West Windsor, N.J. – If you have a computer or a cell phone, you now have access to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) student radio station, WMCC, Viking 89.1. While student programming has been on the air for decades, until recently, students' shows only traveled so far – once off the West Windsor campus, listeners quickly lost reception.
But these days, WMCC is out there on the Internet for all to hear, and also available through the app known as TuneIn Radio (listed as Viking 89) that was introduced last spring. (For those with an HD radio, the station is on 89.1, HD-3.) The station’s student crew is bringing lots of enthusiasm, as well as a wide range of musical tastes, to the airwaves.
According to General Manager Shawn Slaughter, 11 student DJs just finished up a year of diverse programming. “This is a particular period of growth for the station,” Slaughter says, adding that student programming typically airs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the off hours, satellite shows kicks in.
Viking 89.1 executive board includes advisor Winifred Howard and faculty member Mitch Canter. In addition to Slaughter, student leaders are Operations Manager Miguel Reyes,
Treasurer Devin Diaz,
Program Director Christian Malave, Music Director Kevin Parham, Executive Secretary Nalia Morales, Promotion Director Maia Seals,
Social Media Director Ian Feldenzer, Production Director K'Len Morris and News Director Alex Villepontoux.
The group has been active this year – on the air and off. The station has lively monthly meetings, with 20 or more students in attendance. Station members added to the festivities at the West Windsor Campus Spring Day on April 22, manning a Dunk Tank and serving as DJs.
For Slaughter, who started out as program director and is now in his second year as general manager, it’s a labor of love.
“Music is a passion of mine,” says the full-time state employee and part-time college student. He is currently enrolled in the Entertainment Technology program, with a concentration in Music Technology. “I will be retiring [from the state] in less than 10 years, and I plan on my next career being in radio or entertainment. I am working on my future."
With children and grandchildren of his own, Slaughter says he is happy to take on a leadership role. “We are building the station to be close to a family. These are young people finding their individual voices, but we also focus on teamwork. We are all about the music. Our motto is: "We Do It for the Music!”
With previous radio work at WPRB, the Princeton University station, Slaughter gained valuable experience on the Vibes & Vapors Show and then Side B Radio, and has brought his know-how to the MCCC station. Utilizing technology options currently available, the station created a page on Mixcloud, a podcasting site, and has posted the shows of current student DJ’s, where they can be heard in their entirety. (WMMCC is listed under College Radio – Viking89.)
While the goal is to add more hours of programming, Slaughter said scheduling can be a challenge. “Mercer students have commitments – they work, they have evening classes. We try to give everyone a slot that works for them.”
Slaughter notes that college radio programming serves as a great venue for emerging musicians. He co-hosts a WMCC show called “The Divine OAces Show” with Divine Drummah, a local DJ/producer, whom he worked with at WPRB. “We play hip hop from the classics to now that you would not hear regularly. Viking 89.1 as a whole has a very eclectic sound and we use an open format in musical selections. Our DJ’s play everything from Classic Rock to EDM to Hip Hop to Disney soundtracks, all the way to Club, House and R&B," he said.