1948 : Michigan Radio (91.7 FM, WUOM) Takes to the Air

July 5, 2018 all-day

When Michigan Radio first went on air on July 5, 1948, only 500,000 people in the United States owned a radio set. There were only fifty FM channels in existence, and only 8 educational channels.

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.

Michigan Radio around 1949.

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”.

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, shares radio and jazz with University of Michigan students (Bently Historical Library Photo)

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.

Broadcast coverage area
Use the interactive map below to view Michigan Radio’s broadcast coverage area. Note that WVGR 104.1 FM West MI is green, WUOM 91.7 FM Ann Arbor/Detroit is red, and WFUM 91.1 FM Flint is blue.

Source : Michigan Radio About Link