It had to happen someday, but the first official spurning of Harvard aid by a Radcliffe undergraduate group in favor of support from the slide-rule heaven down the river had a particularly ironic twist to it. When Radio Radcliffe last month switched allegiance to WMIT from the Harvard radio station WHRB, those with long memories brooded on the action, for they remembered that RR was itself brought into the world by WHRB.
Having Radcliffe girls broadcasting first started as a publicity stunt for WHRB ten years ago. The Harvard station was then plugging for a larger audience, and used some 'Cliffedwellers as announcers and listener-lure.
But the audience expanded to radios WHRB hadn't even considered--Radcliffe radios. The few girl announcers liked broadcasting so much that they asked the Annex for a separate station. In May 1943 a charter was granted to the small group, led by Ronnie Phoenix '44, who became the first president.
Miss Phoenix possessed not only a great deal of energy but a lively morbid imagination as well. It is rumored that she was the originator of the legend of The Beast that Walks in the Night, a horrid mythical creature that perpetrates outrageous crimes upon unsuspecting announcers.
Soon the second floor of the Cliffe Field House--which had been used as a dressing room for gym students--was invaded by microphones, record players, and a large electric clock. Most of this early equipment was bought by the girls themselves.
Dean Speaks First
Then early in the summer, the voices of Dean Mildred P. Sherman and the Student Government president traveled from the top of the Field House, through the electric power lines, and into Annex receiving sets--and Radio Radcliffe officially began its life.
During the next year, station members, sprinkled book reviews, poetry readings, and college news through its evenings of music. Course assignments for Music 1 became a popular portion of the weekly schedule.
As the station continued, more and more records were needed. Candidates made daily jaunts to the Radcliffe music library to get material for programs. A lucky gift in 1945 gave the organization its collection, which is kept with its additions in a long covered bench. A borrowing system was later worked out with McKenna's and Briggs and Briggs.
With WHRB's help, the station grew and became more efficient. On November 5, 1950, Radcliffe members joyfully celebrated their 4000th night of broadcasting, with a tea in the Field House for the Radcliffe administration.
From its beginning, Radio Radcliffe had unofficial connection with the Harvard Network. Harvard members lent records, exchanged programs, gave advice and reprimands, and repaired the broadcasting equipment.
Escape to Freedom
In 1950, the Harvard station proposed a complete merger of the two stations, but Radio Radcliffe refused, feeling that girls would then receive subordinate positions. The growing Annex station later became even more daring, and decided to scrap all connections and thus end possible "domination" by the Network.
WHRB took the big step in March last year, formally severing all connections with the brother group. From then until a few weeks ago, technical work was done by individual students at Harvard and Tech.
Radcliffe officially switched loyalties last month, with an announcement that program exchanges with WMIT will take place next year. Since then, Techmen have repaired the Annex transmitter so that the station can be heard clearly-in all brick dormitories.