Arts Desk

WMUC No Longer Totally Screwed

The financial future—well, the future in general—of the University of Maryland-College Park's student radio station, WMUC, is a little less bleak than it was last Thursday.

The university's student newspaper, The Diamondback, reported on Friday that following outcry on campus, the executive board of the school's Student Government Association met Friday to discuss how to find more funding for the station.

At that meeting, the SGA drew from funds allocated to upgrade computers and printers in the university's student union; $10,141 of $20,000 appropriation was rerouted to student groups. This restored the $5,810 that WMUC had asked for in an appeals hearing last Wednesday.

"What the exec board had voted on was to take $10,141 from this contact and put that toward the groups that needed funding and did not receive it at Wednesday's meeting," SGA Director of Communications Staci Armezzani told Arts Desk. "All voted in favor. They decided funding student groups was more important than replacing computers."

But it's still a close call. WMUC music director Chris Palardy says, "It's enough for us to keep our phone and Internet and continue broadcasting [online]. We're still underfunded by about 50 percent, but can still keep the lights on for the time being."

The station is moving at full speed with its fundraising campaign, which has included a social media-fueled donation drive of somewhat epic proportions. Palardy says "the response from the community has pretty great," noting that over the weekend, station alumni had donated around $5,000, and a show hosted by one of its DJs brought in around $600. A fundraiser is also planned for Thursday evening at Mamma Lucia's.

Nonetheless, it's not clear what will happen this time next year. According to Armezzani, the funding issues arose this year because "we had more groups to allocate the same amount of money to. It's not that we were given any less money than in the past, but more groups were asking for money." Neither SGA nor WMUC officials want to see the station in jeopardy again, but Armezzani says it's impossible to predict what next year will look like.

On whether this year's process would set a precedent, Armezzani says: "Absolutely not." She also mentioned that a $6 increase in student activity fees could be on the books, which would bring the total student activity fee to $69.50 and mitigate some of the financial pressure—but the increase wouldn't kick in until 2013.

When asked about 2012, Palardy says, "That's a good question. I just read an article with the [SGA's vice president] of finance from the executive board promising to change things, that it'll never happen again, but...I'm talking to some people at the station, alumni who've been here forever, and back in the '70s they had problems with the SGA, too. If we know what to expect, we can do more fundraising outside of what we plan on normally."

Photo by rafaelm via Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons BY-SA-3.0

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  • someone who was at the 4:30 am decision

    The reason why WMUC was not funded fully was because the SGA voted to give $44,000 to a national interest group, MaryPIRG, in order to pay for two non-student salaries.

    This decision came at 4:30 am in the dead of night after the SGA already voted to give the money to the student groups, including WMUC. They neglected to call any of the members before the second vote early in the morning.

    MaryPIRG said they would not "survive" without such funds, but they were not funded by the SGA last year. They just turned around and just asked for money from the state.

    Why should student tuition money be used for NON-student SALARIES? It's outrageous. Someone needs to do an investigation....

  • WMUC Donation Link
  • Picture

    Yo, where did that sweet WMUC picture come from?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafaelm Rafael Moreira

    @Picture: Someone put that sign on WMUC's studio wall circa 2006. I was a dj at the time and took the picture.

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