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New media center honors industry pioneer Myron Jones

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Broadcast industry pioneer and Mercyhurst University Trustee Emeritus Myron Jones will be honored on Saturday, Oct. 4, when the university dedicates the new Myron Jones Center for Media Convergence at 10 a.m. in the Audrey Hirt Academic Center.

The facility is five years in the making and includes a multimedia center that combines The Merciad student newspaper and Laker TV into one space, a conference room, a new lounge in the lower-level lobby and a renovated graphic design studio.

Using the most up-to-date equipment in the field, the area has been designed to facilitate collaborative work among New Media (Broadcast Journalism), Strategic Communication (Public Relations) and Visual Communication (Graphic Design), all concentrations of the Communication major; as well as majors in Integrated Marketing Communication and Graphic Design.

“This will build an environment where print meets video meets web—a key characteristic of media conglomerates of today,” said Communication Department Chair Meghan Waskiewicz. 

Also part of this vision and representative of the enhanced hands-on learning opportunities that Mercyhurst is known for, students will work with Laker TV, Mercyhurst Radio WMCE, The Merciad, offices of Marketing and Public Relations, the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics, Mercyhurst Sports Information and the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture to fine-tune their skills.

The Center for Media Convergence, Waskiewicz believes, is the epitome of what a trendsetter like Myron Jones would appreciate.

“As an industry pioneer, few could rival Myron’s uncanny wisdom and impeccable character,” said Mercyhurst President Tom Gamble, Ph.D. “We have been blessed to have him lend those qualities to the governance of Mercyhurst University for so many years and indeed it is our privilege to name this exceptional new communication space in his honor.”

Jones' fascination with radio began as a child repairing household radios and escalated quickly into a more formal setting at the age of 16 when he earned his amateur radio license. His formal broadcasting career began as an engineer with radio station WERC in Erie more than 70 years ago. He went on to WFMJ in Youngstown, his hometown, but would come back a few years later to launch WJET Radio 1400 in Erie and then another daytime station, WHOT, in Youngstown.

In short order, Jones had established himself as an engineering expert in the broadcasting world. But his work was not done.  In 1959, he bought WEEP in Pittsburgh, quickly improving the facility to become Pittsburgh's second 50kw AM station. In his spare time, he built FM stations to accompany WEEP in Pittsburgh and WHOT in Youngstown.  Using this experience, in 1987, he masterminded the conversion of WJET-AM into WJET-FM. 

But radio wasn’t his only expertise. In 1966, he launched Erie's first color television station, WJET-TV. JET was the first station in Erie to use videotape to gather news.

As an industry trendsetter, Jones has won numerous awards for his broadcast expertise and community service.  All of his stations also achieved top honors in their respective markets.

Jones served on the Mercyhurst Board of Trustees from December 1987 to June 2011 and was named Trustee Emeritus later that same year.