Friday, January 10, 2014


It's been a while since I've taken a chomp out of this old chestnut, so let's have another bite.  Shall we?

As noted several weeks ago week, I made my annual trip to Marywood's Christmas tree lighting in early December.  Part of my visit usually involves poking my head inside my very first radio station, WVMW.  It's at 91.7 now.  It was down the dial, at 91.5 during era.

My first time on the air was in December of 1979.  Freshmen weren't allowed on the air, but I weasled my way in to a shift because they needed extra bodies for a 48 hour rock marathon.  Back in the day, the station was on 1 PM to 1 AM.  On a few weekends, we went around the clock.

My first shift began at 2:30 AM on a Sunday morning.  Yes, 34 years later, I'm still doing weekend mornings.  I was terrified.  It's not as easy as it looks.  An upper classman guided me through.  Thank you, Mary Jo.

That brings us to modern times.  WVMW is a first class facility.  The radio station was on auto pilot when I visited.  The station was deserted, but on the air.  Music and announcer breaks are loaded on to a hard drive.  I understand this is the only way to do it because the department isn't large enough for live and local around the clock.


The station sounds great.  It's perfect and polished.  However, I've long contended that's 180 degrees from its intended purpose.  Go live.  Learn how to do it.  Make mistakes.  Practice.  Get better.  Develop a since of timing.  Understand what it means to think on your feet.   I can get a lot of people to program a computer.  I see very few interns and graduates these days who can handle a live microphone.

I was disappointed WVMW did its weeks of Christmas music last month.  It's supposed to be different, an alternative.  The Christmas stunt was just giving you the same tired material you can hear in dozens of other places.

I will fully admit I'm a dinosaur.  Internet and satellite music stations are gaining in popularity, and they are certainly not live and local.  It could be the skills I'd like to see young people acquire really aren't needed.

Again, it's sad.