Skip to main content

WYBC, Yale University, records

Call Number: RU 59

Scope and Contents

The records consist of correspondence, scripts, schedules, logs, training materials, meeting minutes, policies and bylaws, contracts, articles, printed matter, photographs, and audiotapes that document the programming, operations and governance of WYBC, Yale's undergraduate radio station. In addition to documenting WYBC's general history and development, programming records, correspondence, and training materials provide insight into evolving musical and theatrical tastes, Yale's changing relationship with women, and the undergraduate apprenticeship system of "heeling." News reports and editorials also document campus events and student sentiments. Of particular interest are the news broadcasts and reporter notes from WYBC's live broadcast of student protests on the New Haven Green during May 1970. Station records also document changes in WYBC policy and personnel regarding African-American programming and WYBC's role in the New Haven community.


  • 1941-1984


Conditions Governing Access

Materials in box 95 are closed until January 1, 2047 as established by Yale Corporation regulations.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.

Some records in this finding aid have been redacted, as they include student names, donor names, and other restricted data. These records will not appear in the published finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of Yale University is retained by Yale University. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records were transferred from WYBC, 1988 and 1990; gift of Joel Levitch, 2013.


The records are arranged in five series: I. Correspondence, 1947-1974. II. Programming, 1945-1984. III. Operations and Administrative Files, 1941-1971. IV. Advertising, 1954-1986. V. Audiorecording, circa 1962-1981.


46.03 Linear Feet (95 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The records consist of correspondence, scripts, schedules, logs, training materials, meeting minutes, policies and bylaws, contracts, articles, printed matter, photographs, and audiotapes that document the programming, operations and governance of WYBC, Yale's undergraduate radio station.

Biographical / Historical

WYBC was established as Yale University's undergraduate radio station in the winter of 1940-1941 through alumni financial support. The station's original call letters were WOCD, standing for "Oldest College Daily," because the station was administered and operated by the Yale Daily News and housed in the Daily's building. On September 22, 1941, WOCD began to broadcast music, news, Yale-interest programs on a closed-circuit AM channel into the university's residential colleges. During World War II, paper shortages and Yale's accelerated academic schedule forced the Daily to curtail its activities extensively, but the Dean of the College asked WOCD to continue its full schedule of news reports and bulletins. During this period, the Navy also used WOCD to teach Morse Code. WOCD steadily increased the size of its audience and staff and broke off its relationship with the Daily in 1944-1945.

After its split from the Daily, WOCD changed its frequency from 905 to 640 and moved its studios to 193 York Street. On March 26, 1945, Microphone, the station's newsletter, announced in its first issue the station's new call letters, WYBC (Yale Broadcasting Company). For the next couple of years, WYBC was dedicated to purchasing technical equipment and increasing its programming to include sports, musical, non-musical, dramatic, and news/political shows. On November 19, 1947, WYBC moved to its current studios in Hendrie Hall on Elm Street.

On April 16, 1948, the Yale Broadcasting Company (YBC) was incorporated in the state of Connecticut as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Under its Articles of Incorporation, YBC declared its intention to continue to serve the Yale student community while conforming to standard operating procedures of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Association of Broadcasters. At its original founding, WYBC had become a member of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, a professional organization that promoted college radio stations. WYBC found this organization increasingly unsatisfactory and in February 1948, with Dartmouth College Radio, formed the Ivy Network, of which all Ivy League college stations became members. The Ivy Network assisted member stations in program exchanges and other aspects of broadcasting.

During the 1950s, WYBC expanded its activities beyond programming, such as the production of a successful record album of performances by Yale singing groups from the popular live concert program, Yale Sings. Also, beginning in 1953, the station began a brief venture into television with WYBC-TV, the nation's first student owned and operated station. Shows were aired simultaneously on the radio and television and included lectures from notable Yale professors, dramatic and musical performances by Yale students, a panel show, and an interview program. WYBC-TV ended broadcasting in 1955 due to problems with WYBC's radio cables. During 1954, WYBC broadcast the Yale-Harvard football game to 53 Yale clubs across the country. The next year, WYBC nationally broadcast Yale football games against Army, Princeton, and Harvard.

Another effort to expand station operations was the creation of WYBC-A (AM 540), a companion closed-circuit station, in 1955. WYBC-A was plagued by problems and operated for only two months. In early 1957, new WYBC efforts resulted in the return of WYBC-A. One station broadcast thirteen hours a day and the other station broadcast twelve hours. WYBC-A existed until 1968. These dual AM stations allowed WYBC to be on the air twenty-four hours a day. On March 9, 1959, WYBC also began broadcasting from WYBC-FM (FM 94.3).

The 1960s brought greater technical development of WYBC when Yale built recording studios for the station in 1964. In 1966, WYBC-FM converted to a stereo multiplex station. The station's staff also began to change as students became attracted to the "Counterculture". This cultural shift was the basis for Gary Trudeau's Doonsbury cartoon radio station "WBBY," a laid-back, liberal college station. In 1968, a reassessment of WYBC's broader community role brought non-students into the station staff for the first time. News and political programs expanded as well as African-American programming intended to increase coverage of African-American news stories and to appeal to minority communities. During the trials of Black Panther leaders in spring of 1970, station reporters conducted live broadcasts from the New Haven Green during widespread student protests.

During the late 1970s and 1980s, WYBC fell into financial trouble due to declining student interest and lower advertising revenues. In 1992, WYBC relocated its transmitter to West Rock and hired a professional staff to increase the station's professionalism and audience size. In 1994, WYBC signed a joint sales agreement with General Broadcasting of Connecticut, Inc. to improve advertising sales and ensure WYBC's financial stability. Currently, WYBC operates FM and AM stations and broadcasts original music, news, and sports programs.

General note

Forms part of Yale Record Group 40 (YRG 40), Records of Yale clubs, societies, and organizations.
Guide to the WYBC, Yale University, Records
Under Revision
compiled by Meghan Glass
July 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours