Episode 53: Radio Free UConn

This week, we meet the UConn Woodsmen, one of the most distinctive and interesting student clubs on campus; we learn from Prof. Christopher Vials why a new anthology about the history of anti-fascism is so timely; and we ponder the call letters for UConn’s very first radio station and consider the career of its founder, distinguished alum Dan Noble.



Tom Breen: Hello everyone and welcome to episode 53 which I guess is technically the two year anniversary of UConn, 360. That’s the only podcast in human history that covers the university of Connecticut from every conceivable angle. My name is Tom Breen. I’m your facilitator of sorts. Joining me as always, my colleagues, Maxine Philavong,

[00:00:29] Maxine Philavong: Hello!

[00:00:30] Tom Breen: Who’s had a great day.

[00:00:31] Maxine Philavong: I’ve had an awesome day today.

[00:00:33] Tom Breen: Wonderful day.

[00:00:33] Julie Bartucca: That’s kind of a theme with Maxine. Every time she’s here, are we bad luck for you?

[00:00:37] Maxine Philavong: Maybe you’re bad luck for me,

[00:00:38] Tom Breen: It might be bad. We’re bad luck for a lot of people. Julie Bartucca also joining us,

[00:00:43]Julie Bartucca:  I’m here.

[00:00:44] Tom Breen: And Ken Best.

[00:00:45] Ken Best: Behind the board.

[00:00:46]Tom Breen:  Um, we’ve got an exciting program for you. Hope you’ll stick with it. Lots of fun and interesting stuff about the University of Connecticut. Why don’t we jump right into it, cause there’s plenty of news this week. Julie?

[00:00:58] Julie Bartucca: Yeah. Our counterparts over at UConn Health have actually followed in our footsteps and started a podcast. It’s called the UConn Health pulse podcast, and they have one episode out right now, which features a physician’s assistant named Brad Biskup from the lifestyle medicine program at the Pat and Jim Calhoun cardiology center.

[00:01:17] And he talks to hosts Chris Defrancesco and Carolyn Pennington about helping them understand these seemingly ever-changing prevailing wisdom on cholesterol, diet and heart health. You know the debate about whether eggs are actually good for you or not, and it takes up a large portion of this episode. You can read about it at UConn today or visit s.uconn.edu/UHPulsepod to listen.

[00:01:39] Ken Best: I have to say their first episode was very good.

[00:01:42] Julie Bartucca: Yeah.

[00:01:42] Ken Best: They are actual professional broadcasters.

[00:01:45]Julie Bartucca:  Just like us.

[00:01:45] Ken Best: They get paid to do it!

[00:01:47] Julie Bartucca: I’m just kidding.

[00:01:48] Tom Breen: They

[00:01:49] Julie Bartucca: all

[00:01:49] Tom Breen: hunker around an old cassette recorder. As we did in our first episode, that was a mistake.

[00:01:54] Julie Bartucca: You know, Carolyn Pennington, is many people may recognize her from TV. I do want to say again, S.uconn.edu/UHpulsepod.

[00:02:04] Tom Breen: Give them a listen, it’s good stuff. Ken? You’ve got some news too.

[00:02:08] Ken Best: Yes. We have some very good news. UConn has been recognized as among the top producers of Fulbright Scholars from research institutions for the second time in the past four years. We have six UConn Fulbright scholars who are teaching and conducting research around the world this year, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which wrote about the Fulbright program. That program is in the state department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in is the government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Scholars are selected for the academic merit and leadership potential with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 185 UConn professors have received Fullbrights since the program was established in 1946. This year’s scholars are sociologist Matthew Hughey, who is at the University of Surrey in England studying white racial identity and stratification of benefits. Chemistry professor Challa Kumar is researching bionanomaterials for 3D printing of bio batteries at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Painter Kathryn Meyers is teaching at Banaras Hindu University in India, and she and I are going to be talking when she gets back. We’ve already set that up.

[00:03:23] Civil and environmental engineer, Malaquias Pena-Mendez is studying urban areas at the Federal University of Alagoas in Brazil. English professor Bhakti Shringarpure is studying East African literature at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. And marine scientists Michael Whitney is at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, conducting research on river influences on coastal and open ocean waters. Lots of good stuff.

[00:03:48] Julie Bartucca: Wow. You really learn from the best here at UConn.

[00:03:50] Tom Breen: Very cool stuff.

[00:03:51] Julie Bartucca: Smarty pants.

[00:03:52] Tom Breen: In sadder news, we’d like to offer our condolences to family of John DiBiaggio, who was UConn’s 10th president serving from 1979 to 1985. He passed away earlier this month at the age of 87. He originally came to Connecticut to be the executive director of UConn health in the 70s before becoming president here.

[00:04:10] 79 to 85 was kind of a rough time in university history, but he did a lot of preparing groundwork for the success that came later. For example, he launched our first capital campaign, and he did a lot of work in wresting control of tuition payments away from the state, which had not been the case before. So he did a lot of good work that his success was built on.

[00:04:28] He’s very fondly remembered here. I think we talked about him on this program before as having donned to the mascot costume.

[00:04:34] Julie Bartucca: I was going to say the, uh,

[00:04:35] Tom Breen: Played in Oozeball.

[00:04:36] Julie Bartucca: Early Oozeball days.

[00:04:38] Tom Breen: After here, he’d served for a long time as president of Michigan State University and Tufts as well.

[00:04:43] Julie Bartucca: I did not know that, rest in peace.

[00:04:44] Tom Breen: Rest in peace. All right. We’ve got a, this was a super powers team up story this week.

[00:04:48] Julie Bartucca: Yeah.

[00:04:48] Tom Breen: Julie and Maxine.

[00:04:49] Julie Bartucca: Yeah. The youngs and the olds came together. Maxine and I tag teamed a story, as you said. A few months ago when it was just starting to get cold out, I spent a very interesting Friday evening in a remote corner of Horsebarn Hill, watching a group of students practice all manner of lumberjack sports.

[00:05:07] While, inexplicably, Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas Is You” blared from a nearby building. The UConn Woodsmen is a team here at UConn. Uh, it’s a club sport here at UConn. One of these amazing things that we have that people may not know about. They compete in, as I said, lumberjack sports. So log rolling, they start fires, they chop with axes, they play this game that’s sort of like corn hole with axes and logs.

[00:05:30] It’s really, really cool. Some something like that. Yeah, and some bars, yes. No, there’s an ax throwing establishment, but these people are serious and they’re awesome. And no experience is required to join their club. They are looking for some members, in particular, they are looking for some female team members because that will help them be able to compete in more competitions.

[00:05:50] And I went out and talked to them and Maxine edited it… Maxine put it all together.

[00:06:04] Maxine Philavong: Although traditional American lumberjacks aren’t around today, the UConn Woodsmen are keeping woodworking alive. From chopping to log rolling to everything lumberjack, the UConn Woodsmen do it all.

Student 1: Um, everything’s based off of stuff that lumberjacks would do. As a, you know, as their job. So there’s chopping, which, you know, chopping down a tree, rolling logs around.

[00:06:25] Then there’s some other really weird ones where there’s a, there’s one that’s called fire build, which is you have to build a fire and boil water as quickly as you can, which is based off of some competitions that the lumberjacks would do to see who could get their coffee boiling the fastest.

Maxine Philavong: They told Julie, the Woodsmen welcome students of all ages from freshmen to even alumni.

[00:06:42] Natalie Chmielewska: Ihad a class with the president of the club and he’s like, Oh, you should check it out. And then I didn’t even know this was a sport. I didn’t think it was real to begin with. I’m totally new to the whole culture, and he was like, yeah, you should do it because we need more women on the team. And I said, okay.

[00:06:57] And the rest is history.

Julie Bartucca: How long have you been doing it?

Natalie Chmielewska:  This semester? Month or so? Two months.

Julie Bartucca: Do you like it?

Natalie Chmielewska:  Yeah.

Julie Bartucca: What do you like about it?

Natalie Chmielewska:  It’s very, it’s interesting. And it challenges just like you to do something that you never thought would be possible. And so when you do it, you really see progress within yourself.

[00:07:15] And it’s inspiring because you can take that and apply it to other things like your academics or whatever else you’re going on your life. Like there’s only one thing. It’s like Ax throw, and me and Lauren were trying to figure out how to do it because everyone’s doing it so well. So we’re like, okay, it’s not an ax,

[00:07:33] We’re going to pretend it’s like a bag of flour or something. And we used a lot of like analogies and metaphors. And then we got the technique down finally. But like, it’s everything that you could think of with axes, saws, chainsaws, and wood.

Pete: So my name is Pete and I graduated last year, was on the team for three years, and this had a ton of fun with it competing.

[00:07:52] And traveling all over to competitions.

Julie Bartucca: Do you have like a proudest accomplishment on the team?

Pete: last year when I was a senior, competed competing the steel qualifiers. It’s like they’re collegia qualifiers and if you win that, then you go on semifinals in Wisconsin, I think I didn’t win anything, but it was still a lot of fun to compete.

[00:08:14] Mitch: Hi, I’m Mitch. I’m a sophomore here and mechanical engineer. I started, well, I first got into timber sports when I was a kid. Actually, I wasn’t actually competing as a kid, but I used to always go to the Goshen fair in the Litchfield around that area. And they always had the woodsman competitions there with like Mike Sullivan and like all the really, really good guys.

[00:08:33] So I used to watch that all the time. They used to do like the woodcarving competitions and where they would make the chairs. And my sister got the chair like two years in a row, like Mike Sullivan gave it out to her. So I was just like a really cool moment. And when I was coming to UConn, I was like.

[00:08:45] Doing a little research on like clubs that I could join when I got here and I saw the woodsmen club and I was like, and I was like, I have to go to that. So I came and I met the team and I just started practicing and it was just, it was just tons of fun.

Julie Bartucca: Very cool. Do you have a favorite memory from your time so far?

[00:09:00] Mitch: So far? I don’t know. There’s a lot of funny memories. I would say the last one, it was a lot of fun. You have to introduce a lot of new freshmen to the, to the sport and we got to see how they compete and all that stuff. And we did it. We’d really want a lot of events that we’ve been practicing really hard over the past couple of weeks.

[00:09:14] So it was just like a really proud moment to see everyone. Everything kind of came together, you know?

Julie Bartucca: What do you like the most about being part of this club?

Mitch: Definitely the people, the people in this club are really great. It’s kind of like what makes or breaks any club, to be honest. Everyone’s just like here to have a good time.

[00:09:26] And they like, they all like the sport too, which makes it a lot better. Like. No one drags their feet to practice. It’s always like, you know, better part of the week.

Maxine Philavong: Believe it or not, the UConn Woodsmen aren’t the only college Woodsmen out there. Dubbed timber sports, the teams compete in several meets a year

Student 2: so it’s kind of like a track meet,

[00:09:43] We compete against this whole bunch of other universities and colleges like the university of Vermont, New Hampshire. We have Colby college, Dartmouth. Quite a few more like ESF and Paul Smith. There’s a whole bunch of different events. Some of them are team events, so you do all together like log roll, team, cross cut, log toss, pack board.

[00:10:05] Then you have your triple events, so three people and you have typically two triple men’s cause you have six people on a team that can be chopping or splitting usually. Then there’s your double events and then you also have single.

Student 3: So we’re going to do pulled log, which is pretty much just like cornhole except with giant logs.

[00:10:22] Four logs, and you have the two sticks for the pit. It’s usually 20 feet apart and you do three people on each side cause it’s team of six and you throw the logs back and forth. It’s one point per log that lands within the stakes and then you just, you try to get to 48 as fast as you can. 48 points. Yea so you try to have to get the logs to land.

[00:10:41] Well, at least within the two stakes. If they land short, then you have to pull them behind the stakes and just one person will take, you know, throw ‘em

[00:10:53] for me. So there’s usually three different, I guess, sections or divisions. There’s men’s, women’s and Jack and Jill. Jack and Jill is going to be usually three men and three girls. Um, but sometimes it’s like they don’t have enough girls for a whole team like we don’t, and they’ll do like for like a whole women’s team, so they’ll do like a Jack and Jill that’s like four or five girls and one guy.

[00:11:16] Julie Bartucca: How heavy do you think those logs are?

Student 2: They’re pretty heavy. Ours are heavier than what we usually use in competition. They’re easier though. It does also depend on the school.

[00:11:33] What we try to do, in practices. Every time we miss one, we have to do five pushups, usually get pretty good pretty quickly. We’ll do a call outs, too. So we’re like standing on like opposite side. So the person here, well, she would be calling out for her. That side would be the outside and this side is the inside.

[00:11:52] And so you would call the direction that you want them to have it Land or like throw it. There you go.

Julie Bartucca: What would you do with the chainsaw in competition?

Student 3: So there’s two of them. One stock saw the stock, chainsaw, normal. It’s just the fastest. Whoever can cut down and then cut back the fastest.

[00:12:15] And then there’s also another one that’s called this stack, and it’s however many, we call them cookies. It’s this piece of wood you can stack on top of each other before you knock it over. You like keep it. Yeah. We put in one of those stands and it’s this. It’s all about pulling the saw. Out of the wood so it doesn’t fall right.

[00:12:34] If it lands back on the chain, it’ll like throw it out.

[00:12:40] Julie Bartucca: You can find the UConn Woodsmen on facebook.com/UConnWoodsmen and @UConn_woodsmen on Instagram.

[00:12:50] Ken Best: We have lots of forests around us here.

[00:12:52] Julie Bartucca: Yeah.

[00:12:52] Tom Breen: We do have a UConn forest.

[00:12:54] Julie Bartucca: Yeah. It really made me, again, wish that I knew that these things were happening when I was assuming.

[00:12:58] Not that I would have done that, but it was really cool.

[00:13:02] Ken Best: Do we really want

[00:13:03] Julie throwing an

[00:13:03] ax?

[00:13:04] Julie Bartucca: I don’t think you do. I think that’s very, I’ve done it at those places and it’s a lot of fun, but that’s just kind of freaked me out. When it comes buy back at a super liability issues. I don’t know how they get insured, but that’s not what they do at the UConn.

[00:13:15] Woodsmen they

[00:13:16] Ken Best: don’t throw axes at each other.

[00:13:17] Julie Bartucca: No, they don’t. They’re very safe. Yeah.

[00:13:19] Tom Breen: Well, there’s so many activities here you can do, but of course, there’s also a breadth of academic subjects where we learn all kinds of things about the world around us. And Ken talked to a faculty member who is studying a topic of particular recent interest.

[00:13:32] Ken Best: Yes. I spoke with English professor Chris Vials who is the director of American studies. I spoke with him several years ago about his first book on this subject. He has a lot of interests, including class and racial formation, popular culture, ethnic studies, social movements, and a working class cultural studies.

[00:13:49] But since 2012 much of his work has been an anti fascism. And the fascist movements in the United States. He has appeared on PBS, NPR, and CBC radio to discuss this six years ago. His book haunted by Hitler liberals, the left and the fight against fascism in the United States trace the history of anti-fascist politics in the United States since the 1930s and now he’s the co-editor of the U S anti fascism reader.

[00:14:15] A new anthology published last month by Verso press. We got together again to talk about his interest in the subject and his new book.

[00:14:29] What brought you to that subject?

[00:14:33] Chris Vials: What brought me to this subject in the first place was a very different and more low stakes moment, which was that I had done a lot of work in the 1930s and ’40s and I just saw this subject of fascism in the word fascism beginning to lose its meaning.

[00:14:49] You had people in the right, particularly Jonah Goldberg, who put out this book called liberal fascism, which was basically saying that anyone who uses government power for anything, it’s a fascist. And in that book was gaining some traction and a new . From the book and the conclusions of the book that we have had the functional equivalent of fascist movements throughout American history, and those have done a lot of damage to democracy, even though they haven’t taken full state power.

[00:15:18] So I knew that the stakes of the issue were real in the U S. But what I didn’t expect was that they would become so very real, so quickly. In fact, part of the conclusions of haunted by Hitler, the monograph was a a little bit premature. You know, we have fascist movements and mobilizations and things like this, but, um.

[00:15:40] We’ll never have president who will really kind of inhabit fascist rhetoric. But, uh, with Trump, you really do have a different animal. And, uh, when you do have actual Nazis on both sides of the Atlantic and cleanse folk and quote unquote white nationalists, actively excited about the election of this guy, then you have to go, okay, well what’s going on?

[00:16:03] Ken Best: So let’s fast forward now to the current book, which is an anthology and anthologies are great because there’s so much information. You don’t have to read it straight through. You can sort of select what you would like. You go through the history of. Journals and political people and scholars addressing various issues along the way.

[00:16:25] Right up until the, I guess the, the pre premier scholar, uh, Mark Bray, uh, who wrote Antifa, the antifascist handbook, where he addresses all kinds of of issues. Uh, what’s the challenge then in. Trying to bring all of this information together because you have so much that you can work with.

[00:16:44] Chris Vials: Yeah. I mean, I think you just named it, right.

[00:16:45] It’s, it’s figuring out what’s most important when there’s so many important things that have been said since the 1920s and the United States on this subject and the compilation. Is really mostly nonacademic writings. It’s people who are in movement cultures and who are trying to stop fascism in various ways.

[00:17:04] Really, you know, mostly since the 1930s up into the present. It’s mostly non-academics though. There’s some academics, mostly Americans or some, um, Europeans who are an exile in the United States. What we identified. You know, which was similar to the conclusions of the earlier book, which was that, uh, if you want to talk about fascism in the United States, you have to desegregate a fascist state from fascist movements, from fascist kind of personalities.

[00:17:30] And you know, we’ve never had a fascist state in the United States, including now, but we have had fascist movements. So that had been quite vast. The ones that we name and we trace and the U S antifascist and reader is similar to a haunted by Hitler, which is first of all the, uh, the KU Klux Klan in the 1920s, which was a mass movement.

[00:17:47] Um, the Coughlin, father Coughlin’s, um, Christian front and the 1930s, also an antisemitic mass movement, some of the anti civil rights ferment in the fifties and sixties. That culminates with George Wallace and also elements. The Christian. Right, and also elements of the Trump base today. That’s our kind of most our most of our, when we’re naming kind of fascist mobilizations in the U S that’s mostly what we’re focusing on.

[00:18:11] Ken Best: One point that does come back up in various pieces of the essays is the point that you made that there’s not a fascist party, but there are isolated pieces of movements that keep coming to the surface. Almost on a regular basis to what do you attribute that

[00:18:32] Chris Vials: it’s a little bit more difficult to, to name those pieces, right?

[00:18:38] In the United States and Europe, you’ve got the multi-party system rates. So in Germany for example, you know, if elements of the left and the right can cohere and their various different parties, and you know, you have a libertarian party, you know, the, um. FTP and then you have a more kind of far rights, you know, white nationalist party, the AFD, and then you have normal conservatives, you know, at the CDU.

[00:19:01] If elements of their right can just kind of dis-aggregate themselves. It’s easier to see. I’m in the United States, we have the two party systems, so all these strands that the left and all these strands of the right just cohere and the, either the democratic or the Republican parties, and it’s harder to parse apart.

[00:19:17] But you know why we have. Fascist mobilizations in the United States is because, you know, we have a long history of race and racial violence in the United States that provides the ground out of which a fascist movements can grow. If you have a history of kind of, you know, settler colonialism, Indian removal, quote unquote, if you have a history of frontier warfare, of slavery, of.

[00:19:43] Jim Crow and whiteness basically. You know, and I’m not saying American history is reduceable to all those things. There’s more to American history than just, you know, violence. But if you have that history, you have a ground out of which these movements can grow

[00:19:59] Ken Best: at the same time you, you look at the liberal left as having acted in discussed issues.

[00:20:07] Forcing these things to bubble up on the extreme right. Talk about that a little bit on how that is articulated. Cause it comes back time and again in various essays and again, at the end of the introduction,

[00:20:20] Chris Vials: is there something that is really was well known in Europe and became much more common sense here, which that this thing called anti fascism is a left wing phenomenon for the most part.

[00:20:32] And I’m not saying here that the left worldwide has not been responsible for atrocities or has not been responsible for authoritarian movements in its own right. That’s, that’s clearly not the case. But what you do see for the most part is the people who are most afraid of this thing called fascism and are mobilizing against it, tend to be on the political left.

[00:20:53] You know, when, what we say in the book, you know, and this is from, um, co editor bill Mullen. It come up with this phrase is that in the United States, fascism has been over imagined and under theorized, which is to say that we acknowledge that the left hand has a history of being hyperbolic and overusing the F word.

[00:21:12] And so it’s really important to have a more fine tuned sense of what is fascism and what is not. In any case, what we try to include also in collections of essays were not just when Americans on the left or American liberals were calling fascism, but also when they were analyzing something that didn’t quite meet the fascist label that came quite close.

[00:21:34] So in what we’ve found is that the American anti-fascist tradition can be just as instructive when it doesn’t use the F word as when it does, right. So for example, there’s an essay by Julius Jacobson who was writing in the early 1950s about McCarthy, and he said, McCarthy comes close. He’s got a fascist personality.

[00:21:56] But he doesn’t command a fascist movement in the United States is still not a fascist state. That’s actually quite useful, and it’s, I think it’s useful for thinking about Trump. Fast forwarding when we have Travers who says, you know, almost 70 years later, almost says the same thing about Trump

[00:22:11] Ken Best: and so Travers, who’s the Italian historian at Cornell and in his essay, which was only written two years ago, 2017. That’s our current, you’ve, you’ve brought this, this list of writers, uh, to us. Um, you say, since Trump does not respect the rule of law, traditional politics, risks are becoming obsolete at the very least. Best, largely inadequate politics is returning to the streets.

[00:22:36] Chris Vials: I’ve been kind of more interested lately in the history of the Brown shirts actually, and the essay, and we talk a little bit about this in the book, but the, um, it’s the

[00:22:48] This is the, this is the, um, the Brown shirts where they’re kind of the, the movement of Nazi Germany before they took state power, right. And then there were dissolved. Um, and you know, 1934 by Hitler when they’re, before they took state power, when Nazi-ism was just a street movement. You know, they’re the parallels to some of the things like the proud boys and you know, Patriot prayer and some of these things are pretty uncanny because they are really animated by a fight against the quote unquote Marxists left against the Antifa on the streets.

[00:23:19] They’re really are devoted. To street fights against the left. That’s their main thing. And so I think that’s when he says politics that return to the street, you know, we see these images from Charlottesville or Portland. We do have a sense of that. I mean, I think a difference is that in Germany, in the thirties early thirties and the late twenties you did have something like an equivalent of Charlottesville.

[00:23:41] Like every weekend it was the level of street conflict was much, much higher. Which is not to say that we can rest assured, but it’s also a sign that we just, we do need to get. Be, you know, historically accurate in our comparisons to,

[00:23:54] Ken Best: well, as I said, this is the second time we spoke. He has studied this. In depth and really when you realize the history of this since the 30s it’s, it’s scary that it’s still pops up pretty regularly in this country

[00:24:11] Julie Bartucca: percolating under the surface.

very timely topical stuff being timely.

[00:24:17] Tom Breen:  Speaking of timely, speaking of topical, as we record this, The day we record this, it’s national inventors day here in the United States. As you, as you listen to it, it is not national inventors day, but everyday at UConn is national inventors day. I like to think

[00:24:29] Ken Best: and invent something today.

[00:24:30] Julie Bartucca: Oh, I have a, I didn’t invent anything but many people here we have many, many illustrious.

[00:24:35] Tom Breen: Inventors, and we’re going to talk about one of those Tom’s history corner, who’s not only was not only an alum, but also a professor here. This is professor Daniel Noble. So does anyone know what a 2020 is? The hundredth anniversary of Ken? Ken. Ken was there. No, Ken should know this. This is going to be, this is a subject near and dear to your heart.

[00:24:53] Something about radio and casting.

[00:24:55] Ken Best: Well, might’ve been the first radio broadcast,

[00:24:59] Tom Breen: the first commercial radio 1920 yup. And UConn has

[00:25:06] Ken Best: some connection to that.

[00:25:07] Tom Breen: That connection is professor Dan Noble, who was a graduate when it was Connecticut Agricultural College and became a professor when it’s Connecticut State College, and as a student, he built UConn’s first radio station, WABL a according to Mark Roy, who did a lot of research on this.

[00:25:22] We don’t know what the WABL stood for, but those were the original call letters. They changed to W H U S later on. Those are the ones we know and love. . He was so good at this that he was actually hired to build Connecticut’s first ever FM radio station, which is WDRC. So he had a lot of experience in this area, and he was noticed to by Paul Galvin, who was the head of the company that became Motorola.

[00:25:43] Julie Bartucca: This is cool. I did not know any of this.

Tom Breen: Who hired Dan Noble to come to Motorola and become director of research. What Galvin was particularly impressed by was something that Dan Noble had developed for the Connecticut state police. A two way radio. So prior to this, police had no way to communicate with each other.

[00:25:59] There was no car to car communication. Dispatchers could send out one way radio, but cars could not respond. Police would have to like pull over and call. When they want, you know, they’re like, okay, we’re, he’s getting away, whatever. I don’t know. I don’t know what 1920s police said, but I’m probably that only.

[00:26:14] So, yeah, that’s the one thing that he’s going to get worried. Say, uh, Dan noble invented the first two way radio for police and then anywhere ever was in Connecticut, the Connecticut state police, and he kept refining this and created something called the walkie talkie, which was used by the U S army extensively.

[00:26:33] Julie Bartucca:  In every building at UConn. There should be like a plaque to him. This is so cool. There’s going to be a twist, is there a weird twist?

Tom Breen: No, not a weird twist, but I suspect it’s because he moved to Arizona after working for Motorola, and he convinced Galvin to start a large research facility there. In fact, the Arizona state university has named a giant building after him and calls him the father of Arizona industry.

[00:26:54] So. So they took him from us. Thanks, Dan. No, he was named a distinguished alumni in 1976 he passed away in 1980 yeah, so fascinating. A lot of UConn connections, not only to FM radio, but also to two way radio walkie-talkie. He was also a pioneer of transistor research.

Julie Bartucca:  I knew about like the Frisbee and the wiffle ball in Connecticut, but not

[00:27:15] Walkie talkie.

Tom Breen:  I know, right.

Julie Bartucca:  That’s awesome. Very cool stuff.

Tom Breen: So yeah, our hats are off to a professor and alum, Dan noble,

Julie Bartucca:  You provide a real service. Tom. Hi, this is really good.

Tom Breen: It didn’t sound entirely serious.

[00:27:31] Yeah. So every time you’re listening to FM radio, you’re using the research or using your walkie talkie to talk to your friends at a sleep over. I don’t know what people do with walkie-talkies or

[00:27:40] Ken Best: when you read the old Dick Tracy cartoons and the two-way wrist radio

[00:27:43] Julie Bartucca: all things we all do very often.

[00:27:47] Maxine Philavong:  I’m interning at WNPR this semester, so there’s more radio. Yeah, exactly. Yup. Thank you, Dan.

Julie Bartucca: So explain to me the difference between am and FM. Go

[00:27:56] Ken Best: frequency modulations, but like that’s all you need to know.

[00:28:01] Julie Bartucca: How does it. Work FM and it has like a bigger frequency.

Tom Breen: I don’t know the answer. My, my father would be outraged.

[00:28:07] The answer, cause I mean radios used to only have an bands. I really like how I am always sounds like it’s 1956 like no matter where you are, what you’re doing,

[00:28:15] Ken Best: we can bring Pete in from next door. He can explain

[00:28:18] Julie Bartucca: it.

[00:28:19] Ken Best: He actually majored in radio when he was in college.

[00:28:21] Tom Breen: Most of the radios in my house are only am radio.

[00:28:23] There was no FM band. Wow.

Julie Bartucca: Yeah. You have a lot of radios. You got rid of a lot of radio.

Tom Breen: I did, but I still have probably 50 radios, radios. My dad was a, he would buy and repair antique radios and sell them was enlightening. This wasn’t my thing. So yeah, a happy national inventors day to everyone and UConn nation.

[00:28:40] Thanks for listening. As always, if you want more of this, you can find us on twitter.com at a UConn podcast. You can also find me @TJBreen or @main_old. Or I posted a picture, a pretty cool picture of John diBiaggio recently with two other UConn presidents and two governors of Connecticut.

Julie Bartucca: I really liked the picture of the woman in her dorm room with the Madonna poster.

[00:29:01] Tom Breen: Yes. Yes. I’m a vintage 1988 you can, without even knowing it from 1988 you can look at it and say, Maxine, is there anything you want the good people of podcast land to know.

Maxine Philavong:  You can follow me on Twitter @MaxinePhilavong, and I am interning on the two morning shows at WNPR, so I’m going to do where we live and the Colin McEnroe show, so they’re very cool.

[00:29:25] Julie,

Julie Bartucca:  I’m @JulieBartucca . That’s about it. Ken.

[00:29:29] Ken Best: Saturdays from three to five and 91.7 w. H. U. S. UConn’s sound alternative. And of course on the radio version of the UConn 360 podcast.

[00:29:40] Tom Breen: All thanks to Dan.