50 Years of WVUM

50 Years of WVUM

By Katy Hennig

50 Years of WVUM

By Katy Hennig
WVUM celebrates transmitting tunes from the U for a half century.

The 50-year-old voice echoes around campus and the greater-Miami area; students can hear it at the pool, between classes or during their evening commute home from The U.

WVUM 90.5 FM is the award-winning, student-run radio station of the University of Miami. WVUM (call letters representing the “Voice of the University of Miami”) is on the air twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and boasts a dedicated listenership. The station broadcasts everything from alternative music, to news & public affairs programing to live Miami Hurricanes sports coverage. The all-student staff works every day to bring the best programming possible to Miami’s airwaves.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Voice, which made its on-air debut in February of 1968. WVUM was the brainchild of a group of students who wanted to create a university radio station to make students aware of university activities while unifying the student body through popular music and programming.

Peter Berlin, A.B. '68, is one of the dedicated co-founders of WVUM. Berlin worked with the station his entire college career and fondly remembers his years behind the microphone. Berlin recalls being the first person to ever speak on WVUM’s newly transmitted airwaves.

“My favorite memory is saying 'this is WVUM, 90.5 FM, Coral Gables, testing on channel 213,” said Berlin. "I was the first voice of the new Voice of the University of Miami."

The station that Berlin and his team founded in 1968, still continues to serve the University of Miami and its surrounding communities today.

Emmi Velez, a Junior studying journalism and political science, is the General Manager of WVUM. She leads its entirely student-run staff, comprised of over 100 students and 15 executive board members.

“WVUM is definitely one of the most unique organizations here on campus,” said Velez. “Every student at this station works so hard to make their individual shows and WVUM as a whole the best it can be. We’re all so excited to be a part of its history during its 50th year on campus.”

WVUM recently received the perfect 50th birthday present: $150,000 to renovate its studios. In January, the station was approved for a complete overhaul of its two studios on the first floor of the Whitten University Center.

“We’re currently undergoing a total studio renovation that will be able to help us double all the work were doing now and make WVUM as professional as possible,” said Velez. “Our staff has been waiting for this new studio for years and we’re so excited it’s finally happening.”

Dr. Paul Driscoll is the Vice Dean of the School of Communication and has been the faculty advisor for WVUM for 27 years.

“WVUM is the most powerful media outlet that the university has to reach the local community. It’s an incredibly valuable learning experience for students to gain on-air experience or try their hand with student leadership.”

Driscoll credits his long-time involvement with the station to the students he works with.

“I love working with the students, they keep me young,” said Driscoll with a laugh. “WVUM allows me to see how music, language, and culture is changing. Working with the station has truly been my heart's delight.”

WVUM’s birthday coincides with its annual Radiothon donation drive. Radiothon aims to raise funds from listeners and alumni to help keep the station running for another school year. This year Radiothon is taking place from February 25th through March 3rd. Listeners can donate at WVUM.org/donate.

“We’re really hoping to continue WVUM’s mission for another 50 years,” said Velez. “This station has so much to continue to offer the Miami community and I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow.”

Crew of WVUM