WUMR: MEMPHIS’ ONLY JAZZ RADIO
With 150 watts of power, WUMR is Memphis’s only jazz station that plays a variety of jazz selections. There are about 40,000 listeners during the station’s most popular fundraiser, the Radio Thon. The station’s satellite reaches from the Memphis area to Hernando County. However, from the U.K. to Europe about 25 countries tune in everyday. WUMR relies on volunteers and students for on-air shifts, and to manage some of the daily tasks.
Melvin Massey, Jr., the station’s general manager, coordinates with the staff members on the new software for disc playing and equipment maintenance. “The new programs that we have are “cool”, said Massey. There are internships and volunteer opportunities available. There are forty Disk Jockeys, five sport commentators, and six paid students. The DJ’s are trained and meet twice a month to practice real world scenarios and feel the “flow of the radio.”
There are different segments that make up the show: Beale Street Caravan that airs from 6-7p.m., Drive Time from 4-6p.m., sports segments, Memphis local bands, and the hot topic or service announcements. Chris Davis, the station’s Program Director hosts the morning show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:30 in the morning. The service messages are called underwriting because they are not advertisements or commercials. This is how the station receives revenues. Beale Street Caravan is the show’s most popular segment.
The Station uses a rotation clock that directs the flow of the show. For example, the red spaces represent Latin Jazz, yellow represents the DJ’s choice, blue represents Memphis Jazz, and the white spaces represent the Top 20. The Radio thon is the station’s biggest fundraiser. Furthermore, there are 130 universities participating with the University of Memphis in the Radio Thon. Approximately 40,000 people tune in to WUMR.
WUMR has been the University Of Memphis broadcasting outlet since 1979. “When I founded the station, we chose the all-jazz format for three reasons, we didn’t want to compete with the programming of commercial radio in Memphis, and none of the stations were playing jazz regularly. We wanted a musical style that appealed to a multiracial audience and finally jazz was a format that fit in nicely with the jazz curriculum in our music department,” said Richard Ranta, founding Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts (CCFA).
The station is operated and ran by the students of the university. There are internships and volunteer opportunities available.