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WEMC, EMU’s radio station broadcasting locally at 91.7 FM, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Activities will include participation in and broadcasting of the Friday evening live performance during Homecoming as well as several open house times and other special broadcasts.
A gift from the graduating class of 1954 made it possible to purchase the equipment that put the station on the air in the fall of 1955. From its initial 100 watts extending mostly to the neighboring Park View area, the WEMC signal now carries over 35 miles.
The station’s programming has also evolved over the years. WEMC now broadcasts a mix of news and music, seeking to provide information and cultural programming that is not found elsewhere in the central Shenandoah Valley. Part of the station’s mission is to celebrate local culture and bring the wider world to the valley in order to foster more cross-cultural understanding and tolerance.
News from the BBC World Service (British Broadcasting Corporation) is heard throughout the day along with additional programs from National Public Radio and other sources. Several programs address current issues from a faith perspective. The station features classical music during the daytime, world music and jazz in the evening, and folk and bluegrass music on Saturdays.
About 30 students work at WEMC for work-study employment or course credit; another half dozen community volunteers host programs on the station. Jon Kauffmann-Kennel, current WEMC general manager, is working toward 24-hour broadcasting and streaming the station over the internet. The station’s website, including the program schedule, is at www.emu.edu/wemc.