WVUM: ‘The voice of UM’

College isn’t always about going to class and squeezing in some party time in between. Students spend hours in athletic practices, meetings, rehearsals, deadlines, jobs and a multitude of other things.

Each Tuesday, The Hurricane will run “Behind the Scenes,” a series spotlighting student groups and organizations that make the University a more dynamic place.

Operating since 1967, 90.5 WVUM, the University’s resident student-run radio station, has brought students an array of underground music and provided 24-hour programming from its headquarters in the University Center (UC). The 80-person WVUM staff, except the general manager and program director, is there on a voluntary basis, pledging to commit to a show at least once a week.

“[WVUM] works just like any other radio station,” Kira Wisniewski, general manager of WVUM, said. “We have regular programming during the day and specialty shows during the evening.”

As general manager, Wisniewski oversees the entire station.

“I do everything from ordering office supplies, to directing the executive board, to hosting two shows myself on the air,” she said.

To decide what programs go on the air, disc jockeys and listeners send in their requests and the WVUM executive board votes on them.

The music directors sample hundreds of CDs a week to find the best music to put on the air. Their goal is to bring students a variety of good music that is often ignored by commercial radio. In total, WVUM broadcasts 20 specialty shows that feature specific genres of music, sports and news.

Aside from the music, sports are also a huge part of WVUM.

“We broadcast every home football game, six volleyball games, three soccer games, home men’s basketball games, all the women’s basketball games and all the baseball games,” Adam Aizer, sports director for WVUM, said.

That totals up to about 100 broadcasts a year.

As sports director, Aizer is responsible for running his staff of almost 30 students aspiring to be play-by-play broadcasters, scheduling when they’re broadcasting and when they’re producing. Throughout the year, he is responsible for raising money from underwriting businesses to cover sports’ expenses, which include transportation to away games. Aside from all of this, he’s also responsible for recording the 30-second spots bought from the underwriters, as well as game openings.

“I love [my job],” Aizer said, “but it’s a lot of work.”

Training new DJs is also a regular part of the station’s routine. Currently, there are 64 people on the waiting list for new DJs. The training director oversees the three-week course that each new DJ must take.

“We had a couple of training sessions,” Christina Demetre, junior and DJ for WVUM, said. “Each session within the studio was a full three-hour shift. We also were required to take a [Federal Communications Commission] exam to make sure we understand the rules and regulations.”

Demetre hosts the 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. shift on Sunday mornings.

“As a new DJ, your show must be an overnight shift,” Demetre said. “This is where you really learn how to DJ and can work out all the kinks. You don’t have too many listeners so it isn’t as intimidating as a daytime shift.”

Now in its 38th year, the station is still growing. Wisniewski has recently brought some interesting things to WVUM, including hosting an art show featuring Sam Brown of Exploding Dog and the rights to broadcast the 75th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

For more information on WVUM and their events, or if you want to get involved, visit them on the web at wvum.org or pass by their office outside the University Center.

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at c.dominguez3@umiami.edu.