Princeton Keeps WPRB’s History Alive

WPRB’s Mike Lupica curated the exhibit with help from Princeton University archivist Dan Linke.
In honor of its 75th anniversary, Princeton University’s college radio station WPRB curated a special exhibit full of radio artifacts: “WPRB: A Haven for the Creative Impulse.”

Containing a variety of materials, the exhibit traces the station’s long history from its start as carrier current radio station WPRU beginning in 1940, to the launch of WPRB(FM) in 1955, to its current incarnation as one of the rare commercial FM college radio stations in the United States.

Licensed to the Princeton Broadcasting Service, WPRB is unusual in that it a student-oriented radio station run by a nonprofit organization that is separate from the university.

The exhibit captures the story and culture of WPRB as told through station equipment, music and ephemera. Carts, reel-to-reel tapes, 7-inch records, an instant replay machine and a massive vintage Gates board (WPRB’s Educational Advisor Mike Lupica describes it as “a tank”), rescued from a dumpster by a former WPRB volunteer are reminders of college radio’s ever-changing technological needs.

Press clippings, photos, playlists, program guides, fan letters and a fascinating collection of promotional items (including T-shirts, buttons and a WPRU ashtray from 1954) fill the glass display cabinets, giving a sense of life at WPRU/WPRB in many different eras.

The physical exhibit closed earlier this year but the affiliated WPRB History website (wprbhistory.org) is online and is chock full of photos, stories and sounds from the station’s 75 years on the air.



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