WVUM aims to drop beats farther away with better equipment

Kevin Mason and Amber Robertson host a special episode of Electric Kingdom Live, with DJ sets by Seapunk, Zombelle and Ultrademon on March 15th, 2012. rachel steinhauser // contributing photographer
Kevin Mason and Amber Robertson host a special episode of Electric Kingdom Live, with DJ sets by Seapunk, Zombelle and Ultrademon on March 15th, 2012. Rachel Steinhauser // Contributing Photographer

After three years of trying to extend its range coverage, WVUM will finally be able to upgrade its antenna to do so.

The previous transmitter could broadcast in a 15-mile radius, which included Coral Gables and Miami. With a newly installed tower and the transmitter upgrade,  the station will be able to broadcast as far north as Fort Lauderdale and as far south as Florida City, according to senior Alex Zinn, WVUM’s chief engineer.

With the upgrade, the station will be able to reach 1.5 million more people, which will bring in more advertisers, according to senior Micheal Matthieson, WVUM underwriting director.

“A bigger audience is more appealing to various companies,” Matthieson said. “Hopefully we will be able to attract and secure more sponsors. Getting big corporations allows us to do so much more.”

The station will also be able to make contacts in the new areas and gain access to new artists, venues and concerts.

The last transmitter upgrade was in 1998, when the station could only broadcast in Coral Gables.

“Right now, compared to other stations, we’re the little kids on the block,” Zinn said. “All of a sudden, we’re going to be competing with commercial stations.”

The station had some difficulty getting approval from the school and finding the money to pay for the equipment.

Because the current transmitter is situated on top of the Hecht Residential College, this upgrade will change the structure of the building.

Aside from installing the tower, antenna and transmitter, upgrades to power supply systems and connections will also be needed.

The station received the antenna and tower from a donor who was part of the radio station in the ‘60s and now sponsors it.

To raise money for the transmitter, the station has held several fundraisers, including Radiothon, which is an annual weeklong fundraiser where they ask viewers to pledge money to support the station. This year, Radiothon began on April 22.

The fundraiser distributed giveaway items for the listener who pledged the most money in an hour. For $5, any listener was allowed to enter the studio to record a sweeper, which is the term for a transition that is played between songs.

Radiothon also hosted a Dubstep Pool Party at the UC pool.

With fundraising events like Radiothon, the small station raised sufficient funds to expand and reach a larger audience.

“The further we expand, the greater our knowledge of the underground stuff will expand,” said sophomore Ashley Gonzalez, promotions director-elect. “Yes, it’s more pressure, but it’s also great that more people get to hear my voice and music that deserves to be heard over top 40. These are bands that are just as good.”

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Ashley Martinez is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, which have sharpened her people-watching skills. She has worked as a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor and is now the Edge arts and entertainment editor at The Miami Hurricane. She serves as the president of UM's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has been featured in The Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Communique, Gables Home Page and The Miami Herald. When she's not working on a story, she loves going to the theatre and singing show tunes.