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Impact Logo.jpeg
CityEast Lansing, Michigan
Broadcast areaEast Lansing, Michigan
BrandingImpact 89FM
SloganThe Music That Matters
Frequency88.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air dateFebruary 24, 1989
FormatCollege radio; Variety
Power2,000 watts
HAAT85 meters
Facility ID4241
Transmitter coordinates42°42′20″N 84°28′30″W / 42.70556°N 84.47500°W / 42.70556; -84.47500
Callsign meaningWe Do Better Music
Former callsignsWBDM (11/10/87-2/7/89)
OwnerMichigan State University
WebcastListen Live

WDBM (88.9 FM), East Lansing, Michigan, branded Impact 88.9, is a 2,000 watt, Class A, student-run college radio station at Michigan State University that broadcasts to listeners in the Lansing, Michigan, metropolitan area. The signal can be heard as far south as Jackson, MI, southeast almost to Brighton, MI, and north to Alma, MI far beyond its 60 dBu service contour which represents its clearest signal. [1] The station is the successor to the Michigan State Network, which in the 1970s was the nation's largest college carrier current radio network, and had studios in several MSU dormitories. The network was eventually consolidated to one carrier current station, WLFT ('Tune to the Left'), which broadcast from the former WKAR studios on the third floor of the MSU Auditorium Building. This would also be the first home of WDBM-FM.

WDBM began broadcasting in 1989 with the moniker Impact 89FM, a name it still uses today. But WDBM was originally licensed by the FCC with call letters WBDM on 11/10/1987. As told by the founding general manager, Gary Reid, someone wrote the call letters down as WDBM. Marketing and promotional items were all created with the incorrect WDBM call letters. After the mistake was discovered, the station quickly found that the WDBM calls were available and applied to the FCC to make the change, and the new calls were granted on 2/7/1989.[2] WDBM is one of the few student-run college radio stations to broadcast 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year. In 2004, it was the nation's first college station to broadcast in HD Radio and streams its programming on its website.[3] The station's current general manager is Jeremy Whiting, who is only the third general manager in the station's history, following Gary Reid and Ed Glazer.[4]

Its staff began recording and podcasting Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm's weekly radio address in 2005.

The station is licensed to the MSU Board of Trustees, financed by a student fee, and operates separately from the University's other media outlets, which include WKAR, WKAR-FM, WKAR-TV, and the State News. Impact 89FM broadcasts from the basement of the Holden Hall dormitory on south campus.

In February 1994, Impact 89FM hosted its fifth birthday party in the MSU Union. Bands performing that evening included Wally Pleasant and The Verve Pipe (a year before they were signed to RCA).

On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, the Impact turned 20 and celebrated 20 years of broadcasting by holding a birthday bash at the local East Lansing Buffalo Wild Wings, where alumni came back to do a special hour of on-air programing.

In January 2015, Impact 89FM was named "College Radio Station of the Year" by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, receiving the award for the first time since 2011. WDBM has been honored with this award more than any other college radio station in the state of Michigan.


Weekdays, WDBM broadcasts mainly alternative music. At night, block programming features specialty shows such as alternative country, metal, indie, local music, and hip hop. The Lansing City Pulse magazine credited WDBM's Progressive Torch and Twang program for igniting and sustaining the alternative country scene in mid-Michigan.[5] Progressive Torch and Twang has also been cited in the seminal book Modern Twang.[6] Talk shows air on Sunday mornings, covering current events, student profiles and sports.



  1. ^ https://maps.google.com/?q=http://transition.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/contourplot.kml?gmap=2%26appid=122909%26call=WDBM%26freq=88.9%26contour=60%26city=EAST_LANSING%26state=MI.kml
  2. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=4241&Callsign=WDBM
  3. ^ http://www.impact89fm.org
  4. ^ White, Russ. "MSU's award-winning Impact Radio welcomes home an alumnus to lead WDBM into its exciting future". Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  5. ^ http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/011010/music/torch.html
  6. ^ ISBN 978-1891847035

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