- Date: November 14, 1929-January 23, 1930
- 1010 kHz (November 14, 1929-January 23, 1930)
- Columbia, South Carolina (November 14, 1929-January 23, 1930)
- Owner of license:
- George T. Barnes, Inc. (November 14, 1929-January 23, 1930)
- Subsequent call letters: WIS
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WGTB was founded as the Georgetown broadcasting system in 1946 by Rev. Francis Hayden, S.J. In its earliest incarnation, the station was primarily an outlet for news and public affairs programming. The station developed “The Georgetown Forum” during the 1950s which became famous for hosting notable public figures and scholars to discuss the topics of the day. At that time, the studio was located in Healy Hall, and it would often receive complaints from the physics department, also located at the time in Healy Hall, that radio waves coming from the studio were interfering with their instruments.
By the 1970s, the station had shifted course to music-oriented programming. WGTB became well-known throughout the Washington, DC metro area as a voice for new music, and more notably as a voice for the political left, broadcasting anti-war programming across a 60-mile radius. Maintaining a political voice for dissidents of the day established the station as a mainstay among the left-wing community. This stance was the source of considerable friction between the station and the university administration, resulting in several shutdowns, and eventually the end of WGTB. In 1979, to mark the creation of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Georgetown donated WGTB’s 6700 watt signal (90.1 FM) to UDC. This signal was later sold by UDC in 1997 to C-SPAN for $25 million.
After the permanent shutdown, the station was reincarnated as WROX, broadcasting solely through the campus on AM carrier current. The WGTB moniker was soon resurrected however, but the station was a mere shadow of its former self. In the words of late ‘80s gtb alum Joe Kelly, “We used cruddy outdated equipment and were always a half step away from being shut down by the university. By my senior year, all they could say about us in the yearbook was that we survived another year.” It is certainly to the credit of the DJs and staff of this period that they accessd to keep the WGTB spirit alive.
In 1996, student Shan Vosseller led a drive to revive WGTB, and built the current studios located in the Leavey Center. The current incarnation of WGTB broadcasts FM stereo on a “leaky cable” system that can only be heard in wired dormitories on campus. In 2001, WGTB began broadcasting on the web, marking another transition in its long, illustrious history of serving the Georgetown and Washington communities.