WMCR radio hopes to reach beyond campus

“That’s what we’re working toward and I’m sure it’s very close.” ~ Deborah Vance

By Bethany Grov?

WMCR, McDaniel College’s radio station, has struggled for airtime over the past year as well as many other obstacles. But over the summer, the station moved from the basement of Rouzer and into a basement room in Lewis Hall. That move, ample funding, and plans to re-connect the AM antenna have students and the station’s advisor, Dr. Deborah Vance, optimistic about the station’s future.

“I’m hoping within the next two weeks we should have everyone trained and anyone who wants to show up can still come by. We have a lot of new DJs, and we’re always interested in having new talent,” said senior Kevin English, who says he does “whatever is needed of me.”

The students and faculty involved with the station are currently getting set up through McDaniel’s intranet where students will soon be able to type a URL into iTunes to connect and hear live broadcasts. Many students will enjoy the convenience of listening to WMCR while at school, English said.

At the beginning of last year the radio club discovered that the AM antenna had not been functioning, but nobody knew how long it had been.

“Apparently the AM antenna became unattached in a storm. Nobody checked it, nobody knew, and I think we were just assuming everyone was hearing us,” Vance said.

Despite this setback, they were eager to start streaming live music through McDaniel’s intranet, which is available on campus.

“When people had radios they listened to us on their AM dial, but I guess people aren’t listening to radios anymore,” Vance said. “Everybody is on the Internet and podcasting.”

When Beth Gerl became the Dean and Vice President of Student Affairs, she requested that the students create a manual before they could set up on the intranet, which took them a few months to create, according to Vance.

Its purpose was to set basic radio etiquette guidelines for DJs, such as not using obscenities on the air, Vance added. DJ training and scheduling for live shows is currently under way.

Students and staff are working with Information Technology staff in an attempt to start creating podcasts, which will be more convenient than live streaming.

Ultimately, users will be able to subscribe to the station’s podcasts and listen as their schedules allow, English explained.

All these goals hinge upon funding, Vance and students associated with the station said. They also note that funding, which is primarily from the college’s media board, jumped from $4,360 to $4,860 between 2006 and 2007.

The Media Board, which is headed by Beth Gerl, consists of Mitchell Alexander, director of student activities, as well as student representatives and advisors to the five major media groups on campus. These are Contrast Literary Magazine, McDaniel Free Press, McDaniel “Terror-TV,” Pathways Yearbook, and WMCR.

“What we want is the capacity for people living off-campus, or alumni, or even people in Budapest to be able to hear it [the station]; that’s the goal,” Vance said. “That’s what we’re working toward and I’m sure it’s very close.”