The University of Michigan applied to the FCC on September 11, 1944 for a station at 43.1 FM (part of a band of frequencies used for testing of Frequency Modulation) with a power of 50,000 watts. At the time an assignment on the new FM band was seen as a significant disadvantage.
The FCC granted a license for WUOM (for University Of Michigan) at 91.7 in the brand new FM band; the station went on the air in 1948. WUOM's signal covers most of Southeastern Michigan, including Metro Detroit (where the station has somewhat high ratings for an out-of-market NPR station, and listeners in the western half of the Detroit area can get a stable lock on their HD signal), and parts of extreme Southwestern Ontario. The station provides 24-hour NPR news service to the state capital, since WKAR-AM must sign off at sundown and WKAR-FM airs the Classical 24 network from 7 pm to 5 am weeknights with minimal, if any, interruptions for news.