|Broadcast area||Merrimack Valley|
|Slogan||Where Underground Music Lives|
|First air date||November 26, 1967|
|HAAT||63 meters (207 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||University of Massachusetts Lowell|
|Former callsigns||WLTI (1967–1975)|
|Owner||University of Massachusetts Lowell|
WUML (91.5 MHz) is a non-commercial FM college radio station licensed to Lowell, Massachusetts, United States. The station is owned by the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The transmitter is atop Fox Hall on Pawtucket Street in Lowell.
WUML aims to showcase underground artists of all genres and to provide a voice for the Lowell community. The broadcast week includes programming produced by UMass Lowell students and by community hosts who represent the ethnically and linguistically diverse community of Lowell.
Student programming is broadcast during the week and includes genres such as rock, folk, jazz, Latin, RPM, and metal. The station also broadcasts a morning show from 7–9:00 am called the Morning Driveby, as well as Thinking Out Loud, a daytime show focusing on current local and world issues, and Riverhawks Underground, which focuses on athletics at UMass Lowell and the Massachusetts area.
Community programming is broadcast on the weekends. Among the languages that can be heard are Hindi, Khmer (the language of Cambodia), Spanish, Portuguese, Laotian, Armenian and French.
The members of WUML are producing new shows every semester, but some of the longer-running shows include Gunjan Radio (on-air for since 1983), the Stress Factor, Live from the Fallout Shelter, and Blues Deluxe (on-air for about 26 years).
A complete schedule, as well as contact information for the station and all of its directors, can be viewed online at wuml.org.
WUML programming is also available online via streaming audio through links provided on its webpage (wuml.org). The streaming audio is conveniently available at various bit rates (for slow and high speed connections) in MP3 and Ogg formats.
WUML was started in 1952 by Ed Bonacci, a student attending what was then called the Lowell Textile Institute. After accidentally building a transmitter in his dorm room, a studio was built in Kitson Hall, with a 5-10 watt transmitter located in the basement of the old library. At exactly 7:00 pm on January 15, 1953, WLTI began broadcasting on carrier current over the electrical power wires specifically to Eames and Smith Hall, as well as the Alumni Library on the University's North Campus.
During the summer of 1953, permanent station consoles were built and readied for the move of the studio from Kitson Hall to the basement of Eames Hall which at that time was being used as a trunk room.
On November 26, 1967, WLTI became a licensed and regulated FCC educational FM station broadcasting over air on its current frequency at 91.5 FM, using a transmitter (10 watts) and an antenna, which was capable of reaching Cumnock, Southwick, Leitch, and Bourgeois Hall.
In 1969, construction began on new facilities in the basement of Lydon Library, which were opened in 1971. During this time, some of the most famous names in of the era spoke and did live shows from the WLTI studios. Frank Zappa, Cheech and Chong, Jorge Santana and Malo, Jethro Tull and many others performed live from the studios. Also around this time was a change in the call letters to WJUL, reflecting the newly merged University of Lowell (1975).
On October 15, 2003, the radio station began broadcasting as WUML, representing the new name for the university (University of Massachusetts Lowell).
In the mid-2000s, a morning show, Lowell Sunrise, was added to the schedule. It was produced by paid professional staff and managed by the university itself, rather than the undergraduate student organization. The show itself was meant to have a format somewhere between that of National Public Radio and AM commercial morning drive-time talk shows. However, following the failure of talent brought in from The Sun, which worked on the show to try and generate interest from local listeners, the university administration took over programming of Lowell Sunrise. Soon afterwards, the broadcast window was cut even further due to personnel/budgeting constraints and UMass Lowell cancelled the show altogether, returning all broadcast hours, budget dollars and station management back to the students.
A secondary plan to boost community interest was launched by the university in late May 2005. Professional radio host Christopher Lydon was hired to create a new show called Open Source, to air on WUML and be syndicated to some 700 radio stations through Public Radio International. Once again, there was no student input on the addition of Lydon or the new programming. Failure of the show to capture an audience with the proper size and demographics necessary for it to be considered successful resulted in control once again being handed back to the students.
In recent years, WUML has become involved in UMass Lowell athletics; the station features live broadcasts of the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s ice hockey games, including Hockey East championship games at TD Garden in Boston, as well as a show dedicated to campus and state athletics, Riverhawks Underground.
The station also hosts Rock for Tots, a live music event designed to raise money for local families and children in need. Past headliners include The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Pile, A Wilhelm Scream, Titus Andronicus, Apollo Sunshine and Ted Leo.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WUML
- Radio-Locator information on WUML
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WUML