On The Air

 

The History of WHJE

On the hot, blustery Friday evening of August 16, 1963, the "On-Air" sign lit up with the flick of a microphone switch at 5:30 p.m., and Earl Lemme's dream became a reality as WHJE aired its first broadcast. Until 7:30 p.m. with Lemme at the microphone, Hamilton County's only educational radio station covered the Carmel Lions Club fish fry. Soon after, WHJE was broadcasting from 7 to 8:3O A.M., in the log cabin added to Pattison Hall. Each morning the voices of the first disc Jockey's -- Elise Pfotanhauer, Sally McCracken, Jim O'Neal, Susy Depoy, Cathy Gephart, Jack Lafollate, and David Gerdis -- could be heard. Student engineers Tom Hamblen, Mike Zinn, and Charles Thompson also worked diligently to keep the broadcast running smoothly. Evening broadcasts from 3:45 to 5:00 p.m. and coverage of football and basketball games began a few weeks later.

The impetus for Carmel's own radio station was the termination of the local newspaper, the Carmel Suburban, and the need for informing the community of events that arose. After much work and with approval from the Carmel Clay Board of Education, the Federal Communications Commission and a $5,000 grant from the Carmel Lions Club and Union State Bank, WHJE was put on the air.

Throughout the years WHJE has undergone numerous changes. In 1967 the station increased its wattage to broadcast over a 30-mile radius. WHJE moved from the log cabin into the main school building in what was later known as the "Pit". The year 1972 saw a 25-hour marathon which raised $825 to purchase new equipment. A strange ticking noise could be heard in 1973 as the UPI wire service was installed, which brought news from around the country and the world. In the fall of 1974 the station broke its ties with its original location in the log cabin through moving the newly purchased transmitter and circularly-polarized antenna into the main school building. Thus, WHJE increased its power to 400 watts which drastically increased its coverage area. Four years later, the final move occurred from the "Pit" into our current studios. In 1981 the new Harris 9003 computer automation system was purchased and WHJE became the only high school station and one of the few educational stations in the country to have an automation system. The station now broadcast for 18 hours a day which changed in 1983 to 24 hours a day with air personalities enjoying 3-hour long airshows, which were quite a change from the 30-min shows heard back in 1963. Then in 1986 a drastic change occurred. A 39-hour "Jock-a-Thon" was held to raise funds to convert the current monaural station into stereo. Approximately $13,000 was raised and later on that year the stereo equipment was installed. In October 2000, WHJE added streaming over the web.  The latest upgrades to the station occurred in 2008 as the station underwent a major overhaul of equipment and studios.