Art Anderson was instrumental in making the idea of a student-run radio station into a reality, by literally making the connections that powered and transformed WPGU in its early days. He was there when the station first went on air broadcasting music to the Parade Ground Units, and eventually progressed to maintaining regular airtime. Art contributed to the planning for the studio that was to be built in Weston Hall and built the original studio board. As the first WPGU chief engineer, he provided the technical expertise and labor required to keep the station running.
Not only did Art understand the work and mechanics to get WPGU on the air, but he also had the foresight to realize the need for a parent organization for the student station. Art made the initial contact with then Illini Publishing Company, thus beginning the relationship that has allowed WPGU to flourish to this day.
Following his years at WPGU, Art had a career as an engineer, consultant and engineering supervisor for Delco Electronics in Kokomo, Ind. While there, he built large and small systems used in General Motors and other plants. Art and his company, Computer Systems and Software, also developed a special liquid leak detection system used in pipelines, fuel tanks, computer rooms, clean rooms, hospitals and libraries worldwide. In addition, Art worked more than 25 years at Functional Devices Inc., an electronics manufacturing company doing software programming, electronic hardware design and electrical systems design. He also has given back to students by teaching mathematics at Indiana University at Kokomo as well as Bunker Hill/Grissom Air Force Base.
Art married fellow WPGU alumna Bette Simon in 1958 in what was probably the first lasting WPGU romance. They have three children and five grandchildren. In his free time, Art participates in extensive volunteer work with the Boy Scouts, Kokomo Civic Theater, Temple B’nai Israel, Chabad of Austin, Miami Correctional Facility and his local high school robotics programs, the TechnoKats. Art continues to be one of Illini Media’s most active alumni, regularly attending alumni events — including the 512 Green St. dedication — and serving as a resource to students.
This bio was written at the time of Art Anderson’s inauguration into the 2009 Illini Media Hall of Fame. Mr. Anderson was killed in a tragic accident in August 2011.