It's a grungy, little room with sharpie doodles tattooing the walls, outdated Maryland sports posters scattering the floor and ripped computer chairs encircling old microphones. It's student-run and sits atop the university's South Campus Diner, across the hall from the well-funded campus newspaper The Diamondback, and most people on campus have never heard of the studio. It's WMUC Sports, and it may not look like much; but for many prospective sports journalists, it's a career starter.
Redskins Nation host Larry Michael, Comcast SportsNet's Chick Hernandez, ESPN's Bonnie Bernstein and many other notable University of Maryland broadcasters got their start at WMUC. Along with offering students chances to broadcast weekly radio shows, WMUC also gives budding journalists opportunities to give color and play-by-play commentating on Maryland sports. From field hockey to men's basketball to women's lacrosse, Maryland students with even no experience at all have called games and received invaluable exposure that is worth well more than just a bullet on a resume.
While WMUC Sports continues to flourish in calling home games for Maryland sports, the station has lost all its funding and can no longer commentate away games. In years past, students would make the occasional day trip to a cover conference games, but with the conference realignment and the entrance into the Big Ten, students can't feasibly travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles for games with no reimbursement for gas money.
Here's a video explaining the budgetary concerns and need for travel for WMUC Sports:
According to Business Director of WMUC Sports and sophomore journalism student Michael Stern, in 2002 WMUC Sports split off with WMUC in order to broadcast more sports but the budget allotment remained the same. Since WMUC Sports was covering such a wide range of sports and not just the revenue-making teams, the budgets shrunk. New equipment purchases have run the stations' budget dry, not allowing them to hit the road and cover away games.
"WMUC Sports is not a true broadcaster of Terps games if 50 percent of the games they can't broadcast," Stern said. "We have been a station with a Band-Aid on it for too many years and it's time to get back to full strength."
WMUC Sports has started a social media storm using the hashtag #ItsAboutYou. Using crowdfunding program LAUNCH UMD, WMUC Sports has already received $5,300 in donations but are still a handsome amount of money away from its goal of $8,000. If the station were to raise $8,000, the funding site said it would be "enough to fund our travel for about two to three years."
For some parents, WMUC Sports is the only avenue for them to follow their children's games live. Non-revenue sports like field hockey and women's lacrosse don't get nearly enough coverage (except here!) and have fans and parents wondering where they can access the broadcast. WMUC Sports, through its online streaming, gives parents of players like Slovakian basketball player Michal Cekovsky and German field hockey player Sarah Sprink, an opportunity to hear their sons and daughters play while abroad.
"WMUC Sports is the future of sports broadcasting at UMD. We should be the voice of the Terps and to do that we need to have the capability of covering all Terps games," Stern said.
It's been an uphill battle since the station broadcasters were told they could no longer travel with the team a few years ago, but behind the fundraising launched by WMUC Sports, the station is heading back into the right direction. With the $5,300 already raised, according to their own calculations, the money will be contributed to well over a year's worth of travel. WMUC Sports wants to continue its six decade long legacy of covering away games, but they need your help.
Click here to donate or read more about what they intend to do with the donations.