WERG

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WERG
WERGfm.png
City of license Erie, Pennsylvania
Branding 90.5 WERG
Slogan "Erie's Rock Alternative"
Frequency 90.5 (MHz)
First air date 1972
Format Alternative
ERP 3,000 Watts
Class D
Callsign meaning Education Radio Gannon
Owner Gannon University
Website http://www.wergfm.com

On March 8,2014, WERG was presented the Abraham & Borst Award as "Best College Station in the Nation" at the 74th annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System conference in New York City.

90.5 WERG is an alternative music formatted college radio station in Erie, Pennsylvania. The station is owned by Gannon University. Its transmitter is located in Summit Township.

History[edit]

In December 1972, WERG signed on at 89.1 FM with an effective radiated power of 10 watts. Gannon University students operate WERG during the week; the station maintains broadcast operations over the weekends with the help of community volunteers who run alternative programming for the Erie community. One of these shows, Super Soul Saturday, has become an institution in Erie radio and an integral part of WERG’s weekend programming schedule.

Major technical upgrades came in 1980 when WTAE-FM radio in Pittsburgh, PA donated a 1949 Westinghouse FM-3 transmitter to Gannon. This enabled WERG to go to 3,000 watts, giving the radio station a strong signal throughout the City of Erie. The new Shively antenna was mounted on a tower atop Nash Library, and WERG moved up the dial to 89.9-FM.

Throughout the eighties, WERG operated with an Album Rock format under the name Rock 89. With a regular weekday format, plus Super Soul Saturday, various community programs on Sunday, and a weeknight news magazine show -Total News at 6—WERG became known as an educational station that not only trained you in the mechanics of broadcasting, but let you do so while enjoying the benefits of having an actual sizable listening audience. As the eighties drew to a close, WERG evolved from an Album Rock station and began playing New Wave and Alternative Rock. In 1989, WERG obtained the necessary equipment to begin broadcasting in stereo.

While WERG’s new Modern Rock format took shape, station management was looking for a new identity to go with the station’s new sound. Student manager Scott Powell was in Pittsburgh one weekend and listening to the “war” between the two Contemporary Hit stations in the city: B-94 and Energy 105. Something clicked. “Energy” was not only a good-sounding name, it fit the call letters of the station as well: WERG. ENERGY. On the morning of August 29, 1989, WERG began identifying itself as Energy-FM 90. Program Director Andy McNutt developed the station’s signature sound as a home for the best new rock on Erie’s radio dial, with a playlist featuring artists like U2, R.E.M., Depeche Mode, Concrete Blonde, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Michelle Shocked, Pere Ubu, Big Audio Dynamite, Sting, Social Distortion, the Hoodoo Gurus, and Sarah McLachlan. Songs by groups like EMF and The Divinyls–which Energy-FM premiered–went on to become #1 hits on the Pop Charts that summer.

WERG entered the digital realm as compact disc players were installed over the summer of 1990. Then, Nirvana arrived and revolutionized the music industry: moving the format that is now called “Modern Rock” into the musical mainstream. Energy-FM 90 was how the station was identified from 1989 to 2005, a run of sixteen years.

In 1999, the welcome news came that WERG would be getting all-new studios and much needed office space. WERG was finally able to move from the hidden recesses of the Zurn Science Center basement, into the Walker Building at 7th and Peach Streets. Construction on the new facilities began in the spring of 2000. Legendary station engineer and Gannon professor, Dr. John Duda, was instrumental in the design of the new facilities, but sadly was never able to see them finished. Dr. Duda passed away in 2000, leaving behind a legacy that is now commemorated each spring with the annual Duda Awards, presented to students on the WERG staff that have demonstrated excellence in various broadcasting techniques over the previous academic year.

WERG began broadcasting from the Walker Building studios in September 2000, and the station was now utilizing digital broadcasting technology: the DigiLink IV from Arrakis Systems. The DigiLink IV made it possible for WERG to begin continuous operation without having to sign-off after midnight. In 2002, Gannon University hired local broadcaster and Gannon alumnus Chet LaPrice to oversee WERG operations. Chet was the longtime music director and midday host on Country 98 WXTA.

Since the station's inception, WERG’s signal had emanated from an antenna in downtown Erie. The powerful 3000-watt signal could cause periodic interference on-campus and at adjacent facilities, necessitating WERG to suspend broadcast operations at various times throughout the day. This, coupled with the fact the downtown Erie antenna was below average terrain for Erie County, resulted in an inferior signal that faded rapidly as one moved away from the city. The Gannon administration began looking into the possibility of relocating the WERG antenna to high ground, south of the city.

On June 30, 2005 at 9:50 a.m., WERG moved from 89.9-FM to 90.5-FM and began transmitting from the new antenna in Summit Township. On-air, we began proudly identifying the station simply with our call letters and fresh new position on the dial: 90.5 WERG. The new-and-improved signal brought clear reception throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, western New York, and southern Ontario.

In 2014, WERG was the recipient of the Abraham & Borst Award for “Best College Station in the Nation.” Later that year, 90.5 WERG moved from its fourteen-year home in the Walker Building to the brand-new Center for Communication and the Arts, located at 700 Peach Street on the Gannon Campus. Offices and studio facilities are located in Room 201 on the second floor of the SCA building. The building was officially dedicated and blessed at 10am on September 5, 2014.

Programming[edit]

Weekday programming[edit]

  • Sonic Sunrise 5-9 a.m.
  • Rockin' Through the Work-Day 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • The Afternoon Wind-Down 4-6 p.m.
  • Rockin' Into the Night 6 p.m.-Midnight
  • 'ERG Overnite Midnight-5 a.m.

Weekly specialty programs[edit]

  • The Tuesday Top 30 Tuesdays 6-9pm
  • Fazed Cookies Wednesdays 9pm - Midnight.
  • The Prime Time Sports Guys Thursdays 6-9pm
  • The Electric Circuit Fridays 9pm-Midnight

Weekend programming[edit]

  • Super Soul Saturday from Saturday at 12 a.m. until Sunday at 9 a.m.
  • Festa Italiana Sundays 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Potencia Latina Sundays 12 - 3 p.m.
  • The Polka Party Sundays 3 - 4 p.m.
  • Chainsaw's Polka Madhouse Sundays 4 - 5 p.m.
  • Hot American Polkas Sundays 5 - 7 p.m.
  • Services from the First United Methodist Church of Erie Sundays 7 - 8 p.m.
  • Lincoln Radio Journal Sundays 8 - 8:30 p.m.
  • Planetary Radio Sundays 8:30 - 9 p.m.
  • Unpackin' It Sports Sundays 9 - 9:30 p.m.

Super Soul Saturday[edit]

For 33 hours every weekend, a variety of soul, R&B, gospel, blues, jazz, rap, club and hip-hop music is broadcast on WERG.

Super Soul Saturday announcers[edit]

  • Winston "Sony" Ellis (1975), worked at WUFO and WKBW in Buffalo, NY;
  • Steve Collins (1975), worked 1330 AM WRIE and K104 (WCCK) in Erie before leaving to work at KDIA and KBLX in San Francisco, California and Berkeley, California
  • Harry Hairston (1977), worked for WQLN-FM, WSEE 35 and WICU before joining Fox 2 in Detroit, Michigan
  • James "Jim Christopher" Eaton, worked at WQLN, 1450 WEYZ, WLVU Stereo 99, Q1400 WBLQ and WXKC Classy 100
  • Several staff members were employed with Q1400 WBLQ in the eighties, including Homer "Lee" Smith, Timmie Mack, Danny "Mr. J" Jones, The Captain, John "Chilly J" Norton, the late Bobby K., and Dorothy Smith
  • Mike Carbone (Mike West) joined Super Soul Saturday with broadcast experience at WBLK FM in Buffalo and CING-FM in Toronto, Canada, was awarded Top Mix DJ in the US in 1990 by the Westwood One Radio Network after winning their nationwide Club Mix Competition

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°02′35″N 80°03′58″W / 42.043°N 80.066°W / 42.043; -80.066