Gooooood Morning, Pitt!
High atop the Cathedral of Learning, a transmitter broadcasts the signal of WPTS-FM, Pitt’s student-run radio station, cofounded by Adrian Cronauer of Good Morning, Vietnam fame.
In 1957, Cronauer and 11 other students formed the Student Broadcasting Association with the goal of launching a Pitt radio station. After winning University administrators’ approval and following a lot of planning and work, the station—originally called WPGH—went on the air in 1961.
Sixteen years later, WPGH gained permission to change its call letters to WPTS and switch from AM to the FM band as a formatted college radio station (as opposed to using a free-form block radio style) with a professional broadcasting environment. WPTS alumni have gone on to work for CBS and Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV, and WYEP-FM, among other stations.
Following his own WPTS days, Cronauer served as a Saigon-based U.S. Armed Forces Radio Service disc jockey from 1965 to 1966 during the Vietnam War. His experiences inspired the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam, with an antic Robin Williams as Cronauer.
Having added podcasts and interactive content in recent years, WPTS continues to evolve. In 2009, the station won national attention when mtvU (a college-oriented branch of MTV) named WPTS one of five finalists for a Woodie Award for best college radio station.