I love college radio history and couldn’t be more thrilled about the exhaustive effort undertaken by the University of Maryland in its new exhibit, Saving College Radio: WMUC Past, Present and Future. Curated by sound archivist, ethnomusicologist and WMUC DJ Laura Schnitker, the exhibit can be viewed in the university library in College Park, Maryland through July, 2014. Additionally, the exhibit will soon include an online component.
University of Maryland’s radio history dates back to the 1930s, when radio courses were introduced on campus. In the 1940s, students launched a campus-only station and in 1979, WMUC was granted its FM license and currently broadcasts at 88.1 FM. According to an article on the University of Maryland website,
“Offering the student perspective of key historical events and campus happenings, the exhibit draws from more than 1,800 audio recordings as well as reports, administrative files, brochures and photographs…Among the highlights of the exhibit are: early 1970s audio recordings of Vietnam War protests on campus that drew thousands of demonstrators; a station ID, or short on-air promo, that John Lennon recorded for a WMUC deejay at the press conference accompanying the Beatles’ first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum; station IDs recorded by other celebrities including Fats Domino, Chubby Checker, Phyllis Diller and Frank Zappa…”
I applaud the University of Maryland for placing value on the history of student radio on campus. I hope that this project will inspire other universities to work at documenting and preserving the stories emanating from college radio.
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