WMUH stakes its claim outside the mainstream

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Michaela Colahan ‘21 presides over the soundboard during her radio show. Ian Adler/The Muhlenberg Weekly

WMUH, Muhlenberg’s radio station located inside Walson Hall, began as a simple radio club in 1948. Now, almost 70 years later, the team of board members and DJs have a mission: to reclaim the sense of community that radio is supposed to bring within the campus.

Holly Lehren ’19 is on air every Friday from 12-2p.m., and proudly broadcasts a show that consists of not just music, but also discussion about important social issues. She described her experience with the radio as “a great use of selfexpression. It is a beautiful thing, connecting through a crowd. It is also a lot of fun, and I am lucky to be a part of it.”

While Lehren does actually lend her voice to the radio, many of the other DJs choose just to play music. Station Manager Samara Jones ’18 described the music that is most likely to be heard through the radio waves, “We are mainly an alternative station, so you get diversity. Some of these diverse genres may include rock, jazz, and indie.” Secretary Rebecca Cooperstein ‘20 also added, “and show tunes too.”

With such a unique compilation of music, there is actually only a very small demographic of students that tune in regularly. In a survey done with a sample of students ranging across all class years, only a little over 20 percent of responders have actually listened to the on-campus radio.

Ali Ruchman ’19 was one of those loyal WMUH fans, and she shared some great ideas for getting more students to listen. “I think it’d be cool if it was used more around campus like in the gym or the dining hall,” Ruchman said.

Having more exposure across the school would certainly help, especially considering that about 80 percent of survey-takers have never listened to it. Of that group, around 10 percent were unaware of its existence. As Brittany Barlin ’21 explained, “I did not know it existed, and now that I do, I don’t know how to access it.”

Jessica Land ’18, on the other hand, already knew about the station. However, she definitely does feel that more can be done to make other students know about it: “I think that it is great that Muhlenberg has a radio station, because it is giving interested students a great opportunity to learn and work in an area that interests them. If advertised more, it could be a way for students that listen to form a stronger connection to our school.”

With such a unique compilation of music, there is actually only a very small demographic of students that tune in regularly.

In terms of how the radio team is working to increase their presence around campus, they plan to host more sponsored events, such as a concert every semester. In addition, they can be found at the Fall and Spring activities fairs.

Although many Muhlenberg students may not be listening to the radio, members of the greater Allentown community do. Lehren actually credits an Allentown citizen for having a huge impact on her show: “I held a poll to name my show, and it was actually someone from the [Allentown] community who called in who gave me the idea for it.”

Aside from that instance, Lehren, as well as the other DJs and board members, claim that they frequently get calls from people outside of campus that really appreciate the work being done through the station. Jones said that some people who call in are actually truckers, one of which expressed, “I get excited whenever WMUH 91.7FM comes into range, and I always listen.”

Overall, while listenership does come from mainly outside community members, the station really does want to attract more Muhlenberg students too. When students listen to the radio, they are obviously supporting their peers. However, it is also just a great way to discover different music that cannot be found in students’ regular playlists. Just as Program Director Benjamin Goldberg ’20 says, “…it is music outside the mainstream.”

Be sure to check out WMUH by streaming it online at www.muhlenberg.edu/wmuh/ or by tuning in to 91.7FM on the radio.

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