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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

WUMBeatdown

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WUMB, the non-commercial radio station that operates in the bowels of our Healey Library, recently reached out to UMB students in the hopes of finding some fresh talent. Over 40 people auditioned in mid-September and now that number has been whittled down to nine students vying for the chance to host their own show.

According to Pat Monteith, general manager of WUMB, there are two slots open for on-air talent; she also suggested that depending on the budget more students might be hired for behind-the-scenes jobs.

Some students have voiced concern about the lack of airtime they have been given in the past at WUMB. In response to the question of whether this concern prompted the station to initiate the Talent Quest, Monteith said, “No, we’ve actually been trying for years. We used to have students on the air years ago.”

According to Monteith, UMB had a Radio Learning Program ten years ago that worked with the Communications department to get students involved in the radio station. A professor named Mark Schlesinger headed the now-defunct program, and when he left, “the whole program fell apart.”

Monteith said that WUMB had been keeping an eye out for someone internally who could properly train students. She also said, “I haven’t seen any initiative from the university to try and help and give students credit or help them along the way. We can’t take on the entire responsibility ourselves. ”

It is clear that proper training is not just suggested but necessary. In 2006 Congress passed legislation that allowed the Federal Communications Commission to raise the fine for on-air indecency from $32,500 to $325,000. That price would make a national station, never mind the regional WUMB, think twice about placing someone with no experience or training behind a live mike.

Fortunately, one of WUMB’s part-time staff employees has taught intro to radio classes at Boston University, among other schools. Albert Oram, better known by his on-air moniker Albert O, turned out to be the missing mentor for the UMB radio station.

Finding the right person to teach what it takes to be on radio, coupled with the constant support for a student WUMB program from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Patrick Day as well as students, has allowed the Talent Quest to take shape. In fact, it was Vice Chancellor Day’s idea to do an open competition looking for the students who would fill the newly available positions.

So now with the talent found and being trained it comes time to decide not only who will host the show but what kind of music the show will play. WUMB has devised a way for the show to be an authentic UMB student representation.

Students will vote online for which would-be DJs become the hosts. The candidates are in the process of recording demos that you’ll be able to listen to online, and based on that you can vote for your favorite. The radio station has also collected a panel of about 30 students who volunteered to give their input on what type of music, out of the vast WUMB catalog, should be played.

These efforts are sure to create a program that will be a representation of the varied student body at UMB. You can vote for the DJs at www.WUMB.org/TalentQuest. The show that one of our own peers will host is scheduled to air Monday through Thursday, 10 p.m. to midnight.