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My take on the Woodie

By Amber Robertson posted Mar 14, 2011 at 10:35 PM

 

The idea of winning a "Woodie" was born with our underwriting director, Mike Matthiesen. Little did I know that the "Woodie" would become the subject of every other conversation held the WVUM office for the next month. I didn't even know what a Woodie Award was... 

Mike showed me pictures of the staff that won last year's award, and all I could see was WVUM winning it this year. It seemed simple enough: get nominated by having a bunch of listeners put their name, email & WVUM's call letters into a form and submit to mtvU's website. The next week, mtvU would announce the top 50 stations. Going in to this, I knew we were not getting a cash prize nor being awarded a grant. However, it was clear we would be on MTV when the Woodie Awards aired and that meant an audience of millions of people. Millions of people hearing our call letters and hearing our story.  It wasn't clear if the winning station would go up on stage to accept the award or be flown in to the show. I kind of assumed that a few of us would be flown over, which was a bummer that MTV didn't pay for airfare, but they did give us staff tickets to the Woodie Awards. A few of us are flying to Austin tomorrow for the awards show, which airs at Midnight on Wednesday on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU. Live footage of us winning will air on TV.

Backtracking: When we made it to the top 50 stations, things became a little more serious. We unleashed a media campaign that spanned from on-air mentions to 10-times an hour Facebook posts to re-tweeting in my sleep. Once we made top 25, I could not handle NOT winning. If we went this far, we had to do the damn thing. I was also plagued by the thought "why are we really doing this?" and I guess in the end the answer was "to prove something". The University of Miami is a small, private University that only 15,600 people can afford to attend. In physical terms, all we won was a heavy piece of wood with an axe through it. But what it represents is a group of undergraduate & graduate students who put all their efforts behind something they believed in and got the nation's attention. 15,600 students go to UM. Over 50,000 attend the University of Texas, who was one of the top 10 candidates along with us. The simple fact that we were able to beat out a school of that size is an accomplishment in itself. If one more person listens to WVUM regularly because of this I think it was worth it. 

When we found out we were finalists (top 5) we were told to all gather in the studio at 2PM on March 3. We would receive a call telling us whether we won or lost. Instead, we were surprised by an mtvU reporter and camera crew. That hour was honestly a blur but it was one of the best feeings I have had in my life. Winning feels good. And winning with your friends feels even better.

We know the Miami community supports us and we have Miami New Times 'Best Radio Station' awards to show for it, but we really didn't have anything to show for ourselves nationally. Now when people ask us how we have been recognized nationally, we can show them our hardware. In turn, we hope to get more sponsorships out of this and more donations from our listeners, which in turn can buy us another piece of hardware...

Last year, we were approved for a power increase by the FCC which will allow us to double our range. The antenna has been bought but we need a new tower to put this antenna on top of, which as you can guess costs a pretty penny. The WVUM staff also has its eyes on a nice piece of automation software that would solve our problems of dead air & unstable software. We are already talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

I realize MTV probably only included the College Radio category as part of this awards ceremony to increase viewers for their awards show with a funny name targeted to college students. So if we got a whole city to vote for us for this category, then when the footage of us winning is aired on the Woodie Awards show, the assumption is we would get everyone who voted for us to watch their show, thus increasing their ratings. Cllevverrrrrr, eh? No this doesn't mean we're selling out, no this doesn't mean we're changing our format. We just did it for fun and to get more exposure for our station. In the end, it was awesome to see all the positive responses from the community of people saying we deserve something like this and it's about time.
 
 
And it was about time. And I am and will always be proud of us all. So thank you to Miami, UM & WVUM alumni.
 
A few of my favorite text messages after we won include:
 
3/3/11 12:31PM You guys are all I listen to. Been that way since before I was in high school and that was a very very long time ago.
 
3/3/11 2:29PM CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I just made a scene in the Taco Bell line with my incoherent screaming. LOL, and now you get to prefix "Woodie award-winning" to every time you announce the station name!

3/311 4:04PM YAY WVUM! you guys deserve it!! Can you some hercules and love affair??

3/3/11 6:13PM Congrats on the woodie!!! I know my voting 10xs per day was a small help! U guys deserve it! Love ur vamos a la playa show!

 










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WVUM, Inc., the licensee of station WVUM-FM, is operated as a non-commercial educational radio station at the University of Miami. The unit has no full-time employees and is not required to have an EEO recruitment program due to its size.