WERS to be broadcast on XM

by Beacon Staff • April 23, 2008

The broadcast is part of XMU's Student Exchange Program, which provides college radio stations the opportunity to take over the airwaves on Sunday afternoons.,This week, Emerson's WERS radio station will broadcast nationally on XM Satellite Radio's XMU, a channel for independent rock and unsigned artists.

The broadcast is part of XMU's Student Exchange Program, which provides college radio stations the opportunity to take over the airwaves on Sunday afternoons. WERS was the first station to broadcast through the program when it made its satellite radio debut in Oct. 2007.

WERS's April 27 broadcast will mark the third time the station has been on XMU. WERS Program Director Sam Citron said the station has also committed to playing three additional shows through the Student Exchange Program this coming summer.

XMU program director Billy Zero said WERS was chosen to begin the Student Exchange Program because of its diverse programming and longstanding history as a respected college station.

Zero, who has become the go-to man for many independent and unsigned artists, initially joined the XM team in 2000. Zero said when he began working at satellite radio he brought in 150 CDs from unsigned artists. These days, he said he receives demos from about 200-500 bands every week, and the number keeps going up.

"I get material sent from everyone-from corporate heads, to bands that obviously recorded in their basement and wrote their name on the CD with a Sharpie," he said.

The national exposure on XMU gives WERS the chance to attract a wider audience, said Citron, adding that the station hopes that listeners will check out the WERS's online stream if they like what they hear.

WERS boasts a listenership of about 150,000 people a week in the greater Boston area and eastern New England, according to its Web site. While being broadcast on XMU, WERS will be available to the approximately 9 million XM Radio subscribers.

XM Radio broadcasts over 170 digital channels of music, news and sports to cars and homes through a satellite network, at a rate of $12.95 per month, according to its Web site.

In March, the Justice Department approved a merger between XM, and rival satellite network, Sirius.

The proposed merger, which still needs to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission, would create a de facto monopoly in satellite radio services used by 17 million subscribers in the United States and Canada.

"We're definitely promoting the station [WERS] while we're on air, but we're not going to be excessive about it," said Citron, adding that the DJs might be able to throw in some of their own favorite tunes while on satellite radio, deviating from the show's set playlist.

Besides the Student Exchange Program on Sundays, XMU also has a variety of daily shows like the Radar, which plays up and coming unsigned artists, and Jam Nation, which features an assortment of the grooviest jam bands out there.

Zero said that the Student Exchange Program sets the bar for station takeovers by allowing local and unknown artists to be heard on a national level.

"I have a feeling that the programs I've created will outlast me here," he said.