The Original Home of 97 Underground
WSPH Dundalk High School, Baltimore MD 1982

97 Underground Bumper Sticker

In the spring of 1982 Dundalk High School went on the air as WSPH 96.7 FM. With only a 10 watt transmitter to power the signal, the station was difficult to get anywhere outside of the Dundalk area. 

Under the guidance of electronics teacher Tom Pless, the station was the result of the combined and passionate efforts of many of his student volunteers.

The original format was a variety of music styles including Big Band, R&B, and Top 40, etc... with each style having it's own night. 

The "97 Underground" format aired for the very first time on a Friday night and was hosted by John Barton and Michael Brilhart. They continued to host the show together for the next few months.

97 Underground WPSH
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The studio was an unused store room attached to the electronic classroom. 
The thing on the left was a power distribution panel for the workbenches in the class.
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

97 Underground WPSH
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Those little black things on the turntables were called "45s" because they spun at 45 RPM. 
No one under 30 has ever seen one of these.
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

John Barton at 97 Underground
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John Barton and the Nerf-Ball pop filter on the microphone.
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

John Barton at 97 Underground
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John Barton workin' the request line.
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

97 Underground WPSH
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Bev Lange and Jerry McGuire showing off their WPSH satin jackets.
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

 97 Underground WPSH Lisa Blimline
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Lisa Blimline. 
She's the girl that could make perfectly normal guys behave like blithering idiots. :)
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

97 Underground WPSH
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Equipment rack in the studio. 
The oscilloscope on top didn't really do much except make squiggly lines in time to the music.
Groovy baby.
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

 

97 Underground WPSH
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The antennae tower on top of the industrial arts building. 
I think it was about 80 feet tall.
photo courtesy of James Szewczyk 

 

In 1987, WSPH moved it's studios from the high school to an office building on Dundalk avenue. Most of Tom's volunteer's were the same people from high school, but were out of school by now. 

97 Underground
Tom Pless and Debbie Searfoss during the move in to the new office space.

97 Underground
Roger Clary using his hyper-smarts to fix the beat up mixing board.

97 Underground
John Barton and Ray Hepner in the process of building the production studio.

John Barton at 97 Underground
John Barton on the air at 97 Underground (1987).

97 Underground
Most of the crew a year later in 1988.

97 Underground
Gordon gets silly at the "Metal Marathon" in 1988


97 Underground Derek in black-face
Derek and friend at the "Metal Marathon" in 1988
I'm not quite sure what's up with the black-face make-up...

97 Underground Derek in black-face
Derek & friend

 

 

All Contents John P Barton/Cats Crying To The Music  except as noted.