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Mark Kapperich

WORT still exists on FM 89.9 as a noncommercial, listener-sponsored, member-controlled radio station. It operates out of its own building in Madison with a 2,000-watt signal and covers over a 50-mile radius.

Although the station still exists, some changes have taken place since it first went on air in 1973. The programming at WORT has become more structured than when it began. It has moved from a freeform schedule to stratified block programming, where five different hosts do programming in a similar genre at the same time of day throughout the week. Although the structure of the station has changed, its ideals have not. WORT continues its strong commitment to diversity and access, and according to its mission statement, seeks to "challenge the intellectual and cultural assumptions of its listeners and provide a voice for those under-represented by other media."

The station offers more than 80 different programs of folk, jazz, rock, blues, soul, gospel and classical music. In addition, it has diverse news and public affairs shows, and special programs to serve Madison's Hmong, Chicano, and Gay and Lesbian communities.
Even though WORT has been around the campus community for almost 30 years, the station has never been affiliated with the university. The only university-affiliated radio station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast beyond campus borders is WSUM. The station has been broadcasting on the Internet since 1997, but the on-air debut was delayed by controversy over a radio tower in the Town of Montrose. The station has been broadcasting its diverse programming since February 2002.

Like WORT, WSUM is a noncommercial station and has no intention of becoming a feeder system for commercial broadcasting, ensuring the survival of underground and alternative radio in Madison.

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