When you tune into WMCE 88.5 FM Tuesday at noon, you might be surprised by what you hear.
The Laker Radio Network — previously consisting of two radio stations: JAZZ FM in Erie and WYNE AM in North East — will combine its radio stations into one new station: WMCE AM 1530 & FM 88.5.
“The purpose of combining Mercyhurst’s radio stations is to better articulate that this is a college station,” said Monsignor David Rubino, Ph.D., dean of the Walker School of Business, Hospitality and Communication. “This change will allow WMCE to provide a more diverse, eclectic offering with more student involvement.”
It is the hope that the new “non-format” format will appeal to a broader fan base, including more Mercyhurst students. Laker Radio general manager and disc jockey “Captain Dan” Geary said because jazz music is a niche format, few listeners were tuning in to the Erie station on a regular basis.
“The demand for oldies/greatest hits for the Erie market is huge,” said Geary. “This format was abruptly ended on the FM dial six years ago when Froggy 94 changed to BOB FM.”
While listeners can now access hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s via the same frequencies (88.5 FM in Erie and 1530 AM in North East), that’s not the only type of music that will be airing. Mercyhurst students will be airing their own programming, which could include a variety of genres.
“Like a lot of things at Mercyhurst University, we wanted to incorporate more hands-on experience,” said Rubino, who encouraged students from both the Erie and North East campuses to participate.
While interested students are required to submit a program proposal detailing the style and content of a proposed segment or show, they will need to receive final approval and special training before they try their hand as DJs. In addition, students must own the rights to any music they wish to play over the air to ensure that FCC regulations are met.
“It is, in its inception, designed to be flexible and to welcome student involvement, as well as get a lot more of the community to listen in,” said Rubino. “We want to emphasize again that this is a college radio station.”
In a poll conducted by the Merciad, Mercyhurst’s student-run weekly newspaper, 44 percent of students said they would like to hear contemporary music streaming from WMCE, while 21 percent want alternative rock, 16 percent say keep jazz, 14 percent want other genres of music and four percent hope for rap or hip hop.
Despite changes with the name and format, WMCE AM & FM will still feature Laker sports coverage and the highly-rated segments, The Hispanic Show and Polka Party. For fans of the station's former jazz format, they can stream this genre online at jazz.mercyhurst.edu
Mercyhurst students, faculty or staff interested in getting involved may contact the station at 824-2294, or visit pac.mercyhurst.edu/radio
to download a copy of the program proposal.