What Pandemic? We Are Thriving.


(Hal Slifer) By While many college radio stations have gone silent and many commercial radio stations have had major staff cutbacks, Emerson College’s radio station, WERS, has continued to attract new listeners in the competitive Boston radio market.

WERS radio is rated number one of all college radio station in the Princeton Review’s “Best College Radio Stations” List of 2020.

WERS, in the latest Nielsen ratings data, just about doubled it’s audience from a year ago- quite an accomplishment for a non commercial radio station running with the major radio stations in the Boston marketplace.

Nielsen Audio made a special mention in their latest ratings data that WERS did a remarkable job of maintaining, if not growing, their AQH ( Average Quarter Hour) of persons listening with it’s Triple A music format and radio hosts.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, WERS had a cume audience averaging 175,000 listeners.

The success of WERS, during this pandemic situation, is due to the leadership of Dr. Jack Casey, with nine professional and twelve student managers, at the radio station.

Dr Casey and his team drew up plans for continuing to keeping WERS vibrant and on the air 24/7 when the pandemic first was reported in late February.

Their plan was basic old school radio- keep the audience informed, continue with their successful Triple A format, and continue with their radio hosts who have been the familiar and calming voices to their Boston and worldwide streaming audience.

WERS is on the air 24/7 and the hosts are manning the microphones from 5:30am thru 2am everyday. The 2am to 5:30am time slot has a mix of automated music programmed specifically for the early morning hours.

Most of the WERS radio hosts are producing their programs from their homes, during the pandemic, with state of the art equipment. Each of the hosts is using Comrex broadcast modems hooked up to the stations ENCO music library for professional and easy access to live radio broadcasts.

WERS is a public radio station that is listener supported. WERS strives to be self sufficient and they do this with two yearly fundraisers.

When the pandemic struck, Ashley Peterson, the station’s Associate Director of Development made plans to cut back the usual 10 day Spring fundraiser to a one day monthly fundraiser. Two of these-fundraisers, so far, were held, and the station averaged around $35,000+ from their loyal listener support for each of the two days.

WERS has a professional staff of managers and radio hosts and in a typical school year there are over 50 students who hold down staff jobs and on air shifts.

In April, when the college had all students leave the campus, many of the students continued the running of the station remotely from their homes. Daily and weekly staff meetings are held on Zoom.

WERS has been on the air for over 70 years and it’s legacy is that it cares about it’s listeners and in turn the listeners care about WERS. The station is on the air 24/7 in the good times and the bad times.

The current WERS radio audience, based on the current Nielsen rating data, shows that more people are listening to WERS, and their daily audience continues to grow.

The station is receiving more kudos than ever from their supportive listeners thanking WERS for being a trusted member of their family and a calming and familiar voice during these tough times.

Hal Slifer is a Producer and Host at WERS and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or the old fashioned way 617 733 3771


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