KUMM are the call letters for the University of Minnesota, Morris' campus radio station. The station is found live at 89.7 FM when within 10 miles of Morris, MN, or streaming audio at www.kumm.org. The radio station is dedicated to bring the prairie that surrounds Morris the best of Indie Rock/Pop, Hip-Hop, and countless other genres to stimulate the grazing cows just outside of Cyrus.
The station has many slogans and logos that pun on its fortunate (in a marketing sense) call letters. The most famous of which is "The only station that puts KUMM in your ear." The main logo and slogan of KUMM is that we are the "U-90 alternative." Instead of a hyphen between "U" and "90", there is a small sperm-shaped connector. However, the name of the station and the marketing push on the obvious does have its drawbacks, as the requests received from prepubescent boys proves.
The structure of the radio station is almost entirely free form. The DJ's choose their own music to play on their show. This cannot be stressed enough. In a world of college radio where even my favorite station, Radio K is 2/3 play list driven, KUMM and many other college radio stations offer a welcome sigh of relief in the form of creative, original programming, and fun with real radio.
On KUMM, you'll hear music like Death Cab for Cutie, Spiritualized, The Shins, The Magnetic Fields, Yo La Tengo, and on and on. The station is also focused to play as much Minnesota music as we get. Such bands as Low, Cloud Cult, Dillinger Four, Atmosphere, and Mark Mallman can be heard. These are short, time-subjective lists, which will hold no relevance to college radio ten years from now, unlike some stations whose focus is to drive into the skulls of youth that a particular decade was the best for music.
The Taste Makers
KUMM is run entirely by student, staff, and community volunteers, except for the five elected positions. Of course, this causes many mistakes to be made, but it is part of the charm of hitting the play button on the CD player, instead of piped-in music from across the country on some other corporate conglomerate station.
There are five elected positions for KUMM that keep the station ticking. These positions are a director of News, Publicity, Programs, Music, and a Station Manager. These people are the gears and glue that keep the tears of the few--listeners--from spilling in exasperation with the station.
1. Four new songs must be played every hour.
2. No top-forty song from any time period can be played.
3. No artist can be played more than once in any given show.
4. No swearing is allowed until after 10PM. After 10PM, shit gets real.
These rules are more than adequate to keep a healthy college radio atmosphere, yet they still allow a particular DJ to take their show in whichever direction he or she chooses.
The largest happenings that KUMM puts together throughout the year are March Music Madness (MMM), the obligatory Battle of the Bands, which was given the standard station promotional treatment by being dubbed Mortal KUMMbat, and also a fall concert that does not have a clever name. The 2004 MMM lineup featured Red Authentic opening for Halloween, Alaska, and the Heiruspecs. The latter two are Minnesota bands, and the former is from Kansas City. In 2003 at the MMM a Morris student, Jake Rowan, opened for The Firetrucs, Dan Israel and the Cultivators, and the Heiruspecs. 2003 did not have a fall concert due to a lack of funds, and poor planning. The 2002 fall concert featured Art opening for Clair De Lune and Motion City Soundtrack. Mortal KUMMbat in 2003 featured eight bands. Love Association took top honors, despite being arrogant pricks.
KUMM boosted its broadcasting capacity in 2009. Plans set in motion way back in the year 2000 called for a new antennae to be attached to the city water tower. This extended the broadcasting range of the station to 15 miles with a fringe range bordering on 30 miles. It was previously believed that the Tower Project would be completed in the summer of 2004, but the project wasn't completed until 2009. KUMM has a long and rich history as a truly great service to the campus and community.