Radio stations aren’t just for music. Most radio stations cover topics across the board: music, entertainment, news, and even sports. Not every radio station covers them the same way, but all of them have the same areas covered. Gannon University’s 90.5 WERG is one of those stations.
WERG, which stands for “Erie Radio Gannon,” is the campus radio station. Aside from the station manager, Chet Laprice, and our business manager, Deb Carlson, the station is mostly student operated. From programming the music to writing and producing commercials, and even hosting the radio shifts themselves, the students are heavily involved. Chet Laprice sums it up well:
“All of the day-to-day duties that make-up a successful broadcast organization are delegated downward to students as much as possible, depending on student availability and interest during any given year,” Laprice mentioned. “As such, the workload—and what goals we are able to reasonably set and attain—varies.”
One aspect of radio that WERG handles differently than some local stations is their sports department. Alongside Chet, Sports Director Jesstin Hamm and I handle most of the sports-related events and news at the station. We host the weekly “Prime Time Sports Guys Show,” record sports updates, and even broadcast Lady Knights basketball games from the Hammermill Center.
Along with Steve Bohen, WERG’s play-by-play announcer, Jesstin and I work together to put the game on the air. Normally, Jesstin does the color commentary with Steve, and I engineer the game from the radio station. Simply put, this entails turning down the mics during commercial breaks and playing the commercials. Once learned, it’s a fairly easy process, but it takes time to really get it down. Even I will slip up and forget something every once in a while. But for people like Chet who have been working around this equipment for many years, it’s a little easier.
The actual process for planning a basketball broadcast starts at the beginning of the game week. WERG has a weekly report of what commercials we have playing that week, and if any need special focus. Using that, I will assemble a log of commercials to run throughout the broadcast.
Another aspect of the game is the “Prime Time Sports Guys Halftime Show.” During halftime, Steve and Jesstin discuss statistics from the game’s first half, and then there is a two-minute break. After that break, I take over and give an update of the world of sports often covering the NBA, NHL, NFL, as well as other PSAC basketball games from the night. We wrap up the report with a weather forecast, take another two-minute break, and then Jesstin and Steve take back over for the second half.
Postgame is the final part of our broadcast. Steve and Jesstin highlight statistics from the game and there is a single two-minute break. During that break, it is often determined by the Athletic Staff which player will conduct a short interview with our broadcasters about the game. After that is over, the broadcast is wrapped up, and the station is prepared for the Golden Knights game that usually follows.
Beginning to end, the broadcast usually takes right around two hours. After the Lady Knights game, we flip the webstream over to WJET 1400 AM for the broadcast of the Golden Knights game, and on-air programming continues as normal.
I very much enjoy working these events, as do Jesstin and Chet. We had some big shoes to fill following Zach Borland last year, but it has been going well so far. For more information on what games we are broadcasting, and when the games actually are, you can visit the station website at www.wergfm.com.