WMUC is the campus radio station at the University of Maryland. It is a student-run, freeform, FM station licensed to the University of Maryland.
Beginning in 1948, WMUC went on the air as a carrier-current AM station that broadcast within the boundaries of Maryland’s campus (and therefore did not need an FCC license to operate). Daily broadcasts included several hours of music and news. In the 1950s, students expanded broadcasting to 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, adding coverage of sports and cultural events of local, national and international importance.
In addition, WMUC DJs began to add an impressive roster of famous musicians to its growing collection of station IDs, including John Lennon, Phyllis Diller, Frankie Valli, Frank Zappa, Chubby Checker, Ahmad Jamal and Fats Domino. In 1965, the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) selected WMUC as the recipient of its All American College Radio Station Award. In 1979, after four years of petitions, two rejected proposals and a fervid FM or Bust student campaign, the FCC granted WMUC its first FM license for broadcast on the 88.1 frequency.
For the next 20 years, WMUC operated as both an AM and an FM station. The latter adopted an all-freeform format in 1982, which offered more experimental and alternative music programming than the AM side, which continued to follow a Top 40 format until it ceased operation in 1999. WMUC continues to serve as the voice of the university, a valuable training ground, and an important creative outlet for students at the University of Maryland.
In the fall of 2013, an exhibit entitled “Saving College Radio: WMUC Past, Present and Future,” opened in the Maryland Room Gallery at Hornbake Library. The exhibit celebrates the long and colorful history of radio at the University of Maryland and highlights the libraries’ efforts to preserve WMUC’s legacy in the University Archives. Click here to view an online version of the exhibit.