4/28/2009 John Spidaliere

WFNM Rocks On

In the mood for some techno or folk? How about rock or house music, ?or perhaps some rousing polka? ?O.K., maybe not polka.

No matter your musical fancy, chances are it’s being played at WFNM-89.1 FM, the College’s student-run radio station.

While some radio stations struggle ?to survive, WFNM has carved out ?an audience on the Internet. ?“This year our marketing push has been to get people to tune in and stay tuned as we continue to build our Web presence,” said Joe Fucigna ’10.

Fucigna and Adam Gould ’10, the station’s co-general managers, have developed marketing strategies to ensure WFNM will be on the air ?for years to come.

Radio has been a part of Franklin ?& Marshall for more than six decades. WWFM, a small AM station with ?a weak signal, began broadcasting in 1957 from the basement of Ben Franklin Hall. In 1973, the Federal Communications Commission grant-?ed the College a license to operate ?a 10-watt FM station at 88.7 mega-hertz. The call letters were changed ?to WFNM.

The station grew and was popular for decades. In 1976, WFNM moved into a custom-designed facility in the Steinman College Center, and four years later the station increased its power to 100 watts and its frequency ?to 89.1. It reached a potential audience of more than a half-million listeners ?in a 25-mile radius.

But as the Internet and other media rose in popularity over the past two decades, radio listeners dwindled.

Last year, hoping to infuse some ?“much-needed energy” into the station, Dan Lewis, manager of house administration and housekeeping and staff adviser for WFNM, tapped Fucigna and Gould to be co-general managers. They immediately began recruiting other disc jockeys and now have ?more than 90.

Next, Fucigna and Gould put WFNM ?on the Internet. A WFNM Web site (wfnm.freeflux.net/radio), with stream-ing audio, went live in March 2008. They also obtained a $3,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters to develop a new Web site they hope to bring online later this year.

Gould said they track some 1,500 listeners per week on the Web site, including regular listeners in Europe ?and Asia.
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