KUMD is now WDSE 103.3 FM “The North”

After 64 years of affiliation with the University of Minnesota Duluth, 103.3 FM is now a product of the Duluth Superior Area Educational Television Corporation, the public media organization that also owns WDSE/WRPT-TV, the Duluth area’s PBS affiliate.

Beginning today, the station is known as “The North 103.3 FM” with the call letters WDSE. No changes to the station’s programming, format or staff were announced, but a post on the KUMD Facebook page noted that longtime Northland Morning host Lisa Johnson had left the station after yesterday’s broadcast. She had been with KUMD for 30 years.

A joint news release from WDSE/WRPT and UMD notes that opportunities for university students to be involved at the station will continue, “including both on-air and behind-the-scenes work, and be expanded into television as well.”

“We are delighted to bring the North 103.3 FM into the WDSE family,” Patricia Mester, president and general manager of WDSE/WRPT, said in the release. “WDSE’s work is centered on the arts, health and wellbeing, our natural world, civic engagement, and history and storytelling. We are known as the region’s story tellers and, through our combined organizations, we see this as an opportunity for deeper connections to tell even more compelling stories that reflect our diverse and unique communities. Together we will provide our region a complete, trusted public media experience, unique to any other media offering in the Northland.”

UMD Chancellor Lendley Black said in the release he believes WDSE is better positioned to advance public radio in Duluth due to UMD’s tight operational budget. “Through this sale, we’re preserving local public radio in Duluth,” he said. “With the enhancements offered by WDSE, student participation and quality listener experiences carry forward.”

The Duluth News Tribune reports that WDSE could continue using the radio station’s existing space in the Humanities building on the UMD campus for the next three years. WDSE/WRPT owns its television studio at 623 Niagara Court, which is also on the UMD campus.

1 Comment

Malcom Cheese

about 7 months ago

Not the first time this has happened. I was working on the air at WDTH-103.3 FM in the late summer of 1974 when we were sold to the university. 103.3 FM starting out as a commercial radio station which was to be a challenger to WEBC’s solid hold on the Young Adult listenership of the Twin Ports radio market. It eventually evolved into what was called a Progressive Radio format at the time. (Read: hippie, underground music.) As a last-ditch effort to regain some of their financial losses, the owners of WDTH- FM negotiated a sale to UMD. (I didn’t receive all of my paychecks in the final months of that summer.) Once it was sold, it went dark. When it returned to the air after a long silence, WDTH-FM was the local college radio station for several years and eventually reclaimed the KUMD-FM call letters of the older, tiny, 250-watt radio station from the 1960’s that were found at 88.0 or 89 point something on the FM dial.
-- From a Facebook post by John Voorhis

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