WSUM, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s licensed student radio station, is an award-winning station with over 200 members. Getting to this point, however, was far from easy. Between the years of 1952 and 1993, five different stations attempted to achieve success on campus, including WMHA, WLHA, WSSO, WSRM, and WLHA (again). Each station failed for reasons spanning from money to trouble with the FCC over, let’s say, “creative student wiring.”
In 1993, UW student radio gained the support of two men whose influence would become essential to the success of first WLHA and eventually WSUM: Dr. James Hoyt, who had been a part of previous efforts to create student radio on campus, and Dave Black, who would become WSUM’s general manager.
By 1997, things were looking up for WSUM, but the station was not completely in the clear. Before WSUM could sign on the air, it was forced to undergo a series of legal battles over its “eyesore” of a radio tower with the town of Montrose, Wis. With the continued efforts of Dr. Hoyt and Dave Black, along with the support of UW-Madison’s Chancellor John Wiley, WSUM was eventually granted the right to continue construction on its tower.
WSUM officially began broadcasting on February 22, 2002 at 2:22 pm from Vilas Hall and has been going strong ever since. The station can now be found at 333 East Campus Mall, Suite 4100 in the new Student Activities Center.
WSUM is a proud and active member of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and College Broadcasters, Inc., and has won myriad statewide and national awards for its dynamic music and talk programming, live sports broadcasts, news coverage, and even this website!