“WUTC is now in the clouds, high above the city.”
Those were among the first words spoken by WUTC-FM’s Richard Winham on Monday, Aug. 29.
At the start of his 10 a.m. show, he officially announced the station’s move from the ground floor in Cadek Hall at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to the seventh floor at the top of the University’s 540 McCallie Ave. building.
WUTC-FM/88.1, owned and operated by UTC, is Chattanooga’s National Public Radio station.
The new control room for the station has several pieces of new equipment and, as often happens when technology is involved, the switchover had a glitch that caused about 30 seconds of dead air. But the problem was fixed, and WUTC’s signal is now solid and broadcasting without issue.
Moving the station while it still was broadcasting was a “Herculean” task, Winham said. “Like working on an airplane when it’s still in the air.”
The change at WUTC is more than just swapping tech. The station was situated on the bottom floor of Cadek Hall for more than 30 years, a location that aged as one might expect.
The Cadek Hall space was 3,300 square feet, but only about 1,900 was usable, Station Manager Bryan Lane said.
Lane said the seventh floor of the McCallie building was sitting empty when UTC Chancellor Steve Angle offered it to WUTC.
The new area is 1,800 square feet and—with floor-to-ceiling windows facing south and east—feels much larger.
“The view is incredible,” Lane said.
Renovations started in January 2020 and moving into a new space is “a great thing for my employees.”
Before the move, Winham, one of the station’s most popular and longest-running hosts, said the move brings a sense of enthusiasm.
“If you want a word: Excited. Everything about it is cool,” said Winham, who has been on the air at WUTC since 1987.
Much of the equipment and software in WUTC’s Cadek Hall offices was cobbled together, Lane said. He said some equipment was about 20 years old, a lifetime when it comes to updating radio hardware.
“It hadn’t been modernized in a long time,” he said.
Lane said that much of the new space’s electronic equipment is brand-new and up-to-date.
WUTC came on air on March 8, 1980, at first rebroadcasting programs from WUOT-FM, the NPR station in Knoxville and owned by the University of Tennessee. In 1995, WUTC became the official NPR station in Chattanooga.
First located in Founder’s Hall, the station moved to Cadek Hall in 1984.
Lane said that renovations for the new location cost about $102,000, and new equipment was in the $60,000 to 70,000 range. The office furniture was retrieved from surplus no longer in use on campus.
Chattanooga’s Patten family donated $115,000 to renovate a large space that formerly was a cafeteria. Once renovated, the area will accommodate musical acts of all sizes—from a single performer to a multi-musician ensemble—in performances that can be broadcast live on WUTC.
When Winham’s show on Aug. 29 ended at noon, he told the audience, “We’ve made it through another morning relatively glitch-free.”
New programs on WUTC
“Science Friday.” 2 p.m. Friday.
Known as “SciFri” for short, a weekly call-in talk show is divided into two one-hour programs, each ending with a complete sign-off. The focus of each program is news and information on science, nature, medicine and technology.
“The Children’s Hour.” 7 a.m. Saturday.
A weekly radio show created for and with kids. Each episode seeks to entertain while recognizing that almost no topic is too “sophisticated” for children through exposure to science, technology, community service, civic engagement and cultural collaboration.
“The New Yorker Radio Hour.” Noon. Sunday.
The radio show features interviews with journalists and cartoonists from The New Yorker and interviews with artists, writers, comedians, filmmakers and other cultural figures. Past guests include Aziz Ansari, Sarah Koenig, Julián Castro, Larry David, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Gloria Steinem, and Amy Schumer.
“Today, Explained.” 5:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
An award-winning daily news explainer show takes on one essential news story that defines the moment and brings listeners the context to understand it.
“Latino USA.” 9 p.m. Tuesday.
The longest-running Latino-focused program on radio and the foremost voice in public media, providing insight into the experience of Latinos throughout the United States.