WUMR The Jazz Lover is a non-commercial radio station located on the University of Memphis campus. The station, which has been operating since 1979, is the only jazz outlet in the Mid-South that plays jazz tracks, spotlights community events and broadcasts sports.
Malvin Massey, music director and former jazz musician, is the station's general manager and has been with the station for more than 25 years. In a recent interview, he shared his love for jazz music, the changes in radio and how his job title has benefited him over the years.
Known as Le Pilot, Massey is a pioneer in the jazz world and a great mentor to upcoming personalities.
“I love having the opportunity to listen to all the new music first and having a good reputation in the music industry with record promoters and different labels," Massey said. "I stay fresh in the jazz world by keeping up with music. It’s a reassuring job and a great gig.”
His passion for jazz music has earned him a reputation in the music industry, and he has been fortunate to interview some of the greatest legends. For many years, he has worked in the radio business gaining the knowledge of broadcasting, meeting famous musicians and working alongside promoters and other radio executives.
The studio has changed in many ways over the years and technical advances have made it easier for the station to stay on air broadcasting while expanding to different ethnic groups in the community. U92-FM plays genres like contemporary, big band and Latin jazz 24 hours a day over a 90-mile radius and streams live online.
“When I first got here, we had only nine CDs and everything else was on albums,” he said. “Then as CDs start growing, we start getting more in. The technical improvements are a lot easier and it make things sound better because everything is digital.”
The station also supports the jazz program at the U of M, local jazz musicians and Mid-South jazz lovers.
Today, Massey is the host of the Spotlight 92 segment, which connects the community, broadcasts events and provides information about non-profit organizations.
Massey invites students and volunteers within the community interested in radio to come and join WUMR. He encourages U of M students to host the Spotlight 92 shows in order to promote on-campus events and organizational efforts within the community.
WUMR is part of the College of Communication and Fine Arts’ (CCFA) Department of Communication. The station’s mission is to train communication and journalism students in broadcasting by helping them with the technical aspects of radio and how to speak professionally on-air. Students can create their own show ideas, read public service announcements and take requests from listeners who call in.
“We have gained more volunteers through campus involvement and passing out brochures," Massey said. "And we even have had faculty members bring their classes over to introduce students to the station.”
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer for the station should contact Chris Davis, the program director, through email.