WMCN digitization near complete

By Nathan Fredrickson

WMCN, Macalester’s college radio station, has big plans in store. Its extensive collection of CDs will soon be on their way out the vintage door, as the station is on the cusp of completing the digitization of its entire musical library. The project has been in the works for the past two years.”It’s been a long process,” WMCN General Manager Geoffrey Stueven ’09 said, “but it is going to be a big improvement.”

WMCN’s library of around 20,000 songs-almost 1,200 hours total-has been copied onto a hard drive with more than 1,000 gigabytes of storage capacity. The hard drive itself is relatively small in size, fitting easily inside a computer at WMCN’s management office, but Stueven says it will pack a big punch, and reliably so.
“This is a really stable computer,” Stueven said. “We won’t have to worry about crashes.”

Since the project started, digitizing the library has met some setbacks. Former WMCN staff member Nick Malecek ’07 started the work in 2005 and, although the digital system was slated to be fully functional late last year, funding complications slowed the implementation. The transfer to digital storage was further complicated when the station’s equipment shorted out after an apparent lightning strike last summer.

But now the troubles are over, and the new digitized system should be fully integrated in two months, WMCN staff members said.

“All of the DJs are trained, we have most of the equipment we need.it’s really just a matter of turning it on,” Stueven said.

Digitizing the music library is a big step for the radio station, one taken by many college radio stations in the last few years.

While the library’s remaining hard copies will no longer be used on air, WMCN plans to keep some anyway.

“We’ll probably sell most of our old CDs, but not the vinyl,” Stueven said. “We’re keeping those.