WSUM marks 10 years of student radio

Feb. 21, 2012

WSUM, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s licensed student radio station, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.

After winning the right to build its radio tower, the station launched on Feb. 22, 2002, at 2:22 p.m.

Photo: WSUM student radio studio

WSUM student radio marks its 10th anniversary this week.

Photo: Jeff Miller

Since then, thousands of UW students and community members have gained unparalleled broadcasting experience by hosting music, talk, and sports shows, as well as covering UW sporting events. Many students have pursued careers in the industry.

“It’s been unbelievable to see how the station has evolved over the years, and that’s a credit to our amazing students,” says Dave Black, WSUM general manager.

To commemorate its tenth anniversary, WSUM will host numerous events throughout the year, highlighted by an anniversary party this Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Union South. The event will be held in Varsity Hall from 6-9 p.m.

“We’ve been working hard to put together an amazing event,” said WSUM station manager Michael Voloshin. “We’re excited about how many alumni are coming back.”

WSUM is a national award-winning, community radio station that has become the gold standard for college stations across the state. More than 200 volunteers help produce almost round-the-clock programming ranging from 1940s jazz to live sets from local bands.

“WSUM has provided me with so many unbelievable opportunities,” says  Kyle Deckelbaum, sports director. “It’s hard to imagine graduating and leaving this.”

Getting to this point was anything but easy, officials say. Between the years of 1952 and 1993, five different stations attempted to achieve success on campus. Each station failed for reasons spanning from money to trouble with the FCC.

In 1993, UW student radio gained the support of two men whose influence would become essential to the success of WSUM: James Hoyt, who had been a part of previous efforts to create student radio on campus, and Black, who would become WSUM’s general manager.

With the continued efforts of Hoyt and Black, along with the support of former UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley, WSUM was eventually granted the right to construct its tower.

“It has been an unbelievable 10 years,” says Black. “I’m excited about our activities this year, and I can’t wait to see how we’ll continue to grow over the next decade.”