The Backstory of 107.7 The Bronc

 The Backstory of 107.7 The Bronc
Michael Brooks
Michael Brooks, The Founder of WRCR

 It All Started At Hill Hall, In 1963.

 “When I first arrived, we were housed on the campus; there were two dormitories: Hill A and Hill B. As I got further into my four years at Rider, and more and more classes were on the campus, they eventually phased out downtown Trenton completely. So, we had two dorms and no radio station, and I wanted to do something about it. I was up on the third floor of Hill A, and that’s how we began, and by the next year, when we had a proper transmitter that we moved down to the basement.” 

The signal from the little transmitter barely reached the end of the dorm building, and the audio had to compete with a loud buzzing when the mercury vapor street lights came on at night. Now into the Spring semester, I was determined to fix the problem for the following Fall semester of 1960. My roommate, Ira Kinder, became program director and I assumed the role of station manager.”

After Graduation

“My actual first job was at WPIX Channel 11, which was owned by Daily News, still up and running today. I was what they call a “Copy Boy,” so Copy Boy basically ran up to the film lab picked up the developed film, and rushed it down to the editors.

After so many months, one of my resumes hit, and I was called up to a suite at the Algonquin Hotel, Midtown. It was a producer who had sold a show to ABC Television, the sponsor was Honeywell, and he was looking for a PA, I had the qualifications, so I was hired that fall of ‘63, and the show ran for two years. . After that show ran for two seasons, I was out looking for work again. I was able to get an interview at NBC, and I was hired, and I was assigned to work on Jeopardy. One of my jobs was to go down to the graphics department of NBC. I would get a sealed package with all the art cards. I had to sign my name, I had to hand-carry it back up, and I personally had to hand it to the producer, who would sign for it again, and then it was turned over to stage hands to load the board. I basically went with that show from the very beginning right up through my career in public television until I left in 1980 to start my own company with my wife.”

Founders: Ira Kinder & Michael Brooks
Founders: Ira Kinder & Michael Brooks

The Evolution of WRCR

“When I graduated, we were still in Hill, and the next time I saw the station, it was in the basement of the library building, and that was probably 10 years later. Somewhere along the line they got their FM license, because we had never even talked about getting an FM license. We didn’t have any budget. It was pretty much just all volunteers. I got it a very modest budget. We had a little bit of advertising income, so we were able to do a few away games.”

Did you think WRRC would grow into what it is today?

“No, absolutely not. As I said, when I was at the new studios a couple of weeks ago, it was just unimaginable what they have done. As John told me, most of the development and work was done during COVID when Rider was shut down. I didn’t even know that you guys had a radio major—there was no such thing in my day. The station was for recreational use only.”