“The Voice of Hope College” WTHS 89.9-FM is Hope College’s student-run radio station, and is housed in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication. A student Executive Board staff oversees all aspects of the station from choosing what music goes on the air, to live news and sports updates every hour. Broadcasting along the lakeshore from Grand Haven to South Haven, WTHS keeps our listeners informed about activities on campus, local news, sports, current events, and the latest in alternative college music. Catering to many musical tastes, WTHS broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to serve our listeners.
|City of license||Holland, Michigan|
|Branding||Eighty Nine Nine, WTHS-FM.|
|Slogan||The Voice of Hope College|
|First air date||September 1956|
|Power||1,000 watts DA|
|Callsign meaning||We’re The Hope College Station|
|Former callsigns||WTAS (unofficially AM-610 carrier current 09/1956-12/14/1984)|
- Best Public Service Annoucement – Time Out With THS (Finalist)
- Best Sports Talk Show – Real Radio with Tom Zahari and Nate Winter (Winner)
- Most Creative Program – The Stick with Forrest Dodson and Chris Rodriquez (Finalist)
- Best Website (Finalist)
- Best Event Promo – Alice’s Restaurant Massacree (Finalist)
- Most Innovative Show – The Stick with Forrest Dodson and Chris Rodriquez (Finalist)
- Best Website (Finalist)
- Best Show Promo – Freeze Frame with Will Deboer (Winner)
The station began as WTAS in 1956, when students Richard Brockmeier and Jack Hellriegel transmitted a signal from their room through the wiring of the then-new Kollen Hall (residence dormitory) on the Hope College campus. Brockmeier joined Hope’s faculty in 1966, teaching computer science and physics until his death in 1993.
Regular programming began in 1957. WTAS originally meant “We’re The Arkie Station”, paying homage to the Arcadian Fraternity, to which Brockmeier and Hellriegel belonged. The staff reconsidered its campus-wide influence and WTAS officially became “THE ANCHOR STATION”, re-named for the Anchor, Hope’s symbol and a reference to the Holy Trinity. As reported in the April 26, 1957 issue of the student newspaper The Anchor, they had “realized the need of a new radio station to solve a problem which had arisen at the dorm. Due to modern construction methods of using reinforced steel and concrete, almost all outside signals are cut off from radios.” For over 25 years, the station operated from studios in the basement at the southwest corner of Kollen Hall. In 1981, WTAS began simulcasting at 103.3 FM, on a radio service then offered by local Continental Cablevision of Holland (now Comcast). This “FM cable” carried a number of Chicago and West Michigan FM stations. It was offered to cable television subscribers throughout the Holland and Zeeland communities, including some on-campus rooms. WTAS was the only station carried in mono. The Holland Community channel carried by Continental Cablevision on channel 12, which scrolled public service events on the screen, also carried WTAS as its audio signal.
A student project to replace the aging AM carrier current station was started in the fall of 1979 by freshman Richard Kennedy. Tentative approval to move forward on this proposal was passed by the Hope College Student Congress on Monday, November 24, 1980. Under the advice of WZZM-TV 13 (Grand Rapids, Michigan) Chief Engineer Dale Wolters (his father, Dr. Edward J. Wolters, taught Classics at Hope College for 40 years, retiring in 1966), E. Harold Munn and Associates of Coldwater, Michigan was retained to do an feasibility engineering study. The application to the Federal Communications Commission was tied up when a newly-founded Zeeland-based church attempted to secure the license for 89.9, thus delaying the actual official sign-on date until Friday, September 27, 1985. The call signs WLQX (“The Lakeshore’s Alternative”) and WMCH(“West Michigan’s Alternative”) were proposed, but later it was decided to apply for WTHS, as it was closer to the original WTAS call letters. WTAS-FM belonged to a station in Crete (Chicago), Illinois at that time, thus was unavailable. WTHS-FM 89.9 (“We’re The Hope Station”) was licensed to operate with 1,000 watts (directional) at 199 feet (154 feet above average terrain). New studios in the DeWitt Center were built adjacent to the theater.
Celebrating 50 years of broadcasting, WTHS relocated into the newly constructed Martha Miller Global Center for Communication, with the official dedication held on Wednesday, January 24, 2007. These facilities feature “state-of-the-art” professional equipment, with DAD (digital audio delivery) software by ENCO of Southfield, Michigan, used by some of the leading stations and networks in radio and television.
WTHS continues to thrive as an alternative rock station, operating 24 hours, 365 days a year. The station is simulcast on the Internet, but access is only allowed to those with a valid Hope College ID.