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Released July 2, 2003

By Kristen Preau

HATTIESBURG - For the 18th year in a row, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded The University of Southern Mississippi's public radio station the Community Service Grant. WUSM-FM(88.5) will use the $15,625 grant to continue funding its award-winning programming and to sustain promotional effects.
"This grant helps us obtain national shows off satellite," WUSM general manager Michael Davis said. "But mostly it will be used to produce our own shows, like our award-winning news show and interviews that we put on the Internet."

Operating under the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, WUSM-FM88.5 competes with 1,400 other public radio stations to reach its quota from outside funding to receive this grant. Funding primarily comes from listener donations and underwritings from local businesses.

"We're not who you think we are" - the station's slogan -- personifies WUSM, which provides more than just music to Hattiesburg and South Mississippi, Davis said. From his experience, Davis said WUSM offers "ultimate freedom in radio." Not only does it play a wide variety of music, anything from classical to alternative, but it also provides informational programming for world, national and local news. Students -- typically radio, television and film majors -- announce live news broadcasts. The station provides volunteer students with the opportunity to gain experience in the field of radio broadcasting.

WUSM coexists with PRM, Public Radio Mississippi, which is the statewide public broadcasting station for Mississippi. Davis said he believes Hattiesburg is "blessed" because they can listen to both WUSM and PRM.

WUSM is known as a counter program, meaning it offers to listeners what is not already offered by other radio stations. One such service is the Friday Afternoon Concert Series, which promotes local bands. This event gives the bands the opportunity to perform on campus, made possible by WUSM along with Southern Miss' University Activities Council. A weekly calendar of local performances is provided on the station's web site.

Recently, WUSM was listed along with seven other stations as a "select, influential station" by Paste magazine, which focuses on "signs of life in music and culture." Approximately four percent of local auto listeners tune in to 88.5 FM, according to Audi-Scan, and 15 percent of Southern Miss students listen to WUSM, according to an independent survey.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM