100 Years as the Voice of Purdue
WBAA: 100 Years as the Voice of Purdue documents the fascinating history of WBAA, Indiana’s first radio station founded at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, on April 4, 1922. Richly illustrated with more than 150 photos, the book chronicles the station’s evolution over the years, while highlighting the staff, students, and volunteers significant to WBAA’s success.
WBAA began as a lab experiment conducted by Purdue electrical engineering students in 1910. Later, the station became a vital method for Purdue’s Cooperative Extension Service to broadcast the knowledge of the university, particularly agricultural news, to the people of the state.
From the 1960s to 1980s, WBAA aired Purdue basketball and football games, with station manager John DeCamp as the “Voice of the Boilermakers.” In 1971, WBAA became a member station of National Public Radio (NPR), offering popular programming such as All Things Considered and Morning Edition.
Listeners tuned into WBAA to hear classical, jazz, and international music, along with in-depth news reporting. Mayors and Purdue presidents aired weekly programs. WBAA gave a voice to arts and community organizations.
Read about the invention of the first all-electronic television by pioneering Purdue scientist Roscoe George; WBAA’s long-running School of the Air educational program deemed the “invisible textbook”; and the Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction (MPATI), an airplane that transmitted videos to schools while flying over six Midwestern states in the 1960s.
Famous WBAA alumni include NBC sportscaster Chris Schenkel, comedian Durward Kirby, Today Show newscaster Lew Wood, Indiana State Representative Sheila Klinker, actress Karen Black, and actor George Peppard, among others.
From the vacuum tube era to the digital age, this thoroughly researched book brings to light the intriguing backstories of the esteemed one hundred-year history of WBAA.