Say ‘yes’ to UMFM

Five students share what the campus radio station means to them

Photo by Carolyne Kroeker

During this year’s UMSU election, campus radio station 101.5 UMFM will be asking the student body to raise its levy by $1.50 per student, per term. If successful, this will be the first fee increase for the station since 1998, the year the station hit the airwaves.

UMFM has the lowest student levy of any campus station in Manitoba and with approval of our increase we would catch up with what our fee would be had it been fixed to the rate of inflation back in 1998.

A $1.50 increase per term may not be a huge difference for each student, but it gives UMFM a major opportunity to improve the quality of our services and our programming. To showcase the services that the station provides for U of M students, below are five testimonials from students from different fields answering what the station means to them and why this funding increase is needed.


Zachary Dark

Zachary is co-host of DFoM Radio, the Faculty of Music Students’ Association’s radio show. He is third-year music student, the vice-stick of the Faculty of Music Students’ Association and plays horn in a number of musical ensembles on campus.

Why is UMFM important to you?

My time at UMFM has been incredibly valuable. First and foremost, I have had the opportunity to explore broadcasting and recording in a welcoming and supportive environment under the guidance of knowledgeable and friendly staff.

The DFoM Radio show allows the talent of students and professors in the Desautels faculty of music to be showcased, and I, along with many other music students, have used the recording studio at UMFM to put together professional-quality recordings. The airtime that students and instructors receive helps to promote the faculty of music, and the university overall, and students often send their recordings to summer programs to secure placements, or to music festivals to land gigs.

Why should students vote “yes” for this funding increase?

Students should vote “yes” because campus radio is important and valuable. UMFM provides a wide variety of shows, through which one can hear all of the opinions, topics, and music that are often ignored by large commercial outlets. At DFoM Radio, my co-host and I pride ourselves on presenting student and faculty performances and perspectives from the Desautels faculty of music here at the University of Manitoba. Independent media with a local focus, like UMFM, helps the careers of local artists, no matter their genre. UMFM offers a platform through which the voices of students can be heard and amplified, making sure that our views are not forgotten.


Amy Unger

Amy is a new volunteer at the station. She started sorting CDs, voicing commercials and working on event promotion and is now host of the music show, Made You a Mixtape. Amy is in her fourth year of agriculture, heading towards a degree in agronomy. Outside of the station, Amy has been involved with several student groups on campus, including Segue, Red Frogs, and Engineers Without Borders. Amy is also a server at the campus restaurant Degrees.

Why is UMFM important to you?

UMFM is unique. It’s powered by volunteers, which means that show hosts and people who spend their time and creativity at the station are here because they enjoy it. The station is full of mentors – people who are extremely good at what they do who are willing to share their skills and knowledge. Because of this atmosphere, it’s been super easy to get involved in different areas and projects with the station.

On a musical level, UMFM has complemented my time at university by expanding my horizons of artists and genres, and connecting me in with the local music scene.

Why should students vote “yes” for this funding increase?

Students, you should vote “yes” to the funding increase because UMFM is your station. On either end of the airwaves, as a volunteer or a listener, UMFM is here sharing the heartbeat of your campus and community. UMFM is playing good music across a spread of genres, featuring little-known and local artists, taking new perspectives on sports and current issues, and keeping you up to date with events and shows around the city.


Eric MacLise

For the past three years, Eric has hosted Covering the Spread, a weekly sports talk show, and currently sits as the UMSU representative for UMFM’s board of directors. Outside the station, Eric is a fourth-year Asper School of Business student, majoring in marketing. Eric is also the incoming vice-president of operations for the Commerce Students’ Association, and competed in JDC West, the largest business competition in Western Canada.

Why is UMFM important to you?

UMFM is important to me because it has given me a chance to pursue broadcasting without dedicating myself to a journalism degree. UMFM has given me incredible opportunities, including doing play-by-plays for Bisons hockey games, reading and recording advertisement spots, and producing my own podcasts.

Why should students vote “yes” for this funding increase?

Voting “yes” for this funding increase is important because there are very limited media course options available at the University of Manitoba, and broadcasting is a difficult industry to succeed in. UMFM offers students a wealth of opportunities to explore DJing or radio broadcasting while obtaining a solid educational foundation in the area of their choice. UMFM also gives a voice to stories important to University of Manitoba students that would not be heard elsewhere, including student government and Bisons athletics.


Emerald Fonseca

Emerald is one of the co-hosts of the feminist talk radio show, The F Word on UMFM. She is currently getting her second degree at the U of M from the faculty of engineering. She has been involved with the Womyn’s Centre since her first degree and is currently involved with the University of Manitoba Engineering Society and Engineers Without Borders.

Why is UMFM important to you?

UMFM is important to me because it’s provided me with a space to grow, learn, and educate myself and others when it comes to important social issues. It’s provided an avenue for activism and support in developing my voice and the voices of other students. Being a part of UMFM has been great in helping me develop skills and interests outside of my degree in a fun and creative way.

Why should students vote “yes” for this funding increase?

UMFM is a space where students are encouraged and welcome to express themselves using radio. They provide opportunities to learn about the medium and technology and work behind the scenes. It not only supports students but also the local music scene and local businesses aiding in the building of community within the city. It features music not played on other stations and the programming is diverse providing something for everyone. Funding would aid in maintaining a station that is intertwined with student life and the local community.


Ashley Bieniarz

Ashley is host of the Winnipeg Music Project, a UMFM radio show and blog where she interviews Winnipeg musicians about their music, as well upcoming performances and projects. She is currently studying music education at the Desautels faculty of music and also works at the Joyce Fromson Pool as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.

Why is UMFM important to you?

UMFM is a fun and extremely welcoming environment. They saw my blog, contacted me about getting involved and then gave me an opportunity for a show on the station, and since then I have met some incredible people. It’s helped me establish connections, meet people I never would have met, and learn things that have changed not only my perception on how I listen to music but how I write and create my own music.

Why should students vote “yes” for this funding increase?

The amount the station is asking for from each individual student is completely reasonable and 100 per cent justifiable in my opinion. For less than a cup of coffee you might buy each morning, you’re supporting such an amazing community. So many positive and wonderful things come from UMFM and because of that we’re asking for a little money to help keep the station properly supported.


Voting for the proposed UMFM funding increase will take place from March 2 to 4 across the University of Manitoba in conjunction with the UMSU general election. For more information about the proposed funding increase, please visit

Ian T.D. Thomson is a student, volunteer and board member at UMFM, and chair of the Manitoban Newspaper Publications Corporation’s board of directors.