Hall of Fame 2015

Deborah S. Proctor

Deborah S. Proctor, General Manager and Chief Engineer of WCPE, passed the exam for a FCC “First Class Radio License” while too young to get a driver’s license. As an Electrical Engineering student at NC State University in the early 1970s, she and four of her peers founded WCPE, which is an independent listener-supported radio station dedicated to excellence in classical music broadcasting. They handbuilt a 12,500 watt transmitter and all of the studio equipment and made a L-Band microwave Tx/Rx pair to connect the transmitter to the studio five miles away. On July 17, 1978, WCPE’s first program, the BBC World News, was broadcast via shortwave. This also marked the first regular US rebroadcast of their news. Among the innovations that Ms. Proctor has overseen at WCPE is the creation of an international Internet broadcast presence, making WCPE the first radio to be broadcast over the Internet (October 2, 1996).

Through the 1990s, she worked to upgrade the FM rules for public radio to those of commercial radio, correcting a 100 fold technical anomaly between them, now nicknamed “The Raleigh Rule.” Ms. Proctor also helped pass a November 2002 Federal law giving small, non-profit webcasters a simple royalty license. Ms. Proctor is a Certified Professional Broadcast Engineering, an IEEE member, a founding member of the NC Public Radio Association, and has served on the NC Public Broadcasting Advisory Board and the NC Association of Broadcasters Board. For more than 30 years, she has combined her knowledge of engineering with her love of classical music, creating great prominence for the station.