Graduating WMCN managers reflect on their legacy


Garth the dog, the WMCN mascot. Graphic courtesy of Lily Hannaher ‘19.

Izzy Gravano

Since their first year at Macalester, Dan Szetela ’19, Lily Hannaher ’19 and Matthew Howland ’19 have been involved with WMCN. Through different series of shows and staff positions at WMCN, Szetela and Howland took management roles in the fall with Hannaher joining in the spring.

As managers, Szetela, Hannaher and Howland have pushed for development of the film and videography abilities of WMCN, an increase in live music and heightened publicity for the station in the community. Each manager has areas of emphasis and things they’ve been passionate about bringing to the station. Szetela focuses on community engagement with the local music scene and live performance in the WMCN space. Hannaher has brought her film and videography experience to the station, working to produce content for WMCN’s website and coordinate film screenings. Additionally, she and Howland run communications and internal management.

The three have felt passionate about making WMCN more “outward” than “inward”-facing, Hannaher said.

“The students who participate are really invested, but we want the entire Macalester community to become more involved and appreciative,” Hannaher explained.

It’s a tight-knit community between radio hosts, managers and more than 20 staff members, but, in order to spread awareness to the rest of the college and neighborhood, the 2018-2019 managers looked to engage people through live music and alternative activities in spaces besides the WMCN studio. They’ve found that the library basement works as a live music venue and hope that the relationship between WMCN and the library will continue to develop.

They have a range of reasons for their loyalty to the station, but the closeness of the community and the non-academic learning opportunities have been very impactful for them. Howland added that, “everything we do and continue to do is such a work in progress, which is one of the exciting things about it. The fact that not everything is there yet has been motivation to keep me invested.”

Szetela, Howland and Hannaher all agree that they hope for WMCN to continue to push for its independence. “We’ve had an increasing effort to act independent from the school administration, and, while we rely on them in many ways, to be able to function as a group of students is essential for the station to be able to survive in the future,” Szetela said.

“To make sure WMCN can be completely student-run is one of the key concerns and points we’ve worked towards and hope to see after we leave,” Szetela said. Ethan Torrey ‘96, a Macalester alum and sound engineer, works at WMCN as a chief operator. Through mostly volunteer work, he plays a huge role in making sure WMCN gets broadcasted. Besides Torrey and Director of Student Leadership & Engagement Laurie Adamson, WMCN is working as a completely student-run organization.

When asked about their wishes for the station after graduation, Szetela commented on the development of sound and recording, “I hope the sound and the engineering capabilities continues to develop after we’re gone,” he said. “We’ve been building it from the ground up. The goal would be to turn one aspect of WMCN into a recording studio where we can produce professional quality productions.”

Hannaher, too, is focused on the maintaining the work that she has done.

“My biggest concern is turnover of staff. My focus has been finding someone on staff to take up the videography work that I’ve started. Most of the resources I’ve used have been my own or on other parts of campus, but I’d like for there to be a base under the power of WMCN,” Hannaher said. However, she has also been energized by enthusiasm from underclassmen. “It was really cool when we have younger students who want to put in the time and effort to bring things like the 24-hour broadcast back. It was really fun, and I hope that they continue to reach into the archives for inspiration.”

To conclude, Szetela, Hannaher and Howland emphasized the inspiring work they’ve found in the WMCN studio. “It’s my favorite space on campus and I think there is a lot of cool stuff that goes on in it, and I just hope that people continue to appreciate it. I hope that the work that we’ve done has made it possible,” Szetela said.

Their passion and commitment to WMCN has not gone unnoticed. Vivian Bauer ’21 will be taking over as a manager next semester and is inspired to continue what the 2018-2019 managers started.

“The live show in the library basement, film screenings and live sessions every Saturday are what makes WMCN special. I hope to continue all the programming that they started,” Bauer said.

Dada Wang ’20 and Sophie Gleason ’20 will also be joining Bauer as managers in the fall, stepping into big shoes. But Szetela, Hannaher and Howland ensured that they are well equipped to lead WMCN and look forward to seeing how they will manage the station.