The University Record, February 27, 1996

MichiganRadio: Almost 50 and ready for a change

By Rebecca A. Doyle

 Donovan Reynolds wants the airwaves to be full of the energy and excitement he experienced while he was here as a Michigan Journalism Fellow last year.

"I think we can provide an exciting, intellectual discussion of issues through Michigan Radio that is not available to this community any other way," Reynolds says.

Reynolds, who became director of broadcasting at the U-M on Jan. 2, says the University has a lot to offer the listening community, and he wants to make it available.

"I think there is a lot of potential here at Michigan Radio, although there are certainly some problems. The staff is ready for change, and I think the University wants a first-rate radio station," he says. "After all, this is a first-rate university."

Reynolds' plans include increasing the use of students as work-study employees or as interns.

"We want some bright, creative students in here to help us," he says. "And we need to think about where our future employees will come from."

He also plans to increase program underwriting, in which businesses, individuals or organizations may fund a particular program, and has applied to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for funding. Reynolds says future plans for the station will need to include creativity in raising funds to support programming and infrastr ucture changes he hopes to make.

"We are approaching our 50th birthday," Reynolds says of the station. "Before that comes (in 1998), we'd like to have our facilities renovated." In his presentation to the Regents at their February meeting, Reynolds told the Regents that WUOM is not ready for the digital age.

Programming changes Reynolds is considering include boosting the mid-day audience by providing more news about University events, discussion of current issues and research, and news about local government actions. Currently, statistics on peak listening times and the current market for news and information radio programming are being studied.

"Lots of stations are dropping classical music and putting in news and information programming, but not all have had an increase in listeners," Reynolds says. "We want to have the best information we can before we make any changes." The station has solicited comments from listeners both on-air and in the guide it publishes monthly.

Listeners in the University community are invited to send their comments to Michigan Radio either by e -mail to donovanr@umich.edu or regular mail to Donovan Reynolds, Michigan Radio, 501 LS&A Building 1382.