The Merrimack Valley Radio Market: WUML(FM)

Who, What, Where

Community: Lowell
Channel: 218A
Ownership: University of Massachusetts, Lowell
(University of Massachusetts System)
Studio: 1 University Ave.
Lowell, MA 01854
Transmitter: Fox Hall
100 Pawtucket St.
Lowell, MA 01854-3607
Phones:
Studio +1 978 934 4969
Office +1 978 934 4975
Format: Variety

Technical Parameters

WUML operates at 1.4 kW effective radiated power from a tower on top of UMass Lowell's Fox Hall, using a directional antenna 207 feet (63 m) above average terrain.

Station History

WJUL is the descendant of radio station WLTI. In 1952 some engineering students thought it would be a good idea to set up a radio station that would transmit music and information to the student body. With the help of some interested Lowell Technical Institute faculty, a radio station club was formed, students pieced together some equipment (mostly their own), and on January 15th, 1953, WLTI was born. Studios were first located on the third floor of Kitson Hall and then relocated to what is now the laundry room of Eames Hall. WLTI operated at 640 AM and was broadcast to the residents of Smith and Eames Hall.

As FM radio became more popular, WLTI applied for a license to operate a station at 91.5 MHz. On November 4th, 1968, WLTI went on the FM band with a 10-Watt transmitter located on top of Southwick Hall. After 15 years of service the AM transmitter was shut down.

In the late 1960s a new library was being built for the growing Lowell Technological Institute. A professionally equipped station was planned as part of the new library. In 1970 the studios were moved from the basement of Eames Hall to the present studios under the Lydon Library. In June of 1972, WLTI increased its power to 1700 watts ERP, 39' AAT, in stereo, with a directional pattern protecting WPAA (91.7 Andover, since deleted).

In 1975, Lowell Tech merged with Lowell State College to form the University of Lowell. With the aid of the ULowell merger planning board, the call letters WJUL were selected. The new call letters went into effect on November 1, 1976.

During the mid 1980s, work was in progress on revamping the UMass system to include ULowell and other state universities. New expansion plans called for the relocation of the WJUL studios. Since the transmitter was co-located with the studios, a plan was drafted to relocate the transmitter to a remote site, allowing flexibility in any future studio move. In 1987, an engineering survey was performed to install a new transmitting system on top of Fox Hall. After much administrative red tape, both with the university and the FCC, the new system was energized on April 10th, 1994. The move to the 18 story Fox Hall increased the coverage area by 62%. The signal now reaches a potential audience of 1.3 million people (40 dBu contour with 1990 US Census data).

In 2003, the university (by now UMass-Lowell) decided to take control of the station away from the students, in the interest of developing a larger audience in the greater Merrimack Valley. A new morning show, “Lowell Sunrise” was developed in partnership with the Lowell Sun newspaper, and the callsign was changed to WUML, reflecting the new name of the university. The Sun pulled out of the deal early in 2005, but this seems only to have increased the university's desire for a professional station. In February 2005, the university announced a co-production deal with Boston's WGBH for a new, nationally-distributed talk show to be hosted by former WBUR-FM talk host Christopher Lydon. That same month, the station also announced negotiations with the Lowell Spinners for play-by-play of minor-league team's games.

Historical information provided by Tony Janeczek, UL '76.

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This station profile was written by the editors of The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. We have no relationship with the station; please send any comments or questions about their programming directly to the station. Network connectivity courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

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