The Birth of WREK

Editor’s note: Richard Crouch was the founder and first General Manager of WREK, and his contribution to the beginning of WREK cannot be underestimated. Quite simply, he’s the one who did it.

From inception at a communications conference at Callaway Gardens in 1967 where as President of W4AQL, the Georgia Tech Amateur Radio Club, I was invited by the Dean of Students and Dean of Publications Office to participate in a discussion regarding how communications on campus could be improved. The idea of a student radio station resulted from that discussion (WGST was then as it now still is a commercial station) and I took the ball and ran. I mnade a decision that weekend to focus on just two things for my last year at Tech: 1) graduating with my BSEE and 2) getting WREK on the air. I later returned to the campus to get my MSEE in 1971-1972.

I recruited the staff, principally Frances Wright, the first Chief Engineer, the first Programming Director, Wyman Joe Jones, and the first Business Manager, Brook Byers (founder of noted venture capital firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers). I convinced the Student Council to allocate funding for WREK from Georgia Tech Student Body Activity Fees, convinced Physical Plant to build our first studio in the penthouse of the EE building (now ECE), fully equipped the studio with donated equipment from WSM in Nashville, a donated antenna from Andrews Antenna Corporation, and purchased a new Gates 10W FM transmitter. I led the effort to obtain the license from the FCC, picked the call letters, and turned the switch to go on the air for the first time in April of 1968. I was the first disc jockey to open the programming that month. I graduated in June 1968 and left the station in Geoff Mendenhall’s capable hands.

– Richard Crouch,

Edited by Chris Campbell, May 2001