The Voice is sounding out nationally.
WVUM ‘The Voice,’ University of Miami’s student-run radio station, won the 2011 mtvU College Radio Woodie for the first time since its creation in 1967.
“It’s pretty surreal,” said Mike Diaz, the station’s office manager.
The award comes on the heels of major effort to revamp the station.
“Last year was a huge year as far as changing the station,” said Amber Robertson, the general manager. “The Web site was redone, we’ve done better programming, brought a lot more DJs on staff.”
This was the first year the station had ever participated in the national contest. Robertson credits the win to a huge effort to get out the vote.
“I had never even heard about it till this year,” she said. “Every DJ mentioned it at every break. We did a huge voting party. Ultra gave us a ticket to give away. It was for the best dance moves while voting.”
Winning the award has several implications for the station.
“It’s a tough time for college radio,” said Andrew Spears, a DJ for the station. “Colleges are cutting programs. Getting this award, we have a certain amount of good will.”
The station also hopes to use the win to generate more sponsorships and money.
“We can sell this to people in the community and to large national corporations,” Diaz said. “It feels like a lot of pressure cause everyone expects it to translate to more money and projects.”
The Federal Communications Commission recently approved the station for an increase in signal strength. This will allow the station to broadcast out 30 miles. However, the station cannot currently afford the upgrade.
“We need more money so we can get the signal,” Diaz said. “If we don’t get it by the deadline, someone else will and we’ll never be able to get it again after that.”
The station is also looking to purchase Wide Orbit, a new music system that would replace their current iTunes system.
“We have a lot of technical difficulties this program would solve,” Robertson said. “It’s a whole new set-up. All professional radios have this, so why can’t we?”
But for the time being, the station is simply relishing the victory.
“It’s great cause we go out of our way to make a more eclectic playlist,” said Spears. “People do find what we do interesting. We could not have done without the Miami community at large.”
The 2011 mtvU Woodies Awards will be airing on March 16 at 12 a.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU.
- Alysha Khan
(Editor's Note: This story was originally published by The Miami Hurricane in its March 8, 2011 edition)