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Tune In To Hear About WTMD's New Move

Picture a music-themed fantasy wedding, perhaps exchanging vows with another couple a la ABBA, wearing full-fledged makeup or channeling Tommy by the Who as a pinball wizard.
Rather than take a cruise or head to Las Vegas, you soon might not have to look further than the headquarters of a Baltimore radio station.
Those are just some of the plans WTMD General Manager Steve Yasko has in store for the alternative music station’s upcoming new location. By early winter, WTMD 89.7 will move from its current 1,822 square-foot headquarters on Towson University’s campus to an 8,000 square-foot space in the Towson City Center.
The station’s new home will be complete with four studios: an on-air studio, two production studios and a large-scale performance studio with a retractable wall that transforms into a 1,300 square-foot performance space. WTMD will also gain conference, classroom, and office space.
The station’s move is part of Towson University’s plan to relocate units that are run by non-university staff to Towson City Center. The university is one of the largest tenants of this space, renting four floors totaling 58,000 square-feet of the $27 million renovation of what was known as the Investment Building. The station, which has a $300,000 budget, couldn’t say what the move will cost since it’s bundled with other Towson initiatives.
The station counts about 125,000, a number that’s doubled just in the last 16 months.
Bmore Media talked to Yasko about the upcoming move, including what WTMD offers the community and where he sees the 10,000-watt station in the future.
BM: Tell us what you’re capable of in this new space.
Yasko: We will be able to host free concerts and fundraising events.  We can have movie nights featuring locally produced work. We’ve make sure the filmmaking community is aware of our plans.
We hope that folks will even rent the facility for their own private social events like weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. We envision being able to provide fantasy-wedding packages. But on the same side, that space will be used for music education classes for kids. We want to find [a teacher] who will come in and build a guitar out of a mop handle and a cigar box for young children to start appreciating music earlier.
The station will have a conference/classroom for Towson University students. We’ll have an expanded internship program; we’ll be able to take on a heck of a lot more folks than we can in our current space.
The nonprofit organizations we give on-air time to [Carver Center and Living Classrooms Foundation, among others] will have a meeting space for free. "It’s just going to be an exciting place that we hope to keep lit up with activity every day of the year." - Steve Yasko, WTMD
BM: How many new employees will you hire?
Yasko: We are currently searching for three new employees: A manager of individual giving, a music reporter and producer to create more content about what’s going on in the city, and an underwriting account executive to find more sponsorships for the station. After that, we’ll be looking for a couple more new folks to help us run the facility as well as create on the air.
BM: Will you continue First Thursday concerts in Mount Vernon?
Yasko: We have about 5,000 people show up between the beginning and end of each show. We’re starting to think that we’ve outgrown Mount Vernon because the crowd keeps getting bigger, but it’s really a beautiful park with the acoustics from the tallness of the buildings, and the trees are just lovely.We did a little survey, and about two-thirds of the folks that attend First Thursdays either go out to dinner or for drinks or make some purchase in Mount Vernon before or after the show.
BM: Where do you see WTMD in the future?
We’re moving that transmitter to the top of that building, which is higher than where the transmitter is on campus, and it’s going to make our sound better inside our current coverage areas and also expand our coverage area towards DC. It’ll come in upper Montgomery County better than it does now. In the future I’d like to see WTMD buy a radio station in Washington so that we can bring this great kind of music and radio programming to our nation’s capital. That would be a great thing to do because we talk to people down in Washington and they’re thoroughly dissatisfied. Everyone remembers WHFS back in the 70s and 80s.
I’d like to see us produce programming that’s carried by other stations around the country. I also think that Towson is an incredible university, and it would be great to make people in DC and Northern Virgina more aware of its importance in the state of Maryland, and more aware of WTMD’s importance in the music community.

Jolene Carr is Bmore Media's summer intern and a graduate student at Towson University. She is originally from Syracuse, N.Y.


Steve Yasko, WTMD general manager, near the radio station's future home in Towson. (Photo by Steve Ruark)

Artist's rendering of WTMD's future home. (Courtesy of WTMD)

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