WMUL to expand hours to go 24/7
HUNTINGTON -- WMUL, Marshall University's radio station, is gearing up for some big changes this semester. In addition to new seasons of such award-winning shows as "Gemini Jazz," "Herd Round-up" and "Snob Rock Live," the station is preparing to expand its hours to offer programming 24 hours a day. No official date has been set for the change, but the switch is expected to happen by March at the latest.
"We are phasing in some new software to help us pre-prepare some music programming for when students are not here," said Chuck Bailey, WMUL faculty manager and professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. "It's not conductive for students who are taking classes between to be in the studio between 2 and 6 in the morning. We want to maintain quality."
Currently, WMUL airs programming from 6 a.m. until 3 a.m. from Mondays through Thursday. From Fridays through Sundays, the station signs on at 6 a.m. and signs off at midnight.
"This semester, we will be going 24/7, so we will be living up to our billing of being on the cutting edge," said Adam Cavalier, station manager for WMUL. "This software will let us make things run smoother and let us make the transition from some of our most experienced deejays to someone who is on the air for the first time easier. The change is going to be more noticeable during the summer term and during the holiday breaks when we don't have our full staff on hand."
James Roach, WMUL music director at Marshall University, said the group is discussing doing some other programming under the "Snob Rock Live" brand. He hosts the popular program, which highlights local and underground artists. He started working with the station in spring 2007.
"When we started, 'Snob Rock Live' was a sort of loose association of people. I tried to give it a bit more focus and get it closer to national prominence," he said. "Last semester, we had an artist called Rachael Renfroe who really blew me away. In coming weeks, we're going to have a local band called Missing in Maryland on the show, and we are having an artist from Manhattan named Meagan Halle who will actually be making a trip down here to do the show."
Bobby Iddlings, WMUL sports director, said much of what the station does is hammered into Wednesday nights.
"Our sports programming block kicks off with Sports Buzz at 5 p.m. It's very similar to 'Around the Horn' or 'Pardon the Interruption' on ESPN," he said. "We get all of our sports staff around to debate the various sports topics of the day. At 6 p.m., we have a brand new show for the semester called 'Garbage Jargon Athletics.' It's two of our sports staff members who are bringing on off-the-wall sports heroes like middle school basketball stars. It also deals with more serious issues. From 7 p.m. to 8, we have a show called the 'MU Inside Sports Hour,' where we interview coaches. We have a segment on that show called 'On the Bench' with Royce Chadwick where we talk about women's basketball, there's also 'Hot Corner' with head baseball coach Jeff Waggoner, and 'Rounding the Bases' with head coach Shonda Stanton. Finally, we have a show on Friday called 'Herd Roundup' at 5 p.m., which is a 'Sportscenter'-style summary of the week in Marshall sports."
Cavalier said one of his favorite programs is "Gemini Jazz" with Willis "Gemini" Carter.
"Gemini has the perfect radio voice, which combines great with smooth jazz. I'm not even a fan of jazz music, and I listen to him every week when I'm in town. Our gospel music block, produced by Tom Hill on the weekends, is still going strong. I am blown away by the amount of feedback we get for our gospel and contemporary Christian programming."
Cavalier compares the radio station's environment to a laboratory.
"The beauty of the station is that we're not just a music station or a talk station or a sports station. People figure out what they want to do and go out and do it. If you volunteer your time and prove what you can do, we can help you make it happen."