Smart Talk: Celebrating 50 years of WITF radio

  • Scott LaMar
  • Staff
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Airdate: Thursday, April 1, 2021

WITF-FM radio went on-the-air for the first time April 1, 1971. Fifty years ago, the station was a companion to WITF-TV Channel 33, that had been broadcasting since 1964.

At the time, WITF-FM’s mission was stated as, “to provide an alternative FM radio service, broadcasting the best in music, drama, public affairs, information and light entertainment.”

That included a classical music format with some jazz and folk mixed in. Over the years, the station grew and could be quite eclectic. There was the weekly Metropolitan Opera and even a Grateful Dead hour. WITF-FM was treasured in the arts community.

After becoming an affiliate of National Public Radio and ramping up the station’s regional and state news coverage, WITF-FM became the area’s most trusted news source on the radio dial.

Several current and former WITF managers, on-air hosts and journalists appear on Thursday’s Smart Talk to remember how the station has evolved over the past 50 years.

They include current President and CEO Ron Hetrick, WITF Board Chair Susan Eckert, former Executive Vice President Mike Ziegler, former Vice President of Programming, Traffic Director and classical music host Mitzi Trostle, three former news directors Ed Arke, Damon Boughamer and Scott Gilbert along with current Multimedia News Director Tim Lambert.

Read more about WITF-FM’s 50th anniversary here.

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