WCBG, Wagner College’s student radio station, is back — not “on air” in the old-fashioned sense, but online. On March 23, 2015, it started broadcasting on wcbg-radio.org.
During the first two months of programmed broadcasts, about 3,500 different listeners tuned in for music, talk, and specialty programs like Aca Hour, a show about a cappella music. A cappella guru Deke Sharon (music director for the sleeper hit film Pitch Perfect, about the trials and tribulations of college a cappella singing) heard about it and spread it to his networks.
WCBG broadcast to the dormitories on 64 AM through carrier current in the 1980s.
The leader behind this radio revival is arts administration major Shane Ertter ’16. When he came to Wagner from his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2012, WCBG had gone dormant — not an uncommon occurrence in the history of Wagner student organizations in general and of WCBG in particular.
Ertter grew up listening to old-fashioned radio shows like The Shadow with his grandparents. During high school, he became involved in theater, which led to voiceover work for local businesses and for public service announcements.
As Ertter tells the story, before he even arrived on campus he emailed then-station manager K. T. Sanders ’14 and asked her about becoming involved. She told him, “It’s off the air, but you can take it over when you get here.”
Ertter took that responsibility seriously. He prodded and pushed to move the station into a new space and to acquire new equipment. Now, the station broadcasts from the lower level of Cunard Hall. It has a full slate of officers and on-air personalities, with more than 50 students involved.
“My task was to bring it back to a place where it’s recognized on campus and to develop the leadership team,” Ertter says. “I want to develop it into a place of storytelling and communication.”
“I’m inspired by Shane and his perseverance and grit,” says Curtis Wright, dean of campus life and leadership, who worked closely with Ertter. “The vision that he has for the radio station would position Wagner’s radio station as a public station for all of Staten Island. So, how do we make that happen? We’ve been working with him to create the infrastructure so that, as we build and grow, the station can serve the larger community as well as meet the needs of our students. He’s thinking more long term, more big picture. It’s not just a student club.”