Impact 89FM (WDBM-FM), Michigan State University’s student-run radio station and media organization, topped the charts nationally this month when it was recognized with the 2021 College Media Association Four-Year College Radio Station of the Year Pinnacle Award.
This is the first time Impact 89FM has earned this national award. However, the student-run radio station has been recognized as the Michigan College Radio Station of the Year 17 times during the last 20 years, including this year.
“It’s our first time winning this national award, and I couldn’t be happier for the students,” said Jeremy Whiting, Impact 89FM general manager. “They have been recognized at the state level many times, but the team has worked incredibly hard to take our organization to the next level. As media trends evolve, we’re continuing to add ways of connecting with our audiences, from broadcast to mobile to social media.”
In 1989, Impact 89FM was one of few student radio stations operating 24/7 and since that time has become one of the largest student organizations at MSU with students in both paid and volunteer staff roles. Impact 89FM is part of the Division of Student Affairs and Services and has become an important part of MSU.
“I couldn’t believe that we had won a NATIONAL award when we first got the news!!” said an excited George McNeill, Impact 89FM station manager. “Retrospectively, though, I am not surprised knowing our team at Impact 89FM. Our success is a testament to the enthusiastic collaboration by the 200+ strong who have given their all to support one another, create meaningful content and grow — both as professionals and individuals.”
The national award was presented to the station staff in a virtual ceremony Oct. 15.
After the announcement, station Program Director Mckenna Lounds said, “I’m always overwhelmingly impressed and proud of our entire staff for the time and energy they put into their work at Impact 89FM. I am grateful to work alongside people who make our station exciting and fun, and who channel so much of their passion and creativity into the teams, projects, content and media.”
In addition to the national recognition for the station, students were also recognized for their work with individual national awards. Luke Sloan, MSU student and Impact 89FM sports director, earned a third-place award for Best Audio Sportscast, and Sophie Elrick, Ally Beshouri and Dylan Gray earned an honorable mention in Best Online Ad.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have my work be honored in the Best Audio Sportscast category,” Sloan said. “I am blessed to have such a great support system around me at the station. I wouldn’t be where I am today without everyone at WDBM.”
Sloan added that winning national college radio station of the year is incredibly meaningful “for all of the people who have worked so hard during the pandemic.”
“It is such an honor that Impact was selected as the winner of the national college station of the year, and it means so much to me, personally, to be part of such an amazing station,” said Sophie Elrick, art director for the station. “Being a part of the Impact has helped me to embrace myself and share my love for art, music and entertainment with the world! Receiving an individual award was also very validating for me because as many artists know, it is easy to get caught up in the self-doubt, so I am so happy to see that my work is appreciated and enjoyed on a national level!”