WMCN off the air

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Bookworms and study hounds alike may relish the soothing sound of dead air on Macalester’s own 91.7 FM for a while yet. WMCN, the campus radio station, has yet to begin its broadcast this semester. WMCN’s broken emergency broadcast system has halted the station completely.

“We will be one and a half weeks behind schedule but we felt it was necessary to do,” said Linnea Ericsson ’07, General Manager of WMCN.

Ericsson made the executive decision to delay WMCN’s broadcasting this semester. “I did not want to go on the air without being able to broadcast emergencies if we needed to,” she said.

WMCN plans to utilize new equipment, namely a device for D.J.s to hook-up their i-Pods and computers. But the station checkup is not addressing a problem that D.J.s and listeners alike consider the station’s primary drawback—quality of the broadcast.

“The station is only worthwhile with webcast. But webcast is not good enough. It doesn’t download fast enough,” said Adam Rule ’09, who hosted a hip-hop and Reggae show last semester.

The majority of WMCN listeners use webcast to tune in. But the station is generally underutilized, and listeners are scarce, according to Ben Johnson ’06, president of MCSG.

“The station is not popular,” Johnson said. “It would be nice if they were able to webcast more than they do now and at a higher quality.”

With a budget that has ranged between $3,000 and $10,000 per semester, WMCN will not address the quality of its broadcast, but rather Ericsson plans to survey the Macalester community about how the station can better represent and reflect Mac.

“I think it is most definitely a good use of the school’s money. It creates Mac spirit in a way few other things do,” Ericsson said.

WMCN plans to broadcast a dinner show in the campus center on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m., and will give out tickets to local concerts over the air in order to boost its profile. They are also encouraging more student organizations to broadcast shows to gain a wider variety apart from the music-lovers that make up the 130 or so D.J.s on the station. Applications for shows on WMCN are due Sunday, February 12.

WMCN plans to begin broadcasting on February 23.