Michigan Radio History
11:00 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Michigan Radio History Timeline

1948: WUOM goes on the air July 5, 1948 from studios in Angell Hall on the University of Michigan campus, broadcasting 20 hours per week, monaural, at 44,000 watts. Among the early programs were Prof. Preston Slosson's commentary on the news, Prof. Warren Good's "Record Collector", and "Hymns of Faith". The policy of originating play-by-play broadcasts of University football games for pick-up by a network of Michigan stations was established.

1949: WUOM moves into new studios and offices of the Administration Building occupying the entire fifth floor, becoming one of the most elaborate educational broadcasting plants in existence. The station originates its' first broadcast of Michigan football, with play-by-play from station sports director Bill Fleming. The first broadcast of Handel's Messiah was made from Hill Auditorium.
View the WUOM program schedule from September, 1949 (PDF)

1950: Official dedication of WUOM. The station joins National Association of Educational Broadcasters and exchanges taped programs with other educational stations throughout the country.
View information from the station dedication (PDF)


1952: WFUM-FM goes on the air serving Flint at 107.1FM, with 400 watts of power.
View the WUOM program guide from December, 1952 (PDF)

1953: WUOM receives its first grant-in-aid to finance production of the series "They Fought Alone" dealing with the fight for academic freedom. This was one of several dramatic series produced by the station.
View the WUOM program schedule from Summer, 1953

1955: Power increased to 115,000 watts, reaching listeners throughout southeast Michigan, northern Ohio and western Ontario. On the air 70 hours per week.

1956: A Saturday afternoon feature, "Panorama" including dramas, documentaries, interviews and music from the BBC, the CBC, and other sources was started.

1958: Due to University budget cuts, WFUM discontinues broadcasting. WUOM celebrates its tenth anniversary. The first WUOM broadcast of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was carried from Ford Auditorium in Detroit. Station receives a grant-in-aid to produce "One Nation Indivisible", a series of documentaries dealing with the growth of nationalism in the 20th century.
View information from the station's ten year anniversary guide (PDF)

1960: WUOM broadcasts Sen. John F. Kennedy's campaign speech from Ann Arbor that inspires the creation of the Peace Corps.

1961: WUOM power increased to 230,000 watts. Satellite station WVGR (Grand Rapids) goes on the air, increasing station's coverage area to include Southwest Michigan. (The WVGR call letters were tribute to Fred Vogt, who led fundraising efforts for the station.)

1963: Tom Hemingway broadcasts his first Michigan football game for WUOM (UM vs. SMU)
Michigan Football Sticker

1967: First broadcast of Jazz Revisited, the station's long running program featuring music from the early years of jazz, hosted by Hazen Schmacher.

With involvement from WUOM General Manager Edwin Burrow and former Program Director Jerrold Sandler, Congress passes the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which becomes the financial foundation for public radio across the country.
Read about the creation of the Public Broadcasting Act

1971: WUOM joins National Public Radio, and becomes one of the flagship stations to begin airing All Things Considered. Linked with NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. via monaural land line interconnect, the station is able to broadcast programs from NPR or 75 other member stations. First appeal for listener contributions.
Hear what All Things Considered sounded like then.

1973: First stereo control board completed; first stereo broadcast. Broadcast day increased to 18 ½ hours.
View the WUOM program schedule from April, 1973 (PDF)

1974: First on-air membership marathon conducted.
View an early membership drive photo

1978: Live music studio and stereo room completed. Site surveys for NPR's satellite interconnect completed.

1985: WFUM-FM goes back on the air serving the Flint area at 91.1 FM, simulcasting programming from WUOM/WVGR.

1988: Weekend Edition debuts on the station.

1989: The Michigan Radio name is adopted, to better reflect the station's large coverage area. Morning Edition and Marketplace debut on Michigan Radio.
Morning Edition Program (PDF)

1995: The BBC Newshour debuts on Michigan Radio. Michigan Radio joins the information superhighway by launching the station's first website.

1996: Michigan Radio inaugurates a new era by adopting a news/talk format, becoming one of the first FM public radio stations to do so. Car Talk, Diane Rehm Show, Fresh Air and Talk of the Nation premiere on the station.

The Great Lakes Radio Consortium (now known as The Environment Report) joins Michigan Radio, providing comprehensive environmental news coverage to public radio stations throughout the Great Lakes region.
View the cover of the September 1996 program guide (PDF)

2003: Michigan Radio moves to the historic Argus Building on West William Street in Ann Arbor.
Photo of Argus Building

2005: Michigan Radio begins HD Radio broadcasting.

2008: Michigan Radio introduces Mobile, an innovative service that allows people to access Michigan Radio and NPR news content on their cell phones and mobile devices.