Nathan McIvor Vice President
Later this month, just before Thanksgiving break, WUMF, UMF’s student-run radio station, will host a benefit concert they’re calling, “Show-offs,” to display student talent and raise money for the Colin Bradford Scholarship Fund, a student and WUMF Director of Rock Music who passed away this summer. The concert will feature live performances – including a dance number – and an appearance from the popular campus acapella group ClefNotes; various student-run bands bands and solo artists will also be performing.
The concert is “a way for WUMF to get our toes back in the water for doing events,” said WUMF President Kai Strine. “This is the first time we’ve done something like this and we’re building it basically from scratch, though we’d consider making it an annual event if it goes well,” he said.
Sly Schulze (left) and Kai Strine (right). (Photo courtesy of Kai Strine)
Wanting the event to have a “dressed down, have-fun, atmosphere,” WUMF elected to host the concert in Lincoln Auditorium so that there could be no volume restrictions on the music, according to Strine, who hopes the event will “get people together to have a good time before Thanksgiving.”
The Colin Bradford Scholarship Fund was established in 2019 by Bradford’s family after his passing over the summer. “Colin was a rising junior studying secondary education. He planned to return to his hometown to be a science teacher. He excelled academically and was also involved in several activities outside of the classroom. . . He was a talented musician, and was the winner of the Spring Fling Talent Show in 2019,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Christine M. Wilson in a July email mourning Bradford’s passing.
“He was part of our family, so we decided to give to the fund however we could. We’re very sentimental here. We consider the club close to family,” said Strine, who had served on the WUMF executive with Bradford during his time at UMF. A raffle will be held at the concert in order to benefit the fund.
“I wanted to get into radio before I even came here. I joined [WUMF’s] e-board as soon as I was able to and it just kind of snowballed from there in the best way possible,” said Strine, who was the Director of World Music before becoming the club’s president.
Originally from Holden, ME, he plans to “go into a school and be a language resource for people” after he graduates in the spring with a bachelor’s in K-12 French education. “[Though] if I end up in a radio career over the summer, or something like that, that’s going to be fantastic, too,” Strine said.
The Show-Off’s concert will be held in Lincoln Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 23. Admission to the event will be free. Catch WUMF on air at 91.5.
By Milo Fitzgerald Contributing Writer
Every Monday from 6pm to 8pm, Ale Zarco takes to the small, dark DJ booth across from the Dining Hall armed with an array of nearly unknown music genres and history lessons for cultural context, she challenges listeners to step out of their comfort zone through her radio show What!?
“What!? is supposed to be a place where you hear things that challenge your ears a little bit,” Zarco said. They make an effort to share music that won’t be played on any other radio station. However, like most people, Zarco has their standards. “I do a lot,” Zarco said, “But I don’t do classic, and I don’t do white country music.”
Zarco instead shares black country artists, who are “more representative of the beginning of country music in America.”
“Pioneers of music and music styles, people who stood out for how they changed the genre,” Zarco said are the type of artists they enjoy featuring on What!? British-Iraqi hip hop, psychedelic cumbia, African blues, Egyptian pop, and Latin American jazz are just a few of the various genres featured on the show.
Along with discovering new artists, Zarco takes inspiration from music she has collected over time. “I have four years of playlists on Spotify that I draw upon,” they said. The playlist titles are as diverse as the music itself, from “Moondayz” and “ThissHeavy” to “friends with stress”, “wqit actually what is this?” and “soothing nuclear ear candy”.
“I like it when people start dancing to some music that they would have never heard on any other radio station,” Zarco said.
For most people, music is catalyst for expression and has the power to elicit strong emotional responses. Through consideration, representation, and unification, “music is a way for people to express themselves,” Zarco said. “I think music can be a tool for building compassion and building understanding between people.”
Zarco shares her public Spotify playlists on Facebook on the evening she will be playing them. Recently, they posted a playlist called “Dubby Queen” with the caption “Gonna be playing music that brings a healing sound to ill societies. Peaceful beats against a marching army. Beautiful melodies to soothe the pain of hardship.”
Music is also a universal language with the capacity to transcend place. “Borders don’t stop music, and music is a traveling thing and can be moved across different cultures, for good reasons and for bad reasons, I guess,” Zarco said. “I definitely like finding people that I think respect the genres that they use, and try to add something new and authentic to it.”
Her current favorite genre of music is Colombian psychedelic cumbia, which came of age in the 1960’s. Cumbia is an Afro-Colombian genre that became popular in coastal cities in Colombia, Peru, and Mexico. The fusion of psychedelic rock and cumbia began as a result of globalization and opposition to the Vietnam War, which made the cumbia genre more accessible to younger generations.
In this sense, it is clear that music never really goes out of style, but is constantly evolving and reviving over time and space. Music is never static, and What!? is here to remind us of that.
By Abby Shields Contributing Writer
91.5 WUMF is a radio station/club on campus, that plays various genres, with a hope to bring out of the ordinary music to campus. “The station’s philosophy is to bring new, unheard music to UMF and the greater Farmington community,” said station manager Nathaniel Red.
“The radio station is on at all times. When DJs have their show, the floor is theirs to play what they want, but otherwise we have a rotation of music, that’s submitted by the music directors, and that music plays over the air continuously, when a show isn’t happening,” said Red.
There is a wide range of music played from alternative, hip- hop/RPM, local, loud rock, and world music. These different “stations” were picked as it helps them cover a large range of music, allowing a different assortment of to be heard.
The station plays a variety of different music with each music director in charge of a different genre. The music directors help students find music to play during their radio shows. “We play a little bit of everything on the radio, it’s just based off what is submitted to our station to be heard,” said Red.
There are 11 positions on the executive board, a few being the station manager, production manager, alternative music director, hip-hop/RPM music director, world music director, local music director, and loud rock music director. All these directors have similar jobs, however none are the exact same. Each varies depending on their genre, etc.
Kai Smith, World music director, said, “I keep up with all of the songs we’re sent that are from other parts of the world and/or music genres that don’t fit in the other categories. It’s a mix between all sorts of genres from all over the world, as well as jazz, blues, and country.”
Red said, “Generally the executive board is filled with members of the club who really love music, and love to be a part of college radio, similar to the rest of the club members too!” When it is time to fill positions for the next year, each member votes for one person, for each position and whoever wins the vote has that role for the following year.
Not only does WUMF play music, they also do interviews. Their latest include John Five, a American guitarist, Butcher Babies, a heavy metal band from Los Angeles, and OK Go, a American rock band originally from Chicago, Illinois.
“We’re always looking for more people to come and join the club! We’d love for students to come and have their own radio show. Also, we accept local bands music, so if anyone has some tracks out there, send them our way, and maybe we can get them some air time,” said Red.
Students who are interested in joining the club should contact the productions manager Sylvia at email@example.com. “They’ll help any student who wants to become a DJ,” said Red.
Students can stop by the office anytime to speak with an executive board member. The office is located by the door behind the station in the student center. Students can also contact them at an address listed on the contact list located on the station door.
To request a song on-air, just call (207) 778-7353.
By Willy Doehring Contributing Writer
UMF’s own student-run radio station, 91.5 WUMF, is looking towards the future, taking steps to improve the experience of listeners as well as improving the club for its many student members.
The presence of WUMF as a station and a club can be felt throughout UMF. The station provides a constant musical backdrop for students passing through the Olsen student center. Students host shows dedicated to everything from chart-topping hits to local music as well as a variety of genres.
Richard Southard, a senior and current Station Manager of WUMF, said with a smile, “It’s really a statement on the diverse interests of the students on campus.”
The club is one of the biggest on campus. “On average, I’d say we have around 20-30 shows on the schedule each semester,” said Southard. “A lot of shows have more than one student hosting, so I’d say we usually have about 30-40 members.”
Recently WUMF has faced a few difficulties. “There’s been some sudden changes that have caused some hiccups,” Southard said. “Multiple station managers before me suddenly needed to step down and leave.” Southard also cited issues with outdated equipment and promotions for the station were continually pushed back.
To make matters worse, WUMF’s annual spring concert event normally held in late March was cancelled due to a lack of participating bands. “It looked pretty optimistic, but then some of the scheduled bands dropped and others never even responded,” Southard said. “Pretty disappointing, seeing as this was the first time the event has been dropped.”
Nate Red, a junior and WUMFs current music director, said “This semester has been rocky for the club as a whole. Good news is there’s still a lot of dedicated DJs who love what they do.”
Red is one of the students spearheading WUMF’s preparation for next semester, which the club plans to use as a time to re-focus and improve the station for both DJs and listeners.
One improvement came in the form of brand-new equipment for the station earlier this semester, from new microphones for the DJs to new sound systems. Southard hopes that the new gear will make shows better for DJ’s and listeners alike.
“Better equipment means better sound quality overall for listeners,” Southard said. “It also gives more incentive for students to do their own shows. The new microphones sound a lot smoother, which encourages DJs to share their voices as well as their music.”
The new equipment is just the first step. With club leadership looking towards the future, WUMF members will have a much easier time focusing of the growth of their club. Red mentioned “getting the club newsletter back up and running in order to promote shows and music to a wider audience” is on the agenda. The station will be keeping a constant stream of new music on the radio as well in the fall semester.
Both Red and Southard agreed that next year would be a building year for WUMF, and are looking forward to see how the club grows. “I’m really excited to see the club get some more life, because it’s definitely changing for the better,” Red said.
You can tune in to 91.5 WUMF on FM radio, or stream the station by searching for “Listen Live WUMF.”
By Jordan Glassock, Contributing Writer
The Restless Atlantic performs at the 2016 Battle of the Bands. (Photo Courtesy of WUMF 91.5)
91.5 WUMF is gearing up to host the annual 2017 Battle of the Bands this April in the South Dining Hall.
“Battle of the Bands is essentially a massive concert,” said Julia Lent, the Music Director for WUMF.
The popular event attracts bands from all around New England. “Last year we had people as far away as Massachusetts come to play,” said Lent, “They compete with each other and put on a wicked good show for everybody in the area.”
Richard Southard, the Production Manager for WUMF, said that while there is a competitive aspect to Battle of the Bands, “It really is about just showing off lesser known local bands and really trying to get them out to the ears of the community.”
Local bands are usually invited by WUMF to perform at Battle of the Bands, but Lent and Southard said that it can work both ways. “Sometimes bands will see advertisements that we put up and they’ll be like ‘Hey, we wanna be in Battle,’” said Lent.
Southard and Lent said that preparing for Battle is a long process. “As far as getting the music goes, until up to the event, it’s more or less constant, because we’re either always sending out to bands, or people contact us.”
Once bands respond to the invitation to come to Battle of the Bands, they send in audition tapes that feature a few tracks that they consider their best work. After listening to the tracks, members of WUMF select six to eight bands that they want to perform at the event.
Selecting which bands WUMF would like to perform is only one part of the process. As far as the event itself, Southard said, “It’s an all day and almost all evening operation, straight from early as five in the morning all the way to three o’clock in the evening. It’s something we just mark off the entire day for.”
“We have to break down the entire South Dining Hall,” said Lent. “We have to set up all of our equipment and be ready to go for sound checks before any of the bands arrive. And they arrive still hours before the event. So, for us, it’s incredibly intense, but once the show starts it’s all worth it.”
“We wanna have everything as perfect and as pinpoint as possible,” said Southard. “We usually have a large audience, and of course we wanna make everything as best we can for the groups that are actually performing,” he said.
The winning band last year was The Restless Atlantic. Competitors for the upcoming battle have yet to be announced.
According to Lent, the size of the audience has only gotten larger since she’s been a part of WUMF. “It gets bigger every year, and the bands get better every year.”