Hidden beneath the bustle of the Bear’s Den within the Memorial Union lies the University of Maine’s student-run radio station, WMEB 91.9. Their slogan “We’re underground…literally,” describes not only their location in the Union, but also the unique music taste displayed on the station as well.
The station, which had to shut down during the pandemic, is gradually bringing back a presence on campus and now has over 20 different DJs who have their own time slot each week.
Since the pandemic the station has been forced to rely on their robot DJ who is programmed to play certain music. Because of this, there have been very few live voices on air. That has now changed with the station being run by a handful of students who are dedicated to the success of WMEB.
As a DJ for the station my responsibilities include showing up for my time slot once a week, playing the music I picked out for my show and following the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on air. Each week, a music director from the station will send all DJs a hand-picked collection of new music they have found and we are required to play two songs each hour from these selections.
All the music they send out is not only new but also from small artists I have never heard of. It’s an amazing way to find new music and every week I find at least one song that I love. I also always find incredible music from listening to all of the other station DJs’ shows.
Although it’s not a requirement, the station encourages DJs to play music from smaller, lesser- known artists. This is an amazing way to support and boost smaller music artists and it creates a really unique aspect to the station because you are almost always guaranteed to find a song you’ve never heard before. The DJs on the station are passionate about the music they play and do it both for themselves and to share their music with others.
“[R]adio remains the most widely consumed medium globally. Radio’s unique ability to reach out to the widest audience means it can shape a society’s experience of diversity, and stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented, and be heard,” UMaine’s Communication and Journalism Department says.
WMEB has been able to gather DJs from all over campus, from all majors, with many different tastes in music and allow them a slot on air. The station demonstrates the ability of music to unite different people who all share the same love for music.
Many people view radio as a thing of the past, but WMEB is breaking this barrier by giving students the outlet to share new and different music with listeners. The station is slowly growing more well-deserved publicity. It’s important that as many UMaine students and Orono residents as possible know about the amazing things going on right below them.
You can listen to the show on station 91.1 in the Orono area or with this link from anywhere.