Music lovers in all of Miami-Dade County can now listen to WVUM 90.5 FM, the University of Miami’s campus radio station, because of a newly installed transmitter and antenna. The award-winning student-run radio station will reach 1.5 million more people with this upgrade.
WVUM’s last transmitter upgrade was in 1998 and enabled its signal to be broadcast throughout Coral Gables and the surrounding areas. Now it can reach as far south as Florida City and as far north as Ft. Lauderdale thanks to a generous donation which is part of Momentum2, a comprehensive $1.6 billion fundraising initiative by the University.
“We are excited to reach new listeners and provide a stronger signal to our loyal listeners,” says UM student Savanna Stiff, General Manager of WVUM. “We have so much community support and listeners outside of UM who contact us every day to know where they can hear us. It’s thrilling to be able to reach so many of them.”
A ceremony celebrating the station’s expanded reach took place on Oct. 19 outside WVUM’s offices during the University’s Homecoming/Alumni weekend. Many alumni who worked at the station since it was established in 1968 attended.
“Students are delighted with the ability to attract new listeners to WVUM’s music, UM sports coverage and its news and public affairs programming,” adds Paul Driscoll, Vice Dean of UM’s School of Communication and the station’s faculty adviser. “We are grateful for the outpouring of financial and technical support from Alumni, the Administration and the many university personnel that helped the project succeed.”
UM Alumnus and School of Communication donor, the late Richard D. Buckley, led the initial efforts to upgrade WVUM’s transmitting equipment. Buckley, class of 1960, was a DJ at WVUM and went on to become president and CEO of his own media company, Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, which includes 20 radio stations throughout the U.S.
Buckley was a generous UM supporter for many years prior to his death in July 2011. To help complete his vision for WVUM, Nick Verbitsky, father of a UM graduate and chairman and CEO of United Stations Radio Networks, the largest independently owned radio network in the United States, made a substantial donation for the expansion. The University's Division of Student Affairs, led by Patricia Whitely, also contributed significant funds for the power upgrade. Additionally, WVUM held fundraising events to support the effort.
“Rick Buckley and I were great friends in radio for over 30 years. He was passionate about UM and determined to do all he could to get WVUM upgraded — and he did so,” Verbitsky says. “I was honored when School of Communication Dean Greg Shepherd asked me to help complete Rick's vision.”
Awarded the “College Radio Woodie” for being voted the best college radio station in the country by mtvU, WVUM plays a variety of music, including alternative, world, hip-hop, techno and more. The station also produces original news and public affairs programming, and provides coverage of UM sporting events. The station streams worldwide on www.wvum.org.