A Blast from the Past:
The Last Broadcast of WSMH
Do you remember the St. Mary's Radio Station?
Click HERE to see WSMH's last broadcast day of 1975. The file was provided by 1970 alumnus Joseph Momot, who created and built the station as a project for his UB engineering class.
The following article about WSMH ran in the January 14, 1974 edition of the Buffalo Courier-Express and the January 2013 edition of The Lance:
School Radio Station Aims To Also Serve Community
By Marsha Ackerman
When WSMH-FM goes on the air in the spring, it will be the culmination of a dream for the students and a young alumnus of St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster.
WSMH are the call letters of a new noncommercial radio station run by and for the students of St. Mary’s School and their community. After a year of red-tape cutting, the station was given clearance last week by the Federal Communication Commission.
Students and staff have been enjoying their own radio station for several months now, hearing in-school broadcasts of school news, sports and drama events and all kind music.
“It’s been sort of a do-it-yourself project and it is working very well,” said St. Mary’s principal Patrick S. Hughes, referring to the WSMH transmitter, located in a small room near the school library. An antenna, which eventually will beam broadcasts 15 miles in every direction is mounted in the roof of the school at 142 Laverack Ave., Lancaster.
Hughes said WSMH was born when Joseph Mormot, a 1970 graduate and a major in elec-
tronics at the University of Buffalo, put together a radio transmitter and donated it to his alma mater. Assisted by his brother, David, a St. Mary’s senior, school maintenance engineer Al Broska and 25 enthusiastic members of the Radio Club, advised by Robert Rigby, Momot brought a new radio station into being.
Hughes had a word of thanks for Rep. Jack F. Kemp, R-Hamburg, whose efforts with the FCC have resulted in a full-fledged educational FM station.
“This is the only high school I know of that has its own radio station,” Hughes said.
The station will be located at 93.5 on the FM dial and will broadcast between he hours of 7:50a.m. and 8 p.m., except for special athletic events or dramatic presentations which run later. It will even have the ability to “remote,” meaning that the school can broadcast a game directly from its football field. The 15-mile radius will mean that people in Lancaster, Alden, Cheektowaga and parts of other towns where St. Mary’s students come from will be able to tune in on the school.
Hughes said much of the money to purchase the electronic equipment used to set up the radio station was raised by St. Mary’s Parents’ Guild.
All students involved in broadcasting will be given a taste of both the electronic and technical end and the “disc jockey” end of the business, Hughes said. “So far we do not give educational credit for radio work and we would need state approval to do so,” Hughes said, “But this will be a real asset to out [our] program and we may try to give credit in the future.”
The radio station will fit in with an industrial arts course in electronics and may also promote interdisciplinary study of physics and communications skills, Hughes said.
The popularity of the station with St. Mary’s students has already been tested. “The last day before Christmas vacation, which is usually a very hard day to interest the students in anything, the station played some comedy records over the public address system into the cafeteria and study areas,” Hughes recalled.
“It was a light day as far as work went, but there was little of that pre-vacation restlessness,” he added.
Below is a sample of a broadcast schedule, from January of 1975.
Friday, Jan. 3
5:00p.m. Program Guide and Community News
5:10p.m. Paulist Communications Service News
5:50p.m. Progressive Rock 91
6:15p.m. Lancer Basketball Pregame Show
6:30p.m. Lancer Basketball–
Lancaster JV at St. Mary’s JV
8:15p.m. Lancer Basketball–
Lancaster Varsity @ St. Mary’s Varsity
9:30p.m. Lancer Basketball Postgame Show
9:45p.m. Progressive Rock 91 (to 10p.m. signoff)
The Alumni Office is charged with developing effective community relations programs, and actively engaging alumni in the life of St. Mary’s through special events, reunions, and gatherings that keep them connected to St. Mary’s. The interactions our alumni have with current students helps provide a network of support that begins during their time at St. Mary’s and keeps them connected upon graduation. The success of our alumni continually reminds us of the amazing things that happen when students discover their God-given gifts while at St. Mary’s and use them to make a difference in their communities.
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