Letter to the Editor: Reflecting on WMBC

UMBC’s student-run radio station WMBC has waxed and waned over the years. When I joined the organization as a bright-eyed freshman in the Fall of 2014, there were only four shows across 12 members – including the officer corps. Despite not having a number on the dial, WMBC was in the right place at the right time to ride the wave of the newly energized art form of podcasting. WMBC turned things around by connecting with on-campus partners and local musical acts, growing to 58 shows a week in the Fall of 2017 run by over 200 members. This station that made people ask “Who?” a few years prior now made them say “Wow”! It had transformed into a hub of campus culture and into the beating heart of student life. Sadly, the station today has been off-air for almost a year now, and a lot of momentum has since been lost.

WMBC has always thrived most when the members understood it, and when they felt invested in it. Back in the 70s, members were paid to be in the station, similar to how the student paper pays its editors and staff.  In the 90s, members weren’t paid, but they were still invested in the dream. In the 2014-2017 upturn, a lot of the energy came from the shared dream of myself and Evie Hoff (Assistant Station Manager), and from many sleepless nights and passionate conversations on how to make this thing work. I personally built a station program with state-of-the-art capabilities for podcasting and broadcasting, and so I understood it. Together, along with the combined efforts of hundreds of UMBC students, faculty and staff, we forged something great – a new WMBC which put on concerts, shared campus events, and provided opportunities for students to truly find their voices as members of the UMBC community.

I urge you, the reader, to imagine a more vibrant UMBC where you have a voice not limited to what the administration decides to give you, but one that is claimed as your right to free expression as a student. Crank the amp and bring out the sound of WMBC – the uncensored student-run, freeform radio voice of UMBC. If you want to bring this station to life, email Jason Loviglio, the organization advisor at loviglio@umbc.edu. The hardware and software are there for you to make your dreams into reality, and all you have to do is to dust it off, throw the switches, and make yourself heard!

Nova DasSarma was Station Manager of WMBC from 2014-2017 and Software Manager from 2017-2018. She can be reached by email at nova@noblejury.com.