If you happen to be passing by South Campus Diner at the right time of day, you may be surprised to hear the sounds of garage punk or sweet sweet acoustic guitar coming from an open second-story window. This and the near round-the-clock stream of programming you’ll hear, should you tune your radio dial to 88.1 FM, are coming from the studios at WMUC, University of Maryland’s college radio station. The station’s roots extend back to 1942 and it’s been occupying its current space since 1974.
Women have long fought to be heard in the predominantly male space of radio. And while WMUC is often a champion for all things fringe and nontraditional, the fight for equal representation has been just as difficult as anywhere else in the field.
An early example of women pushing boundaries in radio was the Miss Midnight show which ran from 1958 to 1968. [begin Miss Midnight clip] While now she seems more cultural relic than groundbreaking radio personality, in her time Miss Midnight provided a cheeky voice for female sexuality, toeing the line of radio censorship law and cultural propriety.
Things continued to change at the radio with the introduction of the female-focused and produced show MsUnderstood in 1973 and the appointing of the first female station manager Anne Edwards during that time.
Today WMUC continues striving to be a place for women to come up in leadership,recently appointed station manager Jane Lyons, reflects on those who’ve come before her [begin clip from Jane]
Democracy is about lifting up all voices, especially those marginalized, overlooked or deemed too weird for top-40. As the proving ground for many students with futures in media and broadcast, WMUC continues striving to be a place for everyone to be heard. Especially local female-fronted punk outfits.
[priests recording outro]
Democracy then and Now. Vote!