WMCE-FM Erie Sold To LECOM; To Restore Staffed Oldies Format

88.5 WMCE-FM Erie Mercyhurst University Rick Rambaldo 100.9Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine has agreed to purchase Oldies 88.5 WMCE-FM Erie PA from Mercyhurst University and will begin operating the station via Public Service Operating Agreement on Thursday, March 1.

As part of the deal, the station will bring back on-air hosts Captain Dan Geary and Commander Bill Hale while adding Terri Bowen and retaining the few remaining professional jocks at the station. WMCE will also air health features and programs to promote its new owner.

Mercyhurst had announced plans in January 2017 to transfer the Oldies format and staff to Erie Radio Company who would have placed it on its to-be-built commercial 100.9 allocation in Westfield NY. However the application was dismissed after Erie Radio Company failed to make its down payment to the FCC in time. Mercyhurst would then have converted WMCE-FM to a student-run operation.

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) has entered into an agreement with Mercyhurst University to acquire its noncommercial radio station WMCE 88.5 FM, subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

LECOM and Mercyhurst University executed a Public Service Operating Agreement on Feb. 27, 2018, whereby LECOM will program the station beginning Thursday, March 1, until the sale has been completed, which is estimated to take approximately four months.

LECOM officials said it is their intention to preserve the Oldies format that highlights the classic hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s. In addition, many familiar radio personalities of the past will return to the airways, among them Captain Dan Geary, Commander Bill Hale, Johnny Holiday, also known as Bob Bach, and Terri Bowen of the Breakfast Club days. Further, LECOM will feature its multifaceted health and educational system by airing numerous aspects of LECOM Health.

The sale follows a yearlong analysis by Mercyhurst University of options for converting WMCE to a student-run radio station. During that time, the university determined that its students’ academic and career interests are geared more toward emerging digital technologies like podcasting.

At that point, Mercyhurst officials agreed to convey its radio station to LECOM, thereby allowing the university to direct funds toward academic programs more consistent with students’ interests. The acquisition also enabled Mercyhurst to honor its intention to keep the Oldies in Erie.

Mercyhurst thanks the Erie community for its patronage of WMCE these past 25 years and welcomes LECOM with every confidence that it will manage this community asset with pride and dedication.

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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.

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