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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Tuning In To Students

With the “Little Dig” underway in the parking garage, talk of on-campus housing, and the looming threat of budget cuts across the board, one can only guess whether the changes taking place at UMass Boston in these coming semesters will be for the better or for the worse. Having said that, it may comfort some students to learn that WUMB-FM, UMass Boston’s public radio station, has unveiled a number of changes and new projects this semester that promise to offer students at least a few things to look forward to.

This semester, the programs being broadcast on the University’s closed-circuit broadcast system will be time-shifted to reflect a more student-oriented schedule. The rotation will feature educational material from organizations like National Public Radio, and music programs like Women in Music, Afropop Worldwide and World Café. The Quinn cafeteria will soon be wired into the closed-circuit system, currently broadcasting the station’s regular programming to the McCormack and Wheatley cafeterias.

WUMB has also opened the doors to their monthly live performances for a limited number of interested students. For the first time, the station is inviting up to fifteen people to attend Member Concerts, previously reserved for the station’s financial donors. For each show, students can call in advance to reserve a seat, free of charge. Many of the concerts are held right on campus in the Media Auditorium, but performances have been held all over the state, from Worcester to Nantucket. Interested students are welcome to reserve seats for the next concert on February 18, which will be English singer/songwriter, Julian Dawson. The performance is at 7:30 PM, on the Lower Level of Healey Library. You can call to reserve a seat at (617) 287-6900.

The radio station has also launched a special “Student’s Only” website, featuring information of interest to students, as well as a number of useful tools and links. Students will be able to view the schedules for both the closed-circuit broadcast system, as well as the FM station. Aside from highlighting special events, the site will feature off-air contests with chances to win free CD’s and concert tickets. Also, by using the information on their IDs, students will have access to select audio archive interviews, as well as audio samples of programs or related music. The website address is www.wumb.org/umbstudent.

WUMB is also reaching out to the University’s faculty in an effort to bring relevant programming into the classroom. With a number of nationally syndicated educational programs currently featured on the station, professors may be surprised to find topics that are directly related to the material that they cover in class. In particular, the station produces Commonwealth Journal, an award-winning show hosted by acclaimed author Barbara Neely. This program features a number of scholars, many from the various UMass campuses, and covers topics that are both educational and entertaining. The station is hoping to develop ways to connect the students directly to the show’s topics, particularly by working with educators.

By now, most students are aware of the “World of Folk” contest being promoted on campus. This, too, is part of the station’s campaign to “tune in to” students. Contest “passports” are being distributed, and entrants have the opportunity to win a free trip to three different locations. Many people on campus have had an opportunity to “Spin and Win” for a dog-bone carabiner, favors sure to please those folks not lucky enough to win one of the contest’s prize trips. Nonetheless, these projects intend to prove to UMass Boston students that some change is good change.