UMass Amherst is making big changes to its community radio station. WMUA will refocus on student participation.
Community DJs who are not students will see their total on-air time cut to 24 hours a week, down from 35 hours in the latest schedule. Also, only students would be allowed to vote on station matters.
This is all very disappointing to Amherst resident Molly Turner. She’s a host of the WMUA talk show Focus and says community members are the station’s most reliable volunteers.
“They show up 24-7, 365 days a year,” Turner said. “And, of course…it’s not very easy for students to do that.”
The changes follow months of turmoil, as student leaders clashed with non-students over programming changes, the removal of a faculty advisor and misconduct allegations against a music host.
In a statement, Enku Gelaye, the UMass vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life, acknowledged it had been an “incredibly important and difficult period at WMUA.”
“We believe these steps will help us stay true to our core mission of education while providing opportunities for continued participation by the community,” she said.
Reaction on Twitter
Happy to see @WMUA reclaiming student media today. Couldn't be more proud of the student leaders who put together a solid plan to refocus.
— Em O'Neil (@EMpowerUMass) December 15, 2015
December 15, 2015 Today the WMUA Community Members Task Force met in the Whitmore building of UMass with… https://t.co/2qhbbYEsq6
— Louise Dunphy (@DJLouiseDunphy) December 15, 2015
— Ryan Benharris (@RyanBenharris) December 15, 2015
Correction: An earlier version of this story noted “misconduct allegations against a jazz host.” That host actually described his show’s music — which is no longer on WMUA — as “contemporary classical and experimental.”