History

WYEP began broadcasting in 1974 in a dusty, dark basement in Oakland, started by a group of volunteers from the Pittsburgh community. Since then, the faces and locations may have changed, but WYEP remains committed to providing a fresh alternative music choice in the city.

Below are a few milestones in the history and development of the station where the music matters.

2013

WYEP spends more time out in the community than ever before! With music events like Final Fridays or Allegheny County outdoor concerts to philanthropic efforts like teaming up with Bike to Feed Families. The station also premieres a video component to wyep.org, featuring Live & Direct performances in our studio. 

2012

Lee Ferraro retires as WYEP General Manager after 16 years of service. Greg Joseph steps in as interim general manager (May)

Abby Goldstein, a veteran public radio executive, joins WYEP as general manager. (November)

2011

Essential Public Media, a local, wholly-owned subsidiary of WYEP, is granted the license transfer of WDUQ-FM by Duquesne University. (July)

Essential Public Media takes official ownership of 90.5FM, formerly WDUQ-FM and is identitfied as Essential Public Radio, WESA-90.5 FM. It is Pittsburgh's only independent public radio news and information station. (September)

Afternoon Mix Host Rosemary Welsh celebrates 30 years of on-air service to WYEP. (September) 

2007

The World Cafe at the Warhol celebrates its 10th summer taping a week's worth of programs in Pittsburgh. This also marks the final year for this collaboration as World Cafe host David Dye decides to cut down his traveling to focus on his family and new World Cafe programming initiatives. (June)

WYEP adds two new staff positions: Director of Content & Programming and Education & Outreach Director. The Director of Content will be responsible for creative concepts for broadcast programs, internet content, and WYEP Community Broadcast Center venue programming. The E&O position will focus on developing a comprehensive education and outreach plan serving K-12, college and university, and adult populations.  (March)

2006

The WYEP Community Broadcast Center receives a LEED-NC Silver rating, making it environmentally friendly and "the first green station in the nation". (September)

Rosemary Welsch celebrates her 25th year as a WYEP on-air Host. (September)

WYEP opens its doors and welcomes approximately 2,500 people to tour the new facility and watch live performances from 14 acts including Dar Williams, The Holmes Brothers, and Raul Malo. (February)

The 19,084 square-foot WYEP Community Broadcast Center is completed. (January)

2005

The “Turn It Up!” Capital Campaign goal is reached and culminates in a $350,000 Kresge Foundation grant. In all, $3.7 million is pledged by Foundations and 1,700 listeners to make the Center possible.  (September)

WYEP hosts a “Raise the Roof” Gala at the on-going worksite of The WYEP Community Broadcast Center and in Bedford Square on the South Side.  The fundraiser will become an annual fall fundraising event, called “Rock the Block”. (August)

The official groundbreaking ceremony for The WYEP Community Broadcast Center at 67 Bedford Square takes place, and is attended by local political figures and celebrities including Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, and former Pittsburgh Steelers Lynn Swann and Mike Tomczak. (January)

2004

WYEP celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a month-long celebration which included a Patty Griffin benefit concert and the first time WYEP held a release party for “Live & Direct”, which was a special three-disc collection that year.

The public phase of “Turn It Up!” Capital Campaign begins. (April)

2003

WYEP starts research on, and eventually conducts, a feasibility study to determine if community support would be in place to launch a capital campaign. (January)

2002

The WYEP Staff & Board concludes that the future of WYEP lies in creating a permanent home for WYEP, a structure that is something more than just a radio station.  A Broadcast Center that would not only be a community gathering place, but one that would be environmentally sound in adherence to the station’s mission and goals. (July)

1999

The first “Live & Direct” CD, a two-disc collection of In-Studio performances is released. (December)

WYEP celebrates its 25th Anniversary with an open house and a block party celebration with other local organizations. (April)

1997

WYEP forms a new partnership with The World Cafe and The Andy Warhol Museum to produce the first WYEP Summer Music Festival and World Café at The Warhol. (June)

1996

The Year in Review booklet, a look back at the top 50 musical releases and important WYEP and community events from the previous year, debuts.

1994

WYEP moves its studios from Chatham College campus to 2313 East Carson Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side. The new studios have twice the space of the old studios, and win an architectural design award. (October)

WYEP installs new transmitter, increasing signal strength to cover a radius of approximately 50 miles. (July)
WYEP hires Midday and Afternoon Hosts, thereby having fulltime on-air staff mornings, middays and afternoons. (June)

1993

WYEP receives a grant from NTIA/PTFP for the purchase and installation of a new transmitter. (September)

1990

WYEP launches Kaleidoscope with host Rosemary Welsch, the station's first paid Host and the beginning of the station's music mix.  (June)

1987

WYEP moves to new studios at Chatham College, hires first paid staff in nearly a decade, improves visibility in community, revamps programming and begins broadcasting in stereo.

1986

WYEP obtains foundation and government grants to purchase equipment for new studios to be constructed at a yet to be determined location.

1985

WYEP hosts largest fundraising concert in its history, marking an important beginning in the station's turnaround. WYEP signs off the air leaving Cable Place to begin critical reorganization.

1982

WYEP moves transmitter to a tower in Hazelwood, increasing power from 850 watts to 18,200 watts and changes frequency from 91.5FM to 91.3FM.

1978

WYEP expands to a full time staff using a CETA grant.

1974

WYEP signs on the air at 91.5FM from the studios in the basement at 4 Cable Place in South Oakland.