WUMD Signs Off FM Signal Monday, Switching to Online-Only
After 42 years of broadcasting on terrestrial FM radio, UMass Dartmouth campus station WUMD is signing off Monday and going with a solely online format.
The school reached an agreement earlier this year to transfer its FM license to Rhode Island Public Radio in return for $1.5 million in cash and other considerations, and the university is putting $25,000 of that into modernizing the station to make it the best possible streaming station it can.
WUMD station manager Jennifer Mulcare-Sullivan tells WBSM News the station has already been online for 19 years.
"So it's not something new to us," she said. "The new part for us will be only being online. But we're looking to get some new equipment and sort of change it up a bit."
Mulcare-Sullivan says they are working on a new distribution system for the online operation, as well as a smartphone app that will be rolling out shortly. For now, the station can be accessed at WUMD.ROCKS, as well as through the station's Facebook page.
"We're getting some new equipment. We're going to have video capabilities, new computers, upgrades to our streaming capabilities," she said. "So it will be video as well as audio, and it will be cleaner and faster, and we're going to need that, because we have to put forth the best website possible."
She said some of the equipment has not yet arrived, but the station is ready to start its streaming-only incarnation with what it already has.
Mulcare-Sullivan said the streaming incarnation of the station will continue with the same diverse programming the college station has become known for, while also getting the opportunity to expand its offerings. The station will add some new programming beginning in the next school year, including a sports show and a program that will be collaboration with the campus newspaper.
She said WUMD has a diverse group of DJs ranging in age from 13 to 86, and that each programs their own show and brings a variety of life experience to their broadcasts. She said that will continue to be the case with the online-only format.
"We're an alternative music radio station. We try to educate people through music," she said. "That's what we've done, and that's what we hope to continue to do."
The station will begin broadcasting a special tribute to its first 42 years at 8 a.m. Monday, and it will go until the station signs off at noon.
"It's going to be a celebration rather than a memorial," said Mulcare-Sullivan, who has been with the station for 30 years. "We're going to have some people coming in that have been here from the beginning, and some who have been with us just the past three months. We'll be celebrating music from 1972 to 2017 from all the genres that we represent. There are some critical must-play songs, bands that are important, but we should also be hearing some stories, and just have a positive celebration of what we've done."
Then at 12:01, the station will switch over solely to its online format with its regular programming, beginning the next phase of its existence and continuing to bring an alternative to music fans across the SouthCoast, and now, the world.