Image of WMBR 88.1 Radio Station WMBR 88.1 Radio Station
WMBR 88.1 Radio Station, 1946–Present

MK-60 Console

1960

In the late 19th century, the MIT electrical engineering faculty initially thought radio was a novelty, but that did not stop students from experimenting with the technology and forming the MIT Radio Society. Established in 1909, W1MX (originally 1MX) is believed to be the oldest college amateur radio station in the United States. The history of broadcast radio at MIT began as a campus-only AM broadcast when WMIT signed on in 1946. Students not only ran the station, but also built its equipment. Wanting to reach the fraternities located in Boston, the station began the process of obtaining a Federal Communications Commission license for an AM or FM commercial frequency in the 1950s. All the commercial frequencies and the call sign WMIT were taken, but the students persisted. On April 10, 1961, from this console, one of the first all-transistorized radio consoles ever built (again by MIT students), WTBS 88.1 signed on as part of MIT’s centennial celebration. (The station’s call letters changed to WMBR in 1979.) For 50 years, students, alumni, staff, and volunteers have broadcast an eclectic variety of music and news programming that serves the MIT community as well as much of eastern Massachusetts.

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