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Oldies Go Non-Comm In Erie

Jazz JazzFM 88.5 WMCE 1530 WYNE Erie Oldies MercyhurstOldies has returned to FM dial in Erie in an unexpected place.

Mercyhurst University’s 1530 WYNE North East, PA has begun simulcasting on 88.5 WMCE-FM Erie displacing the Jazz format that had been in place since 2009. The AM will assume the WMCE calls as well.

The move brings Oldies back to FM in Erie for the first time since “Froggy 94.7” WFGO flipped to Variety Hits “94.7 Bob-FM” WXBB in 2007. The displaced Jazz programming will continue to be made available online. The weekend morning Spanish and Polka programming are unaffected by the format change.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

4 Comments

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    After reading about the change from jazz to oldies in Erie Pennsylvania, I logged on to the website to hear how the station (WMCE) sounded.

    This might be the beginning of a trend in noncommercial radio. There is an AM station in Michigan (wgvu) that plays this music 24 hours a day and like WMCE, has a very professional sound.

    If you look at the DJ bios on http://www.realoldies1480.org WGVU’s website, you will find that many of them worked at stations like WLS and other well known ones over the years.

    WGVU claims to be the only NPR station that features oldies. I wonder if WMCE which is also licensed to a college, is part of NPR or does the university fund them without any financial help from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    I hope the listeners of both stations will help them during their fund-raising periods and if any live events are being held in the areas they serve that the audience will come out in droves to support the acts and of course WGVU and WMCE.


  2. As an employee of WMCE 88.5 FM / 1530 AM at Mercyhurst University, I can say a few things about radioduck’s comments. First WMCE is not an NPR member station in Erie, WQLN 91.3 is the NPR station in town. WMCE also does not receive any funding from the CPB but did receive some funds from listeners during our jazz format and receives some support from the University. Underwriting will be key to the station’s success since 88.5 is a non commercial station. Those decisions will be handled by station director Dan Geary. It’s also great to hear some voices from the past on the station and it’s also good that such a format has returned in the land of 3 CHR stations.

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    Tom, thank you for posting the information about WMCE. It’s good to hear from an employee of the station.

    I have a few questions which I hope you will comment on.
    1. How long ago was the decision made to change to oldies?
    2. Was the change made based on a lack of support from the listeners for the programming?
    3. Approximately how many songs are you playing in rotation?
    4. Do you see this as the beginning of a possible trend where other noncommercial stations will offer this music as commercial radio has dropped it for the most part?


  4. Well basically Jazz was a niche format that had huge numbers in the beginning, but dropped once the novelty wore off. Dan Geary has had quite a few listeners on what was WYNE 1530’s website from many areas. The decision was about a year in the making once Dan began the process of moving the WYNE studios from North East, Pa. to the main campus in Erie with WMCE. It took several meetings with the university administration to convince them that changing the format was the right decision. I’m not sure of the number of songs in rotation but it well surpasses many commercial oldies stations, with the safe hits. Not sure if this is a trend yet since most public stations are dropping music altogether for talk programs. We had thought that one or two commercial stations in Erie would pick up the format on FM, but both went CHR Top 40 to take on market leader WRTS Star 104. With us, it’s more about the music and making listeners happy than the way corporate station owners handle things.

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