WAJC was the city’s first nonprofit educational radio station and also its first permanent FM station. Licensed to the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music (which later became part of the jordan college of the arts, Butler University), WAJC went on the air in September 1950, from studios on the third floor of the Lyman S. Ayres home at 1204 North Delaware Street.

The station’s first manager was Tom Carnegie, then a sportscaster at Wire. WAJC originally broadcast its mostly classical format on a frequency of 91.9, but because of interference with local TV reception it moved to 104.5 in the vacant commercial section of the FM band in 1956.

Butler drama professor James Phillippe became manager of the station in 1964. Under his direction WAJC expanded its training of university students, offering live news and public affairs shows and play-by-play of Butler sports.

In 1981, media owner Richard M. Fairbanks Jr. gave the WIBC building, located at 2835 N. Illinois Street, and the equipment inside to Butler University for WAJC’s use, when Fairbanks Communications moved to 9333 N. Meridian Street. The building had been home to the popular AM radio station since 1955. The station also broadcast the Metropolitan Opera and joined National Public Radio in 1982. In the late 1980s, the station featured New Age music in the afternoon, classical at night, and alternative rock overnight.

As FM radio became more popular, WAJC’s commercial frequency became more valuable. Butler’s administration decided to emphasize the university’s television station and sold WAJC in 1993 for more than $7 million to Susquehanna Broadcasting, owners of Wfms. The station changed to a “new hit country” format, adopting new call letters WGRL.

Revised June 2021

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