Jazz FM provides entertainment, opportunity for Mercyhurst students

Mercyhurst College offers plenty of options for students to have their voices heard by the college and the Erie community.

Through shows produced in the television studio to stories in The Merciad, students can add their contributions and learn new skills that will help prepare them for life after college.

At WMCE, Mercyhurst’s jazz station, students are finding more opportunities for their voices to be heard while honing important skills.

Ethan Magoc Photo: Freshman Ashley Ayers works at Mercyhurst's Jazz FM.Ethan Magoc Photo: Freshman Ashley Ayers works at Mercyhurst’s Jazz FM.“The students help with everything from public service announcements to CD categorizing,” said Mike Leal, Jazz FM director of broadcasting. Students are also given the opportunity to work on “Top Jazz” and “Jazz at the Hurst,” the station’s two shows, that air each week.

“Jazz at the Hurst” plays each Wednesday at 3 p.m., and currently has three students who take turns creating the show each week. “We try to rotate hosts because students don’t normally have the time to do it every week,” Leal said.

Senior Lisa MacDonald and freshman Ashley Ayers are two of the hosts. Their work with WMCE has taught them skills that will help both in the future.

MacDonald is a biology major who has been working at the radio station since her freshman year. “I started doing the show last winter,” MacDonald said.

Since then, MacDonald has done about 20 shows of “Jazz at the Hurst.” Though MacDonald does not intend to pursue a career in radio, she recognizes the advantages it has given her.

“I’ve become comfortable with the sound of my voice, and I communicate better,” MacDonald said.

Ethan Magoc Photo: Senior Lisa McDonald works as a host at Jazz FM.Ethan Magoc Photo: Senior Lisa McDonald works as a host at Jazz FM.

Ayers, a communication major, also sees the benefits of working at the radio station.

“I love working here. Mike’s such a nice guy, and it’s nice to get familiar with the equipment,” Ayers said.

She, too, feels more comfortable and confident with her voice.

The radio station can be heard throughout the Erie area, but Ayers thinks more Mercyhurst students should tune into the station.

“I wish that more students would listen, because a lot of people put hard work into this,” Ayers said.

Leal plans to get a fourth host for “Jazz at the Hurst” next year, and “the door is always open for students who would like to be here as a work study or volunteer to help continue with the jazz format,” Leal said. “We would really be struggling without the help of our work-study students.”

Any students interested in working at the radio station can contact Leal. For everyone else, don’t forget to tune into 88.5 Jazz F.M., especially Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.