Emmanuel College Radio Finding Its Voice
April 17, 2012
In the corner of the basement of St. Joseph Hall, an eclectic, dark-lit room exists, pumping out 24 hours of entertainment from the Emmanuel College campus to a global audience. There, Simon Pilecki '14 sits down to his mic, speakers turned up, ready to kick off one full hour of unique programming.
"Are you ready for an experience?" he says.
Pilecki is one of 76 disc jockeys for the Emmanuel College radio station, airing his show "Simon Radio" on Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. for an organization that produces over 58 hours per week of both student and faculty broadcasting in addition to its constant music stream. The club now boasts an international audience, with listeners on the west coast, and as far away as South America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia, listening to live bands, diverse music, and talk shows focusing on several different topics.
Special Instructor of Mathematics Maia Kelley, known on air as "MC Square," broadcasts for an hour on Monday afternoons with her show "Nerd Up!," where she creates a playlist of songs from the "nerd core genre of hip hop" as well as other popular music for the midday. Hesitant at first about adding a show to her already busy schedule, Kelley realized the desire was tugging at her.
"I found myself thinking about show and song ideas at odd moments during the day...I've really enjoyed the process of creating playlists that I think people will enjoy," she said.
Kelley joins a long list of creative shows, including "Heart Songs" with Sarah Ribeiro '14, "Doin' the Decades" with Kerry Clayton '13 and Anthony Ferranti '14, a jazz show with Associate Professor of History Javier Marion, and a discussion on issues around Emmanuel with Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages Jose Alvarez-Hernandez.
Founded in 2005, EC Radio recently began broadcasting with Backbone, a new company allowing the organization to stream over iTunes, in addition to online at ECradio.org. The iTunes stream enables Emmanuel to reach a geographically diverse audience, and now with new professional-grade equipment, the station continues to flourish, and rival larger, longer-standing radio stations.
These new broadcasting capabilities and state-of-the-art equipment launched EC Radio into third place last summer on Boston.com's A-List for "best college radio station," beating out colleges and universities much larger, with permanent terrestrial stations on air. A success, according to advisor and Assistant Professor of English Lizze Falvey, attributed to current president Joe Horgan '13 and vice president Dan McDonnell '13, who worked diligently to revive the organization after it took on significant debt in past years.
Both Horgan and McDonnell, according to Dr. Falvey, reached out to neighboring colleges and broadcasting companies to really make the station a success, and worked hard to publicize EC Radio and the great events it puts on for the Emmanuel campus, as well as the work that it does to promote local bands.
Today the club hosts several events on campus outside of its programming, like open mic nights, holiday shows, and the popular new EMMAcafe, where students can come hang out, listen to music, and drink smoothies and coffee made by members of the organization. They also reach out to campus musicians as well as local New England bands to get their music out there on air, like Transit, a popular up-and-coming indie punk band from Boston that had one of its first shows on EC Radio. But the bigger picture is about more than just the music.
Dr. Falvey believes it not only serves for professional experience, but provides for a more vibrant college community, where freedom of expression is a main component.
"It serves a multitude of purposes and brings awareness of Emmanuel College and our mission," she said.
For Pilecki the radio station allows him to connect closely with those students and faculty involved, as well as to his friends and family listening.
"The people involved in radio are kind and helpful, and they're a great group to hang out with . . . With my show I can end my week feeling great. It gives me the chance to be an entertainer and host for my listeners," he said.
The future of EC Radio appears bright, as the members hope to continue expanding, reaching a broader audience to show the world what Boston and New England has to offer, while remaining true to its mission to provide the students, faculty and staff of Emmanuel a means of public access. This summer, students will travel to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to broadcast live on EC Radio. In addition, the group plans to broadcast weekly Mass held in the Chapel, extend the hours of unique programming, and get more faculty involved as DJs.
"The station is something that people can use to get their ideas out there and to really have one hour a week to do whatever they want with it. We've seen some really creative stuff. That's what I'm most proud of," said Horgan.
-Samantha Ford '12