University of Michigan student radio. 88.3 FM, "on the extreme left of your radio dial".
Studio phone number +1-734-763-3500 - call to pledge your support now and make a request, or donate online.
WCBN is a non-commercial radio station that broadcasts on the FM band at 88.3 MHz. It also streams audio on the website. It is programmed and operated by volunteers, mostly students at the University of Michigan. Its license is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan. The CBN call letters originally stood for "Campus Broadcasting Network."
Shows on WCBN
WCBN's programming format is primarily freeform, an eclectic mixture of many different musical styles. WCBN also airs specialty programs focusing on specific styles or origins of music including Dance Hall Reggae, Nothin' but the Blues, the Bluegrass show Bill Monroe for Breakfast, the Down Home Show and the Hip hop show The Prop Shop. Some of these shows have aired continuously for over 20 years. Sunday programming is mainly specialty shows featuring the music of Africa, Asia, India and other parts of South Asia, Israel and the Middle East, Japan, Turkey and the Mediterranean. The weekly, 2 hour Local Music Show features local artists performing live in-studio.
The Dwyers host Robot Pasta.
WCBN also broadcasts Free Speech Radio News weekdays at 5:30PM, an independently produced 30-minute national and international radio news program focusing on peace and social justice issues in the USA and around the world.
See the week's worth of programming in the WCBN program guide.
WCBN was created in 1952 when three existing carrier current broadcasting systems on campus pooled resources. WCBN-AM could be tuned to in University buildings at 640 kHz. There were three studios, one in each dorm (West Quad, South Quad, and East Quad) and programming was coordinated between the existing broadcast facilities on a time-share basis.
In 1956 WCBN hosted the first meeting of the National Association of College Broadcasters.
In 1965, the entire operation was consolidated in the newly completed Student Activities Building.
In early 1971 the Board of Regents approved a proposal to expand the station to FM Radio. On January 23, 1972 WCBN-FM went on the air at 89.5 MHz with a 10 Watt transmitter. At this time the carrier current station adopted the new callsign WRCN, and programming was divided. Sometime in the late 70s, the AM station changed it's call sign to WJJX, and adopted the moniker "65X", even though it continued to broadcast on 640 kHz.
WCBN was moved to 88.3 MHz by the FCC in 1977 in order to allow WEMU to undergo a power increase.
In 1980 the station held its first fundraiser to supplement its University support.
WCBN's transmitter was upgraded to 200 watts in 1984.
In addition to its FM broadcast, WCBN can be heard via the Internet at WCBN.org.
The University of Michigan also funds and operates the NPR station WUOM, which is run as a service to the community and does not directly involve students in its operation.
Ken Freedman, general manager of WFMU, worked at WCBN from 1977-1983.
WCBN on video
- Turnstyles 1 2005 - six minute clip of a turntablist radio show
CBN has a wide collection of recorded promos to ID the station, many dating back to its early years on FM. Some of these include:
- Richard Nixon talking to the astronauts on the Sea of Tranquility
- Evil Knievel admonishing you to always wear your helmet
- peppy W-W-W-(dot)-W-C-B-N-(dot)-ORG song
- The famous "Boasting" ID, a pair of fantastical braggarts with an affinity to the juvenile culture of the 1970s being told to "keep it down."
A vast array of graphic art has been put to the purpose of promoting WCBN.
- "Wallaby bat cobra narwhal" showing those animals that spell the WCBN logo
In the news
- Left of the Dial, James Tobin, Michigan Today, January 2013
- Letter to the Editor: An apology from WCBN, Michigan Daily, November 2008