WMCN prepares for changes, new slate of programming

By Patricia Wright

In preparation for their start date on Sept. 15, WMCN has had a To Do list written in red on a whiteboard that included items such as organizing and alphabetizing records and CDs and cleaning out the studio. The start date is relatively normal for the station and allows students time to submit their DJ applications and settle into their class schedules and Macalester life. WMCN will feature shows ranging from “Brasilian music to sports talk to electronica,” program manager Aaron Mendelson ’09 said. The schedule of shows is placed on a large cork board surrounded by band posters in WMCN’s headquarters in the basement of 30 Mac.

DJs are encouraged to play anything they choose during their two-hour shows as part of the station’s free-form stance.

“We have an awesome show lineup,” WMCN general manager Zach Dotray ’10 said.

WMCN’s website echoes the free-form style: “We believe that the radio convention of restricting musical content to a predetermined playlist is a disservice to the public.”

Before they host their first show, DJs must complete training sessions in which they view the station’s music collection and learn about using the equipment. They are strictly cautioned about using profanity on the air. A handwritten sign in the studio lists the words the Federal Communications Commission forbids DJs from saying on the air.

WMCN managers say their time in the cramped basement offices is coming to an end. “WMCN will eventually move to the new arts building,” Mendelson said.

The station is also converting their listening room into a new recording studio that will allow for local bands to perform and give interviews and also to record songs that can be made available for downloading as mp3s. Mendelson said the studio will cost “very little,” but does not have a set date for the project’s completion.

“Our goal is to become a good space for recording,” Dotray said. “Hopefully we’ll continue to evolve as a station once we have a studio space.”

“It’s always hard to fill the 8:00 a.m. slots,” Dotray said. “But we did it. We have 56 shows and 45 DJs.”

One new DJ this year, Kerry Alexander ’12, said that the start date has both good and bad elements. “Maybe people wanted to listen to the radio station before the fifteenth, but it’s probably not a good idea to throw DJs in there before they’re ready. So it’s a good balance.