Thursday, April 17, 2008

Radio Not Dead at University of Wisconsin's WSUM-FM

There's a profile today of University of Wisconsin at Madison's radio station WSUM 91.7 FM that claims that radio is not dead (thank goodness!). WSUM is a relatively new station, broadcasting on FM since 2002. Their website states that, "Before this date, UW-Madison was the largest U.S. university without an on-air, student-run radio station..." Prior to that they were working to become a licensed FM station and during their transition period broadcast online beginning in 1997. It's disheartening to see all the college stations who have lost or are losing their FM licenses, so I'm glad to see that WSUM saw the merits of persevering in order to obtain their transmitter and on-air license.

According to the article in the Badger Herald:

"...the assortment of genres played on WSUM is endless. [Y Mae] Sussman, a UW junior...hosts 'Scandalous!' a weekly show aired Fridays 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. 'My show features] mostly Scandinavian pop, electronic, folk and rock,' Sussman said...Another distinctive program on WSUM is 'Mario Bandstand,' hosted by Trevor Masse Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. In his show, the UW junior features video game music, offering yet another unique repertoire."

Like many college stations, WSUM seems to be relatively unknown on campus according to the article:

"Despite WSUM’s involvement in Madison and the extensive array of musical genres and talk shows, many students pay little attention to — or aren’t even aware of — the radio station’s existence on the UW campus. Yet, WSUM still manages to attract a multitude of students at any experience level and area of study who have an interest in becoming a DJ...

Furthermore, involvement in WSUM’s broadcast is not limited to students who anticipate a future in broadcasting. 'Ninety-five percent of the people who come to work at WSUM, or any other college radio station, are not going to work in radio as a profession,' [WSUM General Manager Dave] Black said."

Indeed. How many of you college radio DJs (and former DJs) plan to go into commercial radio? For me, professional radio was NEVER a goal since I enjoy the freedom and creativity of college and community radio.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm an academic staff person at UW-Madison, where I volunteer as a WSUM DJ. Although I'm not a radio professional, radio is still in my blood, 30 years after my involvement at a college NPR affiliate. Just as I enjoy being part of the WSUM community, I'll wager that many students will find ways to continue creative participation in radio later in life.

rubes said...

One more vote for "hell no, i never plan(ned) to go to a commercial station." I've done college radio and a bit of npr affiliate radio (some might consider that a grey area, i dunno). But mersh radio? It would take a miracle - like, being able to play what I wanted. Which, on commercial radio, would be miraculous.

Jennifer Waits said...

It's great to see people getting back involved with college radio years later. I did the same thing. I was a DJ in college, then returned to radio 6 years later when I went to graduate school and haven't stopped DJing since!