Thursday, November 6, 2008

WMUC: University of Maryland Radio

WMUC, one of the oldest college radio stations in the world, made its debut in 1937 as a news and information station after CBS donated equipment to the University of Maryland. Following decades of achievement and national and world acknowledgement, a local NPR affiliate took over WMUC’s 88.1 FM frequency with the permission of the FCC in 2006. This forced WMUC to broadcast exclusively online.

When I first accessed the site, I was immediately drawn into the blog, which is the central element to WMUC’s homepage. I think this is very effective as it features current and upcoming features on the station, with text and images. The top of the page showcases their calls letters over a nicely-colored 1950s-esque image, which gives the feel of old-time, glory-days radio. As I continue to browse the site, Etta James’ “At Last” ironically streams from the station into my iTunes player (okay, a few years off).

The first option on the upper left-hand side of the page is to “Listen Online.” Four options follow: WMUC HQ (96Kbps), WMUC Lo-fi (32kbps), WMUC HQ (96 kbps) and WMUC2 Lo-Fi (64Kbps). Directly below this, WMUC lists what is playing at that exact moment, with the option to Instant Message the DJ or call in. At this point, you can probably tell that they stream live. Below this, there are several easily-navigable options including options like Show Schedules, Calendars, DJ Profiles and a Discussion Board. There are also options to Contact the Staff, look at Station History, and opportunities to Submit Music and PSAs.

WMUC’s station staff is fairly basic, but they certainly have all aspects covered appropriately. Listed positions include the following: General Manager, Operations Manager, Program Director, Business Manager, Promotions Manager, Chief Engineer, Music Director, Live Music/Third Rail Directors (2), and Sports Director.

I found this site to be easily-navigable, attractive, and entertaining. The most appealing aspects of the site, from my perspective, are the central blog, the live streaming and the overall ease of accessing information and entertainment.

No comments: