A series of events have been planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University of Georgia’s alternative college radio station WUOG(FM), an all-volunteer, non-commercial station that remains devoted to airing programming often neglected on commercially operated channels.
Since its inception on Oct. 22, 1972, WUOG has been operated solely by University of Georgia students. The station returned from a university shut down in 1981 with a focus on broadcasting local bands from the growing Athens music scene as well embracing a strong college radio movement in the 1980s that supported bands like U2, The Police, Talking Heads and Pretenders —all of which kicked off the modern alternative commercial radio format.
The station kickstarted the careers of many media professionals including Atlanta Braves TV sportscaster Chip Carey, TBS sportscaster Ernie Johnson Jr., musician Danger Mouse and longtime Georgia TV and radio broadcaster Richard Warner.
“The University of Georgia has launched the broadcasting careers of many over the years, but beyond that, it was the heart of our college experience,” said Warner. “We made lifelong friendships and some of our most precious memories.
“Station alum are flying in from all over the country to see each other,” he said about the upcoming 50th anniversary event. “It’s been a long time … but in other ways, it was yesterday.”
Today, the station plays a progressive mix of independent and local music as well as broadcasts in-depth interviews with alternative bands, local news, politics, sports and public affairs programs.
To honor the station, a free concert will be given by the band Pylon, a 1970s group and WUOG darling who opened for the Talking Heads, The B-52s and had their song “Crazy” covered by R.E.M. The original vocalist of Pylon will be joined on stage by other members of the band’s current iteration — the Pylon Reenactment Society — at a private concert on Friday, Oct. 21 at the bar Sister Louisa’s Church in Athens.
Also, on Oct. 21, University of Georgia alumni will gather to participate in a panel discussion entitled “Talk about the Passion — WUOG at 50: Looking Back and Looking Ahead.”
Station alumni looking for more information on the 50th anniversary events can connect with organizers here.