The Mercyhurst Uuniversity radio station, WMCE, has garnered a global listenership over the past several years through the use of volunteer disc jockeys and an online streaming site.
The 750-watt, non-commerical radio station has been operating since 1989, and has gone through various changes in the selection of music it plays.
The majority of WMCE’s traffic comes from online. The website listed “4,000,000 hits” in 2014, and in the month of January, it listed “552,000 hits,” “Captain” Dan Geary, the director of the station, said.
“You want to talk about convergence media, it’s right here,” Geary said.
The radio station, in order to reach “more listeners and help generate more revenue” for the university has taken to simulcasting the AM station, 1530 AM, which is broadcast from the North East campus.
The online presence also allows for a global listenership. At the time of the interview on Feb. 11, listeners were tuning into the online station from Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Australia.
The student involvement at the station is minimal and is an ongoing issue. While there have been efforts to reach out and encourage students to work there, they have been unsuccessful.
“The administration hammers me about student involvement. I have an internet station, built, ready to go, that no one’s ever pursued,” Geary said. “The door’s always open.”
In addition to disc jockeys, the station can use students in other ways.
“Not everybody in radio is on the air,” said Geary. “We have needs for a lot of other things in radio. Send a kid over here that’s proficient in Adobe Audition, I’ll put him to work today.”
In order to supplement the lack of student participation, WMCE uses a staff of six volunteer disc jockeys (DJs), who will tape their shows to be broadcast at a later date.
“We run this place like a commercial radio station, on a shoestring,” Geary said.
Brady Greenawalt, a Mercyhurst graduate and former employee at the station, said his time at the station as a student allowed him to hone the skills he acquired during an internship as a board operator at a radio station in Meadville.
Greenawalt started work at the station as a sophomore work study, working 20 hours a week, the maximum amount of hours allowed by the university. Thanks to his internship in Meadville, he “already knew a lot, but got better due to practice,” Greenawalt said.
His duties at the station consisted of operating the board, producing live radio shows, writing ad copy, and writing promotions for companies sponsoring the station, where he was giving some leeway and allowed be creative.
His experience at the radio station continued after his graduation. He continued to work for the station for a year before heading to Vancouver Film School in Canada.
And though he is studying screenwriting at the moment, he plans to look for jobs in radio upon his graduation. He “feels confident about applying to positions in radio because of [his] experience with the station.”