WUWM airs programming from NPR, Public Radio International, American Public Media, and also airs BBC World Service in the overnight hours, with much of the weekend entertainment programming scheduled purposefully to avoid duplication with Wisconsin Public Radio's WHAD (90.7). WUWM also airs considerable amounts of local programming and also fills airtime with adult album alternative music. Until the equipment broke down in December 2013, the station's HD Radio HD2 subchannel consisted of an automated AAA station known as The Deuce. WUWM decided not to replace their HD Radio transmitter due to lack of consumer demand for the format, and is now offered in analog only over-the-air.
WUWM signed on the air in September 1964. Originally a student laboratory, it took on a more professional look with the formation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It was a charter member of NPR in 1971. However, its signal was spotty at best outside of Milwaukee's East Side. That changed in 1978, when WITI donated space on its tower, giving it a fairly decent signal throughout the Milwaukee area. Originally limited to 1,500 watts due to a glut of stations on the lower end of the FM dial in the Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison axis, a change in FCC regulations allowed it to eventually increase its power to 15,500 watts, giving it a signal comparable to the other major stations in Milwaukee.