50 Stories for 50 Years: The Move to the Fine Arts Tower

Jan 22, 2020

Worker on ledge of the Price Doyle Fine Arts Tower, circa 1970.
Credit Murray State University Shield

We’ve learned that in the beginning of broadcasting at Murray State University, the home of all thing radio, whether it was the forerunner to WKMS, The Thoroughbred hour, or first time the station signed on the air… all of it came from Wilson Hall.

But about a year after WKMS took to the airwaves it was time to move to a larger space atop a brand new building on Murray State’s Campus. The Price Doyle Fine Arts tower. With today’s story we’ll hear from WKMS alumni who were here for that move. 

Curt Hart attended Murray State from 1966 to 1972 and was a student on staff the first day WKMS signed on the air. He says the studios were small…

“…a sardine can. It felt like everyone was stepping all over each other as I remember it. When we first signed on the air I believe it was May of 1970, but we did have an announced booth the on-air studios and such and then it was like a long rectangular meeting area we used as a conference area staging area to there in Wilson Hall.”

Another WKMS alumnus Jay Landers recalls a couple other characteristics of the Wilson Hall Space that didn’t quite fit well with the new radio station

“Squeaky wooden floors and steam heat and high ceilings and plaster falling off in the corners.…”

Dan Wadlington is a 1972 graduate of Murray State and remembers the move from Wilson Hall to the Fine

The dedication plaque for the Price Doyle Fine Arts Tower located in the building's lobby.
Credit Chad Lampe

Arts tower.

“We had to physically truck, by hand, all of the records all of the materials all the machinery except for the heavy stuff. By hand across campus to the new Fine Arts Building and the elevators didn't work. So we also not only had to try and carry it across campus. We had to carry up 10 flights of stairs. To get it up here took us a day and a half. Then we moved in and we started broadcasting from the new studios.

Despite some of the hard labor of carrying broadcast equipment upstairs. Wadlington says he’s proud of the work he did at WKMS.

“I was trained to be a teacher. I was never a teacher. I did 22 years in radio, including the first two here. So yeah, as it turned out, that was the career I pursued, not the teaching career and I had a ball. I had a ball. It was a wonderful, wonderful career.”

You can share your WKMS memories here or call us and/or leave a message at 270-809-2070.