About a year and a half ago, I was just an incoming college freshman who had no idea what to expect. Because of personal circumstances, coming to Gannon University was the last thing I expected when choosing and eventually deciding where to go for college. Looking back, I still think it’s the best last-minute decision I’ve ever made, and a large part of that is thanks to 90.5 WERG.
I started with WERG my first semester as part of a communication arts class and it immediately clicked with me. It was an aspect of media I never really considered enjoying as much as I did. In addition, this was during a period where I was getting really into listening to music more so than I ever had been before, and WERG was just full of music that was right up my alley. Especially since I found out they played some of my all-time favorite bands, from Paramore to Chvrches to Imagine Dragons.
As I slowly got used to the station and everyone around me, two things eventually happened. One of those was my growing interest in production for the station. Seeing as how my end goal is to eventually work in film production, producing content was something I took on naturally and just enjoyed doing for the fun of it. Some of the new imaging we’ve had from the station was all a result of me just having fun in the production program Adobe Audition. At least five of our most recent liners from the past year have all been made by me!
I enjoyed it so much that I eventually took on the role of Production Director at the station. Now, suddenly, I was in charge of making promos for the station and getting them finished on time. As much as I had fun and still have fun making promos and producing content, it gave me a much-needed layer of responsibility to my job that I appreciate having.
The second thing that happened was an idea. Anyone who is friends with me and has heard me on the radio knows how much I love entertainment, especially movies. So, one day, while doing a radio shift during my first semester with my great friend George Meucci, we decided to make a talk break where we broke down the recent Avengers: Infinity War trailer. It was natural and fun, and the best talk we had that semester. And in that moment, an idea just suddenly came to me: what if we had a whole show centered around talking about stuff like this?
The idea just lingered continuously in my head until it became more of a reality with two of the best friends I’ve made, Jacob Vadzemnieks and Amy Benkovich. I had two radio shifts with them in my Spring semester, and a lot of our talk breaks were talking about whatever was happening in movies, television, or just stuff related to it we wanted to talk about. At that point, I knew the idea I had that last semester had to become a reality. I would spend at least six minutes talking with Jacob or Amy on our individual shows just talking about something cool related to Marvel or Disney. So, I brought the idea to them and they were immediately on board. We started conceptualizing the show near the end of the semester and we presented it. The show got passed, and suddenly we had our own show on WERG. We went through numerous names, such as Media Moguls or Movie Maniacs, until we eventually decided on a title that was simple and clicked with all of us: The VIP. I spent the whole summer working on the show, keeping close contact with Amy to tell her everything I was working on. Although Jacob had moved on to a new college, we loved having him as part of our process for conceptualizing the show that Spring. And even with some technical hiccups and behind the scenes issues on how to structure the show, we still pulled it off, kept going, and had a first “season” of the show that admittedly was much better than I was initially anticipating!
Things for the future are looking just as uncertain and exciting for a number of reasons just like they had been the past ends of my semesters. Amy, who has become one of my closest friends, will also be leaving next semester, leaving me as, at the current moment, the only person handling The VIP. There are still some things I think could improve The VIP over time, as I believe there’s always room to improve anything. My production duties will still take as much priority as they had before. But I still love every second of it, even through the stress it sometimes gives me. I mean, how many students involved with the station can say they got their own specialty show passed and made within a semester, let alone in their freshman year?
My future at the station has twists and turns coming up, but in some ways, I can’t wait to see where it takes me next. After all, someone here still has to bring you the latest and greatest in entertainment and media!