Music is the main topic of discussion on 91.5 FM WUML, but off-air the student DJs use it to support others through fundraisers and community programming.
For 10 years, the station has helped local charities and musicians through the Rock for Tots fundraiser. The students transform Cumnock Hall into a concert venue, which can hold about 500 people.
“Rock for Tots lets us promote musicians that aren’t getting mainstream attention while helping our community,” says Staci Ballard, public service announcement director for the station and psychology major.
This year’s concert on Dec. 5 will benefit the Wish Project, a local organization that provides furniture, clothing and household goods for families in need. Ticket sales also support the bands by strengthening the local music community and bringing new bands to campus. Learn more about Rock for Tots and get tickets from WUML.
Community Involvement Reaches Beyond Campus
In addition to running shows, covering campus events and broadcasting hockey games, the student disc jockeys connect with listeners far and wide.
Several shows are run by community members and produced in languages other than English. Thinking Out Loud has English and multilingual editions, reaching several ethnic communities each week. Voice of Cambodian Children provides entertainment and news for the large Cambodian community in Lowell and abroad.
“We know that people in Cambodia tune in using our live webcast, so that’s a good feeling,” says Ballard.
WUML also represents the University at events, where students learn more about live broadcasting. The annual Lowell Folk Festival broadcast has grown in popularity, as the only station airing the festival live.
“It’s always a good time because we get to see a wide array of bands, share it with our listeners and earn new supporters each year,” says Ballard.
The station, which has roughly 60 active DJs and 40 new interns joining each semester, gives students experience in public speaking, broadcasting, event management and other areas. DJs also gain valuable connections through the wide network of alumni working in radio and other fields.
“I’ve gained a lot by being a part of the station,” says Ballard. “I’ve learned about music, especially underground bands that I normally wouldn’t find, but also about working with people and making connections. I’ve met friends that are more like family at the station.”