History of Station
Click on any year on the timeline to learn more.
1959—FCC Granted First Broadcast License to Southern
On December 21, 1959, the FCC granted the first broadcast license to Southern Missionary College Board of Trustees. The station call letters were WSMC-FM, and the station was authorized to operate at 10 watts on the frequency of 88.1 mHz.
1961—Programming Went Live
In November of 1961, WSMC aired program tests. Tests showed that a radio signal could be received as far as Signal Mountain. Programming went live in 1961.
1967—FCC Granted Power Increase to 80,000 Watts
The FCC granted a power increase to 80,000 watts at 90.7 mHz. WRCB-TV donated a tower to WSMC that stood 200 feet high and was located 1,422 feet above sea level on White Oak Mountain. This began the public service life of WSMC.
1972—First in NPR’s New Distribution System
WSMC was scheduled to become the first in NPR’s new distribution system to be completed in Tennessee, Georgia, or Alabama.
1974—FCC Granted Power Increase to 100,000 Watts
The FCC granted a power increase to 100,000 watts. A new antenna and transmitter were installed, which helped improve coverage and penetration into some of the drop-out locations.
1985—WSMC Moved to Brock Hall
The WSMC studios moved from Lynn Wood Hall to its current location in Brock Hall on the campus of Southern Adventist University.
Performance Today joined WSMC’s programming.
1990—Changed Frequency to 90.5 FM
The FCC coordinated a frequency change for WSMC to 90.5 FM in an effort to reduce interference. A new 560-foot tower and antenna were erected on Mowbray Mountain in Soddy-Daisy. The new location and equipment greatly improved coverage and penetration of signal, enabling WSMC to have a clear shot at downtown Chattanooga. The Mowbray site gave WSMC the ability to broadcast into the major valleys instead of across them, as it did from the White Oak Mountain site.
1991—Received Crystal Award
WSMC received the Crystal Award from the National Association of Broadcasters for community services.
NPR membership was transferred to WUTC.
2002 - Switch From Analog to Digital
WSMC implemented a complete rewiring of its studios in Brock Hall. New digital equipment began replacing older analog equipment.
2004 - WSMC and Patten Performances
WSMC and Patten Performances joined together to host a live program of From the Top.
2005 - Creating Partnerships with Chattanooga Organizations
WSMC began creating partnerships with Chattanooga organizations to promote and support the local community.
2006 - Read With Me
Created Read With Me, a partnership between Hamilton County schools, Read 20, and Read Aloud. Approximately 1,000 county school students visit the station every year to participate in the program and visit Southern Adventist University.
2009 - Refined Mission and Vision
WSMC begins to refine its mission and vision to refocus on delighting the classical music lover. Read With Me, a program partnership between Read 20 and WSMC to promote literacy, was honored with an award at the annual meeting of the National Association of Counties.
2014 - Welcome Oasis!
Oasis launches October 24th at 6:54pm (Sabbath) with the slogan "Pointing you to the Living Water." Oasis begins as an on-line stream while staff fundraise for broadcasting equipment to become the digital broadcast WSMC HD2, and ultimately to add an analog frequency on the standard FM band.
2015 - Visits by Performance Today's Fred Child and Sunday Baroque's Suzanne Bona
WSMC brought top national hosts to Chattanooga to thank the community for a hugely successful fundraising drive. Fred and Suzanne hosted an hour live with our students and participated in several events, including a cruise on the Tennessee River Gorge Explorer, presentations at the Chamber and Rotary, and attending the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.
2016 - Trip to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest with Suzanne Bona
WSMC hosts its first trip for listeners May 9th to 19th, with Sunday Baroque's Suzanne Bona serving as host.