WMCN: iPod-friendly and graffiti-free

By Soham Banerji

Revamp, refurbishment and upgrade. This is what has taken place down in the basement of 30 Mac — Macalester’s broadcasting studio for its very own radio station WMCN 91.7.

“We’ve spent a lot of time this summer doing the entire place up,” said Nick Malecek ’07, WMCN’s General Manager.

“We’ve had it all painted and cleaned – in fact my sister helped us too,” said Annie Berge ‘07, the station’s Operating Manager. “We’ve got the graffiti down and we’ve had new equipment installed.”
“In the past we had scratches and writing on expensive equipment, and now we’ve replaced the damaged ones,” said Emily Ayoob ’07, WMCN’s Program Manager.

“Our goal was to make WMCN a real professional space,” Malecek said. “We’ve had a lot of upgrades — we’ve installed new turn tables and CD players. This has led to a lot less complaints from the DJs. Now they are able to plug in their iPods and laptops directly into the system which has made it a lot more user-friendly.”

Madhav Verma ’09 and Siddharth Vyas ’09, who host “The House of Trance and Euphoria” on Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m., agreed.

“The equipment is easy to use,” Verma said. “Not cumbersome at all. The sound is amazing. It has a strong bass. We haven’t had any problems whatsoever.”
“In the past we’ve had problems of theft, where new music CDs would just vanish,” Program Manager Ayoob said. “But now to solve that problem we’re working on a digital library which should be up and running soon.”

“It works out cheaper for us that way,” Malecek added.

The WMCN staff members said that listeners should expect a better webcasting program this year.

“We’ve switched to a new provider now and it’s much better than before,” Ayoob said. “You can log onto it on our web site. We can now keep track of how many listeners are tuning in online – and it’s been going up ever since the semester began.”

WMCN also has plans to raise its profile on campus in an effort to attract more listeners.

“We plan on advertising by hosting more events and concerts,” Malecek said. “We’re planning on doing community benefits too.”

The radio station is hosting an event on Nov. 3 to benefit the homeless.

Despite improvements, WMCN still has its share of challenges.

“Well, I think the problem that we have is the lack of continuity. We’re all seniors and therefore it is difficult to train people to carry it on,” Ayoob said. “We can’t impose any responsibilities on anyone. It has to be the students themselves willing to contribute.”

“We are definitely moving in the right direction though,” Berge said.

In a market of many different radio stations, why should people listen to WMCN?
“Well, because WMCN is one of the last free-form radio stations in the country which is in a metropolitan area,” Malecek said.