Feb. 26 2014 12:00 AM

MSU student-run radio station hits a quarter century

When Michigan State University’s Impact 89FM (88.9 WDBM-FM) debuted 25 years ago this week, the Internet was barely a thing. Today, the award-winning student-run radio station provides 24/7 commercial free content over the local airwaves and across the Web, at impact89fm.org. Not bad for a spinoff of a university radio network launched in an attic.

For 11 of those 25 years, the Impact won the award for College Radio Station and Program of the Year from Michigan Association of Broadcasters.

“They stay on the cutting edge,” said Julie Sochay, the association’s executive vice president.

“They have a strong program and radio station. They do very well in educating students.”

“Top station of the year in Michigan, that’s really big,” said Sam Riddle, Impact’s station manager. “It was a crowning achievement.”

On top of the consecutive MAB awards, from 2001-‘11, The Impact also received national nominations from MTV’s college channel, mtvU.

The studio, based in Holden Hall, employs about 150 student volunteers who supply greater Lansing with alternative, indie and rock music during daylight hours.

At night, programming highlights live concerts with interviews and talk shows. (The station is back to full strength after damage in December to its transmitting sharply reduced its range.)

The station launched the careers of many professional DJs. Alumni have also found work at record labels, such as Jenni Sperandeo, president in publishing of Dangerbird Records in Los Angeles.

On Monday, the station unveiled its new student-designed logo, the first time it had changed since the station launched.

“Everyone who works here is doing something they are very passionate about,” said Keenan Cronyn, Impact’s Director of Marketing and designer of the new logo. “Twenty-five years is big.”

A brief history of Impact 89FM:

>>>1989: Starts broadcasting in the attic of the MSU Auditorium
Moves into the newly renovated basement of Holden Hall
>>>1996: Begins streaming online
>>>2004: Becomes the first college radio station to broadcast with an HD digital signal
>>>2014: Debuts new logo