DARTMOUTH, MA -- UMass Dartmouth today completed the transfer of its 9,800-watt FCC license to operate WUMD (89.3 FM) to Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR). This establishes a multi-faceted collaboration that will bring $1.5 million of need-based financial aid to students, expand local public service journalism to southeastern Massachusetts, and develop WUMD as an online college station.
WUMD is scheduled to sign off at noon today after 42 years of broadcasting, and has now moved its programming online to WWW.WUMD.ROCKS. Most of the programming being featured on WUMD now will continue online, and the station has plans for new programming once students return in the fall. RIPR will begin broadcasting on 89.3 FM in the coming days while continuing to broadcast on 88.1, 91.5, and 102.7.
“This is day one of a friendship that will enrich the lives of UMass Dartmouth students and the region for generations to come,” said interim Chancellor Peyton R. Helm. “I also want to pay tribute to the past and current students, alumni and community members who raised WUMD from a 10-watt station into a 10,000-watt powerhouse of musical passion and innovation. The combination of WUMD.ROCKS and RIPR offers terrific new opportunities for us all to learn, discuss, and innovate.”
“We see 89.3 FM as part of a critical opportunity to solidify and expand our presence in the region so that we can deepen and broaden the journalism being offered in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts,” said Torey Malatia, RIPR President, CEO and General Manager. “RIPR’s vision is to become a center for community conversation and a provider of local stories that inspire citizens to fully engage and make informed decisions about the issues that affect them and their communities.”
Under the terms of the collaboration, UMass Dartmouth has received $1.5 million in cash from RIPR to endow need-based financial aid and community engagement programs. The university will announce details of these programs later. The university will also receive $617,100 in underwriting time on the RIPR network and additional on-air promotion over the next 10 years.
In addition, UMass Dartmouth and RIPR will collaborate on a series of academic and community engagement activities, including internships and public forums. These initiatives will be designed to support RIPR’s local public service journalism mission while creating media-related learning opportunities for UMass Dartmouth students.
RIPR will make 89.3 FM its primary signal by relocating the transmitter to Tiverton, RI, and enhancing 89.3 FM’s power within FCC-allowed limits. This will double RIPR’s geographical footprint, and allow 89.3 FM to reach most of its Rhode Island audience with one signal. Communities along the East Bay and the middle of Rhode Island will be able to hear the signal in a way that has not been possible with the station’s current array. Moreover, most listeners in the greater Providence area will enjoy a more stable signal and much better in-home reception of RIPR’s award-winning content.
RIPR’s signal will reach roughly two-thirds of southeastern Massachusetts, extending north of Taunton and east of New Bedford. This will allow the station to serve a broader audience and report on matters of interest to the region. [See signal map]
The collaboration will supplement existing print and commercial broadcast media. RIPR's award-winning journalists live in the area and are in daily contact with the region. UMass Dartmouth faculty experts and deep roots in the region will serve as resources for RIPR’s editorial staff.
The UMass Dartmouth/RIPR collaboration is an indicator of the economic and cultural affinity that exists between southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Inter-region activity related to the media industry, tourism, offshore wind, marine science, and education is growing. UMass Dartmouth, meanwhile, currently has 301 students, 215 employees, and 2,625 alumni living in Rhode Island.
UMASS Dartmouth plans to utilize proceeds from the transfer to:
-- Endow a need-based student financial aid fund.
-- Endow a micro-grant program to help students in financial distress stay in school and finish on time.
-- Endow grants to support community engagement initiatives that benefit UMass Dartmouth students and strengthen the economic and social fabric of the community.
-- Modernize the WUMD studio facilities so the station can continue providing quality learning opportunities for students and diverse programming for online listeners.
The collaboration also provides for South Coast representation on the RIPR Board of Directors and RIPR’s Community Advisory Board. Preference will be given to individuals residing in the Dartmouth-New Bedford-Fall River areas.
In addition, RIPR will provide two internships for qualified students during the fall and spring semesters, and the UMass Dartmouth Graduate Professional Writing Program plans to provide a graduate assistant to RIPR. UMass Dartmouth and RIPR will also collaborate on the development journalism-related experiential learning classes.
About the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
UMass Dartmouth is a Tier 1 national research university located on 710 acres on the scenic SouthCoast of Massachusetts. With nearly 9,000 students in undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs, and a 400-member faculty that annually produces $27 million in research activity, the university is an innovation catalyst that generates nearly a half billion dollars of economic activity in the region. Home to the Commonwealth’s only public law school and recognized as a national Top 20 university for civic engagement, UMass Dartmouth contributes more than 240,000 hours of community service per year. The university has 45,000 alumni.
About Rhode Island Public Radio
Rhode Island Public Radio was founded to provide trusted local journalism framed by a mission of public service. RIPR is devoted to covering Southeastern New England news by bringing the area the best in public radio ranging from local journalism and discussion to national and international programming produced by National Public Radio, the BBC, and more. Our local newsroom has won numerous awards for coverage of healthcare, education, the environment and local politics. Rhode Island Public Radio’s mission is to provide Southeastern New Englanders with quality journalism and compelling storytelling that informs, educates and inspires community. RIPR is currently available on 88.1 FM in Greater Providence, 102.7 FM in Southern Rhode Island and 91.5 FM in Coventry and central Rhode Island. Our news stories are available on our website, RIPR.org. Listeners can stream our programming on RIPR.org.
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