This Tuesday, college radio station WJCU(FM) will be broadcasting from its former home: An old clock tower located at the center of John Carroll University’s campus in University Heights, Ohio. The station was originally housed in the clock tower from the 1960s until 1984. This will be the first broadcast from the old studio in more than 14,000 days.
Starting at 6 p.m. on March 28, WJCU staff will return to the unoccupied clock tower studio for a six-hour special broadcast dubbed “Turn Back the Clock.” The event will feature the return of a couple hundred WJCU alumni and on-air personalities, throwback music and local government officials like University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan.
WJCU is a noncommercial FM station owned and operated by John Carroll University. With both studio and transmitter facilities located on the JCU campus, WJCU operates 24/7 with an effective radiated power of 2.5 kW at 88.7 MHz, heard across the greater Cleveland area.
The clock tower itself was constructed on Oct. 7, 1935. When the radio station was physically located inside the tower, it was known as WUJC, not WJCU.
WJCU’s Director of Promotions and Events Zachary Sinutko said the studio was eventually moved out of the clock tower to a more practical location in the student center on campus, where it still resides today.
“Back in the day it was reported via local news that it was struck by lightning at one point in time,” said Sinutko. “Safety concerns and the visibility of the studio were some of the leading contributors as to why the studio was left abandoned in 1984 when we moved to our permanent new location.”
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Since being abandoned, Sinutko said the clock tower studio has been left mostly untouched.
“We’ve made some minor changes to the space, such as cleaning and rearranging equipment, but we’ve kept it as similar to the original studio as possible,” he said.
The decoration and restoration process of the old space began this past Friday to “give the studio the retro feeling it once had.” The upcoming broadcast will use modern equipment provided by WJCU and Radio One in Cleveland.
“We’ll also tap directly into the server room adjacent to the clock tower studio through direct cables via a Mackie board, [Shure] SM7B’s and pioneer digital turntables,” said Sinutko. “This server room is the active server room for WJCU and has been since the clock tower studio was occupied.”
The vinyl library room of the studio will also be open to alumni during the broadcast.
After the broadcast, the studio will once again sit abandoned; however, Sinutko said he would love to see more special broadcasts like Turn Back the Clock in the future.
“We currently have over 200 alumni signed up to help with the broadcast and we can’t wait to see how it goes. As I approach graduation I am excited to see who I can pass the torch onto of continuing to do cool events such as this one.”
WJCU is also known for breaking the Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Radio Interview last year.
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Yesterday was the very special Turn Back The Clock Tower event! @808mixtape did a fantastic job and we want to thank everyone for coming and tuning in! Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to do this, thank you! pic.twitter.com/mDJKSDYsGc
— WJCU 88.7FM (@WJCU887) March 29, 2023