The Federal Communications Commission on May 1 has approved the transfer of UMass Dartmouth’s 9,800-watt WUMD (89.3 FM) radio license to Rhode Island Public Radio. The approval sets the stage for a collaboration that will generate new need-based financial aid and learning opportunities for UMass Dartmouth students while nearly doubling the broadcast footprint of Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR).
With the FCC approval, WUMD will move to a fully online format by the end of June. RIPR will expand its broadcast range across much of southeastern Massachusetts, using the 89.3 FM frequency. RIPR will also continue to broadcast on its present frequencies: 88.1, 91.5, and 102.7.
UMass Dartmouth will immediately receive $1.5 million in cash from RIPR to endow need-based financial aid and community engagement programs, as well as $617,100 in underwriting time on the RIPR network and additional on-air promotion over the next 10 years. UMass Dartmouth and RIPR will also collaborate on a series of academic and community engagement activities, including internships and public forums.
The collaboration also provides for SouthCoast representation on the RIPR Board of Directors and RIPR’s Community Advisory Board.
About the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
UMass Dartmouth is a Tier 1 national research university located on 710 acres of 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.
WUMD (previously known as WUSM and WSMU) began as a 10-watt station in 1972 and grew to a 9,600-watt station serving as an outlet for ideas and artistic expression in southeastern Massachusetts and online. The station provides exposure to musical genres and artists that are underrepresented on commercial media, with an emphasis on new music. WUMD also focuses on local music, featuring local bands/artists and local concert information. Public affairs programming on WUMD addresses current issues relevant to the university and surrounding communities, with an emphasis on voices and viewpoints that are underrepresented on mainstream or commercial media. WUMD provides a learning environment in which students and community residents can gain knowledge and experience in various aspects of radio broadcasting. Individuals interested in volunteering at WUMD are invited to join training classes offered several times per year. Work study positions are also available.
About Rhode Island Public Radio
Rhode Island Public Radio is devoted to covering Southeastern New England news by bringing the area the best in public radio programming from NPR and other sources. Our local newsroom has reporters specializing in 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. We are 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 our website and on our iPhone app.