Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

By Stuart Foster

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Pictured, from left to right: UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski; Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life; and Associate Chancellor Susan Pearson. (Patrick Hoff/Daily Collegian)

Pictured, from left to right: Ed Blaguszewski, UMass spokesperson; Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life; and Susan Pearson, associate chancellor.
(Patrick Hoff/Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts announced Tuesday that WMUA radio will undergo a significant restructuring in an effort to make the station more student-oriented.

The restructuring, which follows a formal external program review of the station’s practices, will redefine station membership, place a limit on programming done by non-student members, appoint a full-time adviser to the station and introduce new operating procedures for the organization.

“The primary mission of the station is to provide educational opportunities for the students,” said Susan Pearson, an associate chancellor at UMass, in a news release. “In order to implement that mission we are taking a number of steps that are consistent with the recommendations made by the external review panel.”

WMUA membership will now be defined to only include people with shows – both students and community members – as well as any students interested in joining the station, per the release. Non-student programming will now be limited to 24 hours a week.

Only station members will be allowed to attend bi-weekly station meetings, and only student members will have voting power. Pearson said the school anticipates those changes, which must be approved by the Student Government Association, will be approved.

General Manager Andrew DesRochers added that the biweekly meetings of WMUA serve primarily as business meetings and that the attendance of non-students without scheduling is not particularly necessary.

The restructuring steps are in line with preliminary findings made by a five-member external review team led by Gregory Adamo, associate professor in the School of Global Journalism at Morgan State University. Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life, appointed the panel as part of WMUA’s formal program review.

UMass administrators and WMUA management spoke at a press briefing Tuesday morning in the Whitmore Administration building, and stressed the importance of restoring a student-first focus.

Haley Chauvin, programming director of WMUA, said the limiting of community members to 24 hours a week of programming will allow more opportunities for students who are interested in the station. Chauvin said WMUA has implemented new forms of outreach, such as a series of concerts hosted by the station that have drawn strong audiences, that has spurred a higher level of student interest in WMUA.

Chauvin also said they didn’t anticipate the reduction in non-student programming will adversely affect the overall programming schedule, noting that they routinely have to turn many students down from programming shifts due to a lack of available hours.

“There will never be a shortage of DJs,” Chauvin said.

Pearson said the review panel found that most college radio stations limit the weekly broadcasting from community members to 24 hours a week. Chauvin said they didn’t know how many weekly hours were occupied by non-student programming in the fall semester, but said non-students will have approximately 32-35 hours of weekly air time during the winter session.

While Pearson said community members had been valued for their input in the past, the mission of the station needs to be reaffirmed as one of student education. Pearson said she hopes community members will continue to contribute to WMUA in the future.

Tensions between community members and students at the station flared earlier this year after Max Shea, a WMUA community member and host of an avant-garde show on the station, had his station membership revoked in April. Shea, who was never criminally charged, was found to have violated the station’s anti-discrimination and harassment policies and was issued a no-trespassing order on campus by the UMass Police Department.

Blaguszewski said Shea can apply for a show when his trespass expires as any other community member would be able to.

“We’re not going to talk about the particulars of that other than to say that’s really not relevant to the current discussion because it’s been determined by the UMass Police that he needed to be trespassed,” said Blaguszewski.

However, Blaguszewski noted that the situation with Shea accelerated the review process.

At the press conference, Chauvin said Shea’s removal was unrelated to his programming and only done as a result of his violation of the WMUA station policies. A UMass Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity investigation into workplace issues at WMUA followed Shea’s removal and has recently been completed, according to Blaguszewski.

With the restructuring, WMUA will also begin a search a full-time station adviser in January. Glenn Siegel, WMUA’s former part-time adviser of 20 years, was reassigned to other responsibilities at UMass at the same time Shea was removed as a host. Blaguszewski refrained from specifying Siegel’s current responsibilities.

WMUA general manager Andrew DesRochers said he hopes the future adviser will be responsible for providing advice to broadcasters, developing the training process, helping students manage the station and seeking input from non-students to pass on to students.

“We have had a 75 percent adviser in the past,” Chauvin said. “Most college stations have a full-time adviser.”

DesRochers also said WMUA is in the process of writing new operating procedures that will replace the previous station manual, which was eliminated. He hopes that will be completed by the spring semester. All of these changes are expected to take effect beginning next semester.

“This is definitely the biggest change the station has seen in many, many years,” DesRochers said.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster

2 Comments

2 Responses to “UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented”

  1. Glen Douglas on December 16th, 2015 6:50 am

    Great news, a student radio station run by students. Now the old community members can go to public radio also in Amherst and do their shows which will still reach their old community members and friends.

  2. Visionary on December 16th, 2015 11:26 pm

    And when student interest inevitably wanes in this medium that’s of minimal interest to modern students, WFCR/NEPR will take over the signal and NO students will have access. I give it two years.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    Three-person panel discusses mental health challenges faced by student-athletes

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    ‘Welcome to the Jungle’: 51st Southwest Week starts Monday

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    UMass student testifies at State House in support of two sexual assault-related bills

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    Gov. Baker announced as 2019 featured commencement speaker

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    Earth Day: UMass students surveyed on their attitudes and approaches to climate change and sustainability

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    Earth Day: UMass prepares for extreme weather events

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    Earth Day: Local work ‘protects our species’

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    SGA discusses funding rules, makes changes to bylaws

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    PETA sues UMass over animal research records

  • UMass announces WMUA restructuring to make station more student-oriented

    Archives

    Isenberg Business Innovation Hub officially opens

Navigate Right