WMEB-FM

WMEB-FM is a non-commercial radio station owned and operated by the University of Maine, broadcasting on 91.5 FM from its campus in Orono and a transmitter located in Old Town. The station is run by university students and programs an alternative rock music format.

WMEB-FM
CityOrono, Maine, US
Broadcast areaPenobscot County, Maine, US
Frequency91.9 FM
SloganWe're underground... literally
Programming
FormatCollege radio
Ownership
OwnerUniversity of Maine
History
First air date
October 1, 1962 (1962-10-01)
Call sign meaning
"Maine Educational Broadcasting"[1]
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
ClassB1
ERP10,000 watts
HAAT52 meters
Transmitter coordinates
44°55′08″N 68°39′58″W / 44.919°N 68.666°W / 44.919; -68.666
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
WebcastListen live
Websitewmeb919.com

HistoryEdit

Early yearsEdit

In October 1961, the University of Maine applied for a construction permit to build a new FM station in Orono, which would broadcast with an effective radiated power of 375 watts; this was granted by the Federal Communications Commission on January 10, 1962.[2] Going on the air as WMEB-FM from studios in Stevens Hall,[1] the station began broadcasts on October 1, 1962.[3]

WMEB-FM represented the third generation of broadcasting at UMO. The first station on the campus, WGBX, broadcast from 1926 to 1928 and featured programming mostly presented by faculty.[4] In 1953, after three years of technical and funding setbacks, WORO, a carrier current station, was established,[5] but this proved impractical to maintain as more students and faculty lived off campus.[4] The format, typical of 1960s college radio stations, featured a mix of talk and music shows;[6] in 1964, the music played on WMEB-FM consisted of an hour of easy listening programming and three hours a day of classical music, supplemented by an hour of campus and local news.[7] In 1968, WMEB-FM broadcast a 15-week radio course, "Understanding Music", from the university's continuing education division.[8]

Increasing student involvementEdit

The University of Maine started a second radio station on September 14, 1970: WMEH, the first transmitter in today's Maine Public Radio network.[9] The introduction of a public radio service led to the specialization of WMEB as a student-run station. In 1971, it began overnight broadcasting on the weekends,[10] and all but two of its programs that fall were student-produced.[11] Alongside a steady expansion of the station's broadcasting hours and of the Stevens Hall studios came a weekend block of progressive rock music, which was starting to displace the existing easy listening programming.[12]

In the second half of the 1970s, WMEB-FM was hit by financial woes. The university's department of broadcasting and the student senate both thought the other should be primarily responsible for funding the station.[13] In October 1979, students staged an 86-hour "Beggar's Banquet" radiothon to raise money for station operations.[14] The "Banquet" was not even the only marathon broadcast that WMEB aired that semester: in December, one disc jockey pulled a 100-hour shift that raised more than $5,000 for starving Cambodians.[15] In the late 1970s, the station also had trouble keeping itself on the right side of the law: in the days when radio stations needed licensed operators, a shortage of them caused the station to be in violation of FCC rules for 15 hours a week.[16] A report in The Maine Campus, the student newspaper at UMO, was sent to the FCC, leading to a surprise inspection of the station, a reprimand and a temporary cutback in broadcasting.[17] In the 1980s and 1990s, WMEB organized a college hockey rankings poll, having taken it over from WDOM at Providence College in Rhode Island.[18]

By the 1990s, WMEB was firmly established as an alternative music outlet with specialty programming in other genres. During the alternative music blocks, DJs played music from three different colored bins, featuring new releases and local artists; moderately successful songs; and popular mainstream artists in the alternative genre.[19] In 1995, the station shut down for five days and removed one student DJ who was dismissed for making provocative racist and homophobic remarks.[20]

Transmitter relocations and power increaseEdit

The original 1962 transmitter was replaced in 1997, at a time when there was concern for the station's future because the University of Maine had dropped its broadcasting major.[21] However, despite already having moved the transmitter, university laboratories were receiving interference from the station; signal leakage into Bennett Hall caused frequency measuring equipment in physics labs to be unable to pick up any other signals.[22] The next year, to rectify the interference issue, WMEB moved to a new and taller tower, which came alongside a slight power increase.[23] The studios moved from the East Annex, where they had been moved initially on a temporary basis in 1981, to the Student Union in 2003.[24]

In 2009, the station boosted its power to 10,000 watts from a new transmitter site at the university-owned Witter Farm in Old Town; the increase filled coverage gaps in Bangor and extended coverage.[25] The station suffered a fire at its transmitter site in January 2018,[26] which would keep the station off the air for more than three months until it returned at reduced power in April.[27]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "News from Our Maine Colleges". Bangor Daily News. February 22, 1962. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  2. ^ FCC History Cards for WMEB-FM
  3. ^ "Campus Radio Again; WMEB Back Oct. 1st". The Maine Campus. September 27, 1962. p. 1. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Carr, Linda (1965). "At 91.9: Easy Listening". University of Maine 1865-1965: Special Centennial Edition, The Maine Campus. pp. 56, 57. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  5. ^ MacLauchlin, Robert (October 18, 1962). "Radio Station Expands - Installs FM Transmitter". The Maine Campus. p. 7. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  6. ^ "U-M To Start Radio Season". Bangor Daily News. September 25, 1965. p. 26. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  7. ^ "WMEB Adopts New Program Schedule". The Maine Campus. September 17, 1964. p. 1. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "Airwaves Will Carry Classes This Autumn". Bangor Daily News. August 12, 1968. p. 15. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  9. ^ "WMEH-FM Radio Now On The Air". Bangor Daily News. September 14, 1970. p. W2. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "WMEB-FM To Broadcast All Night". Bangor Daily News. February 12, 1971. p. 28. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  11. ^ "WMEB is ready to go on the air tonight at 5:30". The Maine Campus. October 1, 1971. p. 5. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  12. ^ "WMEB expands progressively". The Maine Campus. September 22, 1972. p. 9. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  13. ^ Palmer, Chris (October 29, 1977). "Student sports announcers fouled by money problems". Bangor Daily News. p. ME 15. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  14. ^ "WMEB-FM plans lengthy fund-raiser". Bangor Daily News. October 27, 1979. p. ME 4. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  15. ^ Cheever, Dave (December 17, 1979). "UMO disc jockey raises $5,000 for Cambodians". Bangor Daily News. pp. 1, 4. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  16. ^ Bailey, Douglas (February 7, 1978). "WMEB: Lack of licensed disc jockeys forces station to broadcast illegally about 15 hours a week". The Maine Campus. p. 3. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  17. ^ Strumello, Deborah (March 5, 1978). "FCC plans to reprimand WMEB". p. 1. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  18. ^ Morris, Chuck (November 12, 1985). "WMEB lands college hockey poll". The Daily Maine Campus. p. 8. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  19. ^ Thompson, Brian S. (December 1, 1993). "WMEB offers musical alternative for local listeners". The Maine Campus. p. 5. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  20. ^ McIntosh, Jason (April 12, 1995). "Deviant deejay fired". The Maine Campus. pp. 1, 5. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  21. ^ Spekhardt, Pat (March 22, 1997). "Campus radio station reaches new audience". Bangor Daily News. p. D3. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  22. ^ Fontes, Henrique (October 5, 1998). "WMEB to go back on air". The Maine Campus. pp. 1, 3. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  23. ^ Williams, Kate. "WMEB prepares for new tower". The Maine Campus. pp. 1, 5. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  24. ^ "Genre DJ of the Month: Michael A. Murphy, WMEB Bangor, Maine". NACC Chart. 2019-05-01. Archived from the original on 2021-05-19. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
  25. ^ Cocklin, Jamison (November 12, 2009). "WMEB upgrade held up by UM". The Maine Campus. pp. 1, 3. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  26. ^ Burnham, Emily (February 7, 2018). "UMaine's college radio station has been off-air for over a month". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  27. ^ "Resumption of Operations". Federal Communications Commission. April 26, 2018. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.

External linksEdit