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WRUC collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RG08-006-015

Content Description

The WRUC collection contains records of the student radio organizations and radio stations at Union College. In addition to a large collection of audio recordings in various formats, files include station logs, scrapbooks, correspondence, and ephemera. Additional recordings are included that were recorded or produced by Union but broadcasted by other radio stations.


  • 1916 - 2021

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The station now known as WRUC was at first given the name 2ADD, and it signed on October 14, 1920. The first program was monitored as far as 105 miles away, and it was broadcast by students Wendell King and William McCaig. The equipment for this initial broadcast was set up by a General Electric employee and Union College alum of the Class of 1916 named G. Glen Mercer. Much of the early development in radio transmission was made possible through the work of Charles Steinmetz during his time as the head of Union's Electrical Engineering department. In 1922, the government issued a broadcast license to the College for the call letters WRL, which was used for regular broadcasting, and 2XQ, used for short wave and morse code.

The enthusiasm for broadcasting soon waned, and the Radio Club's focus returned to experimental work. WRL's license was allowed to expire in 1923, and the station was formally deleted from the government list of active stations in 1924.

The Radio Club reorganized in 1932 and moved its equipment to the Electrical Engineering building where it received the call letters W2GSB for short wave work.

In the mid-1930's, the Union College Radio Workshop was formed to provide students with practical radio experience. Initially the group worked with General Electric in radio programming production.

In 1941, an experimental transmission line was strung between the Electrical Engineering Building and North College for a proposed on-campus network. With the encouragement of President Fox, the Union Broadcasting System began.

The Radio Workshop group merged with the Radio Club, forming the Union College Radio Society. The new organization contained both an amateur section and a broadcasting section. Utilizing the new broadcasting technology, the carrier current station became known as the UCRS Network in 1942.

1947 saw the split between the broadcasting organization and the amateur section. W2GSB was shut down during WWII and reestablished in 1947 as the Union College Amateur Radio Club (later Society) separate from the main broadcasting station. In 1962 it became W2UC.

As a result of a student contest in 1947, the broadcasting station name changed from UCRS to WRUC (sometimes referred to as Wireless Radio Union College). In 1966, WRUC entered a joint venture with Skidmore College which proved untenable and only lasted a couple of years. In 1975, WRUC switched from AM to FM and was provided a 100 Watt frequency, about a five mile radius, of transmission. It currently transmits on 89.7 FM and online.


44.16 Cubic Feet

43 Boxes

Language of Materials



Series I, Amateur Radio Stations (W2GSB and W2UC) Records, 1916-1998. Series II, UCRS Records, 1941-1947. Series III, WRUC Records, 1936-2021. Series IV, WGY Records, 1941-1951. Series V, WJZ Records, 1941. Series VI, WBZ Westinghouse Radio Station Records, 1945. Series VII, WSNY Records, 1955.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most of the collection was donated by the Radio Club and WRUC between 1950 and 2014. Other material was donated by Lewis B. Sebring, Jr. (1959), Irving Kaufman (1978), and Thomas H. Seem (1996), as well as additions for John Bak and Robert Garry.


WRUC055, WRUC044, WRUC125 removed to be sent to NEDCC. WRUC346, WRUC350, WRUC345, WRUC467, WRUC528, WRUC529, WRUC525, WRUC526, WRUC527, WRUC560, WRUC561, WRUC562, WRUC563, WRUC564, WRUC565, and WRUC566 to be sent to George Blood for pilot digitization.

Processing Information

In 2018, collections 433 and 470 were combined with accessions 2014.015 and 2014.025; volumes from the Vault Collection cataloged as UL R11, UL R11l, and UL R11s; and unaccessioned material to create RG08.006.015.


WRUC collection
Andrea Belair; Matthew Golebiewski
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2019-10-31: reprocessing started
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Union College
807 Union Street
Schenectady NY 12308 United States