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WMUK launches fall drive, expands programming

Oct. 12, 2009

KALAMAZOO--After expanding programming with the help of new digital radio technology, public radio station WMUK 102.1 FM launches its fall fund drive Oct. 17 with limited pledge hours.

"Twice the programs, half the pledge hours" is the slogan for this year's fundraising campaign, which has a goal of raising $200,000. The station expanded program offerings via a new HD2 digital stream on Oct. 1.

"Listeners can expect the programs they currently depend on, as well as new offerings from WMUK on HD2," says Gordon Bolar, WMUK's development director, in announcing the start of the station's fall fundraising week.

Since Oct. 1, WMUK listeners with HD radio receivers have been able choose between two different programs airing anytime of the day by tuning in to the station's regular frequency located at 102.1-FM. Those who don't have an HD receiver can visit WMUK online and listen to the new program offerings via the Internet. The new offerings include music from the satellite service Classical 24 and news from the BBC World Service. The station also will be offering Dick Gordon's interview show The Story at 9 a.m. weekdays and The World, a news magazine from Public Radio International, from 3 to 7 p.m.weekdays.

The station's fall fund drive will feature on-air pledge hours reduced by more than 55 percent during pledge week. The effort will also feature two "skinny days"--Tuesday and Wednesday--with only one hour of pledging in the mornings and afternoons. Listeners are urged to donate prior to the on-air portion of the fall drive. The drive will end immediately once WMUK reaches its goal.

Listeners can contribute by mailing in contributions or by pledging online at wmuk.org. WMUK's Web ticker at the new site features up-to-date results of the station's fundraising effort through the end of the drive.

The pledge drive raises funds that help pay for acquisition costs of programs from National Public Radio, Public Radio International, the British Broadcasting Co. and American Public Media.

"WMUK has been utilizing HD radio technology to provide a digital signal to area residents with the proper receivers for some time," says Klay Woodworth, WMUK program director. "Now we are able to offer both better quality and a choice of programs."

The new technology allows the station to expand its offerings on the second HD2 channel without buying another frequency, Woodworth says.

Touted as the most significant advancement in radio broadcasting since the introduction of FM stereo more than 50 years ago, the digital hybrid technology of HD radio allows broadcasters to offer more than one stream of programming within the same frequency band. An HD radio receiver keeps the streams separate and reproduces the sound on either stream with digital quality.

"We can offer some programs that are a little different without impinging on the schedule our long-time listeners rely on," Woodworth says. "Our plan is to bring our listeners more of what they have always tuned to 102.1-FM to hear. Over the next several months, we will be adding more programs to the schedule."

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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