Evening at the Archives: Public Radio 90 WNMU-FM

Everyone has heard of the saying“Spring is in the air,” but here at the archives we seem to have radio instead—Public Radio 90, that is! This Thursday we will be hosting our semi-annual Evening at the Archives, featuring a celebration of Public Radio 90 WNMU-FM’s 50th Anniversary. It will be presented by WNMU-FM radio personality and jazz maven, Hans Ahlstrӧm. Past Evenings have include a genealogy workshop and a presentation about student research. This will be our fourth Evening at the Archives, and we have been preparing for weeks, so come and enjoy the product of our hard work!
As any good researcher knows, research is a timely endeavor that doesn’t always yield the results you’re hoping for. At the Archives we have been moderately successful in gathering lots of information about WNMU-FM. We have had the opportunity to interview John Major and Bruce Turner, tow men who played a vital role in the station’s creation 50 years ago in 1963. We have also had the pleasure of speaking with Tony Grudnoski and Jean Olson, both of whom contributed in the station’s early years. Steve Dupras, a past station manager, and Evelyn Massaro, current station manager, helped fill in a lot of gaps in information from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Steve Dupras and others

(left to right), Scott Seaman, Steve Dupras, John X. Jamrich, and Robert Biolo, with the check which funded a new WNMU-FM Translator in 1983.

Being able to conduct these oral history interviews has been a wonderful learning process for many of the Archival staff. Much of our collection involves oral history interviews, usually on cassette tapes and occasionally on old reel-to-reel audio, and is conducted by NMU professors and students. This project allowed us to experiment with digital recording methods and preservation techniques, and should prove valuable for future in-house research projects. Many of the interviews have been reduced to short clips, but that doesn’t mean that the full interview isn’t available! If you like what you hear, feel free to stop by and listen to the full interview. And keep your eyes on our Oral History Project website—perhaps you’ll be able to listen to the wonderful recollections of John Major or Evelyn Massaro from the comfort of your own home!
In conducting all these interviews we’ve had the opportunity to learn a vast amount about WNMU-FM, from budget cuts and PR disasters to station awards and changes in technology. This Evening is shaping up to be an entertaining presentation with sound clips, old photos, and an impressive array of information. We hope you’ll join us in this historical celebration!
This Evening at the Archives will be held on Thursday, March 14, at 7pm in the NMU Archives, room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks). This is a free event, open to the public, and refreshments will be provided! Please call (906)227-1225 or email smallo@nmu.edu in order to reserve a seat—sadly, space is limited!

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst.

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