2013

In an effort to bring one of the nation's most venerable high school radio stations up to 21st-century standards, the Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation has donated $10,000 to Haverford High School's WHHS (99.9 FM).

WHHS, which began broadcasting in 1949 and claims to be the nation's first high school station, is in the process of renewing its FCC registration, which requires an updated system.

The station's current equipment does not have the power or digital capacity needed to run a modern studio. The main console is 15 years old, and the computer monitors have been scavenged from leftovers in the school.

"We have an aging infrastructure. This grant allows us to get new equipment and computer programs, things we need to refurbish the studio," said Ed Weiss, the faculty adviser.

The donation strengthens the station's renewal bid at a time when the school budget is tightening and many high school radio stations across the country are disappearing.

"My essential tactic to giving is that I look for vacuums and critical needs, especially things that should have been done but haven't been done yet," Kal Rudman said.

Rudman, through his industry publications, was a major player in shaping the popular music landscape of the mid- to late 20th century. His career started in radio, and he said his first big break came when he was 15, at Central High School, working with the city's high school radio program.

Haverford's radio station produces 30 weekly shows with the help of 125 student volunteers. It operates 24 hours daily, but is hosted live by student DJs from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 10 p.m. Programming ranges from alternative rock to an all-French broadcast.

"It's a great way to allow the students' voices to be heard," said Brendan Monahan, a senior who serves as the student station general manager.

Currently, the station uses 10 watts of power, enough to power a lightbulb, to broadcast its signal, which reaches most of Delaware County.

Improved equipment will allow the station to reach a larger audience, Weiss said, and to live-stream over the Internet.

Besides being an extracurricular activity, the station serves as training for students looking to go into the music/radio field.

Notably, Ross Katz, a Golden Globe-winning producer of the film Lost in Translation and HBO, once manned the airwaves.

"It's one of the only opportunities in school where you can get hands-on experience," Monahan said. "I'm going to college for music technology, and this is where I found my love for it."


Contact Jeremy Dillon at 610-313-8119 or jdillon@phillynews.com.

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