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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. View the history of Michigan Radio on Wikipedia

Michigan Radio Turns 70!

Fred Remley, engineer at the station beginning in 1948, and the control board he used. Behind is a photo of himself, using that very control board in 1948. This photo was taken at the Stations 70th Anniversary picnic.
Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio
Fred Remley, engineer at the station beginning in 1948, with the control board he used. Behind is a photo of himself using this very control board in 1948. This photo was taken at Michigan Radio's 70th Anniversary Picnic.

On July 5, 1948, Michigan Radio signed onto the air as WUOM for the first time.

Original WUOM Studios
Credit Bentley Historic Library
WUOM Studios Circa 1949

The station was on air for just 20 hours a week, and broadcast from a classroom in University of Michigan’s Angell Hall. In these earliest years at WUOM, the station included programming such as commentary on the news, “Record Collector,” and “Hymns of Faith.”  

In the past 70 years, WUOM has grown and adapted exponentially. In 1989, WUOM officially adopted the new name of Michigan Radio to better reflect the network's large coverage across much of the state. In 1996, Michigan Radio completely phased out classical music to instead focus on a news-and-information format. And, in 2003, Michigan Radio moved for the second time since its start, to our current studios near downtown Ann Arbor.  

Hazen Schumacher, host of Jazz Revisited, sharing radio knowledge with University of Michigan Students
Credit Bentley Historic Library
Hazen Schumacher, host of Jazz Revisited, shares radio and jazz with University of Michigan students

Michigan Radio has also played an important role in developing the public radio system. WUOM General Manager Ed Burrow and former program director Jerrold Sandler were both involved in the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, and Michigan Radio was one of the first member stations of NPR.  

In the ever-evolving landscape of public radio, Michigan Radio now also distributes news and information on our website and app, creates original content such as The Environment Report and Stateside, and often collaborates with other media organizations to bring in-depth stories to our listeners.

Check out our Michigan Radio history timeline below:

Kathryn began at Michigan Radio in 2017 as an intern in the grants department. After being among the magic of Michigan Radio for nine months, she got the radio bug and now is an intern in the digital team. Kathryn works on all things web related; photos, videos, writing, and various other forms of multimedia information sharing. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018 with a degree in English, and minors in Art & Design, and the Environment.
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