Michigan Radio History
WUOM, 91.7 FM first signed on the air in July, 1948. One of the first educational institutions in the country to apply for an FM license, the station went on the air on July 5, and has been in continuous operation ever since. At the time, FM radio was extremely new. It was estimated that there were only about fifty FM stations, and only eight other educational FM stations, in operation across the country... with approximately 500,000 FM receiving sets in use in the entire United States.
With a full time staff of five people, including Director of Broadcasting Waldo Abbott, the station began broadcasting from temporary studios in Angell Hall on the University of Michigan campus. Students used the space for classes from 8:00am until 2:00pm, and WUOM then went on the air from 2:30pm until 8:00pm. The station was off the air most Saturdays and broadcast for only two hours on Sundays.
Much has changed since then. Michigan Radio now consists of three stations (WUOM – 91.7 FM, WVGR – 104.1 FM, and WFUM – 91.1 FM), and broadcasts public radio news and information programming 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to an audience of approximately 500,000 listeners across southern Michigan. Even so, Michigan Radio still fulfills the original purpose of the University's broadcasting service, to provide "... stimuli for a broader knowledge, fuller understanding, and deeper appreciation of the humanities, of the sciences, and of social, economic and civic problems".
We hope you'll enjoy this look at 60 years of public radio at the University of Michigan.