WUMD: Making radio cool again

by Carina Hennessy, Contributing Writer
You don’t listen to radio much, right? It’s all the same songs, over and over, with no variety. Why listen to the radio when all you’re getting out of it is an itching hatred for that overplayed Chainsmokers or Twenty One Pilots song that you liked at first? Well, your definition of radio is about to be majorly refreshed. Upstairs in UMass Dartmouth’s Campus Center, tucked back in a small hallway across from the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, is a tiny, non-profit community-supported radio station that’s making big statements. On FM 89.3, WUMD plays everything from up-and-coming local groups to the newest alternative tracks, from metal to reggae and jazz. WUMD is a place that can truly claim to have something for everybody. Almost every day there are several blocks filled with the most ear-catching media and public affairs segments such as “The Media Project”, “Big Picture Science”, and “State of the Queer Nation” along with our regular music broadcasts. We may very well be news to you, but WUMD has existed in various forms since 1972, when UMass Dartmouth was still Southern Massachusetts University. We still have merch from over ten years ago around the station’s office that’s stamped with our old call letters, WUSM and WSMU. WUMD has kept running the past few decades through individual donations, invested work-study students like myself, passionate DJs, and the devotion of our station manager, Jennifer Mulcare-Sullivan. Mulcare-Sullivan is exactly the type of renaissance woman to address this eclectic station’s needs. On top of her other jobs, past and present, (including positions as an EMT and a track and field coach) Mulcare-Sullivan has been involved at the station since she was an undergraduate English student at SMU, where she started off reading the news on-air. Since she took the DJ training class in 1987, she says, “I’ve done just about every job there is, just about every show”. She puts in many hours every week in her office overlooking the campus quad, sorting incoming music and taking calls from hopeful labels, sometimes even stepping back into the DJ booth. Her hard work, and that of our charismatic DJs, pays off—when she’s travelled, her WUMD t-shirt has been recognized abroad by listeners in Canada and even Bermuda. Although WUMD is a local station, the station has worldwide appeal. Professor Dario Borim Jr.’s Thursday night Brazilian jazz show, Brazilliance, boasts devoted listeners from all over. Celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year, Brazilliance is a testament to the merits of alternative radio and the passion of those who create it. Borim had been in love with radio since his first college teaching job in 1998 in Minas Gerais, Brazil. He had helped create a brand new station at Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, but was offered a position at here at UMass Dartmouth (SMU at the time) just as it started broadcasting. Borim was overjoyed when he learned he could be trained as a DJ at SMU, and on the morning of Brazilliance’s first broadcast he says, “I literally cried from the sheer pleasure of knowing I was ready, and would enjoy radio more than any other of my hobbies.” He also adds about his experiences and the relevance of WUMD’s programming both worldwide and locally, saying, “Working with WUMD staff and doing Brazilliance, my live radio/Internet show on Thursdays [from] 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. have been very gratifying to me… I have had the pleasure of hosting students, community leaders, and musicians at the studio.” Borim continues on to say, “The whole fifteen years of my volunteer work at WUMD have helped me discover and celebrate the cultures of Brazil, Cape Verde, and Portugal, among other cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world, in a region of the country where it makes a lot of sense, given the history and the ethnic make-up of the South Coast. I could not be any happier than I am for having the tools and the passion for the dissemination of such wonders to the local community, via FM waves, and to the rest of the world, via Internet.” Does being a DJ sound like a rewarding experience you’d like to get in on? WUMD is running its DJ training classes this year on Sundays, starting from 2 to 5 p.m. The first class will be on September 25, the second on October 2, and the last two on October 9 and October 16. There is an info/general interest meeting in the second floor Campus Center conference room at 7 p.m. on Thursday September 22, and sign-ups for the program are due by Saturday September 24 at 4 p.m. UMass Dartmouth students can sign up for free. All other participants are asked to pay a $40 program fee. As Borim pointed out, you don’t need access to a radio to tune in to WUMD! While you can tune in to us at 89.3 FM in your car or through a radio, we can be easily streamed in your dorm room, at home, or anywhere else in the world through our website. Simply go to 893wumd.org to listen in, check program schedules, or learn more about the station. Should you have any questions or comments, the station can be reached at wumd@umassd.edu.

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