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Mercyhurst radio issues ‘State of the Station’

Monday, March 30, 2015

Captain Dan

A little over two years after changing formats, Mercyhurst University’s radio station WMCE has proved that the oldies are still golden.

WMCE, which broadcasts on 88.5 FM in Erie and AM 1530 in North East, recently released its “State of the Station” report announcing, among other things, consistent first- and second-place rankings in reaching an audience 45-plus.

“When we made the format change two years ago, it proved to be a beneficial thing for the market and the university,” said “Captain” Dan Geary, general manager and director of WMCE. “The response by the community to the change was huge. We basically own the 45-plus demo.”

Previously a jazz station, WMCE now spins songs from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s under the tagline “Playing the greatest hits of all time,” as well as polka and Latino music offerings on weekends.

“It was a format that had been missing from the radio dial for seven, eight years. It’s been received exceptionally well,” Geary said.

As the trend toward online listening grows, so does WMCE’s Internet presence. The station recorded more than 4 million hits to its website player in 2014, and is on course to surpass that total for 2015, with 1.8 million hits on the site in the first three months of the year.

Geary attributes the increase in listenership to the dedication of the station’s staff and DJs, many of them longtime radio personalities, as well as a strong presence on social media.

“It’s basically a couple of people, pouring everything into it,” he said. “A lot of our growth also comes from word of mouth. We’re out there hammering the message.”

Geary said he’s pleased with the financial support listeners have pledged. As a non-commercial station, WMCE relies on listener contributions as one of its main sources of support. Giving information is available online at wmce.fm.

The radio station remains a unique resource for students interested in communications, journalism and marketing. A student-only Internet radio station recently went live, featuring student-run shows on ’80s music, movie reviews and other topics. And there are opportunities to help out with WMCE in marketing, sales, writing public service announcements, handling news broadcasts and other assignments.

“There’s more to radio stations than being a DJ,” Geary said.

Other highlights of WMCE’s “State of the Station” report include:

  • Successful renewal of FCC licenses for the FM and AM stations, through 2022

  • In-house WMCE website redesign and mobile app in development

  • Increases in revenue

  • Recruitment of retired radio talent to the air, including Bob Bach (aka Johnny Holiday) with 50 years of radio announcing and sales management experience

  • Weekday newscasts and weather forecasts from WJET/FOX 66, provided at no cost to WMCE.