WERW Spring Launch Party

WERW roars back to life with energetic Spring Launch Party

The station, out of service since 2012, celebrated its return to the AM dial by taking over Schine Underground with performances by Forth Wanderers and Overcoats.

Syracuse University’s student-run radio station WERW returned to the airwaves last Friday, and kicked off its return with one of its famous parties in Schine Underground. The highlights of the occasion were the performances by indie musicians Overcoats and Forth Wanderers.

Due to issues with the station’s broadcasting towers WERW had been off the air since 2012. However, new towers made live broadcasting an option for WERW, who had mainly been broadcasting online during its five-year hiatus. The station will continue its regular shows on weekdays, with slightly altered schedules on weekends. General Manager Rebecca Duke anticipates a “huge turnout” for DJs on the station due to its immense popularity even when off the air.

Photo: Liam Sheehan
Ava Trilling performs in the Schine Underground with her band Forth Wanderers.

Senior DJ Will Taggart is optimistic for the station’s future.

“I’ve been at [WERW] for 3 years and I’ve loved every second of it,” Taggart said. He cited the station’s free-form format and indie approach as a “niche” that wasn’t filled on campus.

WERW’s party kicked off at 7:40 p.m. in Schine Underground, near the Jabberwocky Café where the station will broadcast from. The Overcoats,a New York City-based group composed of Hana Elion and Justine Mitchell, were the opening act. The duo have been singing together since 2011 and are planning to release their first album, YOUNG, in April 2017. Their performance featured several songs from the album, including “Hold Me Close”, “The Fog”, and “Kai’s Song.” The duo went off to a positive reception from the crowd of nearly one hundred attendees.

Following Overcoats were the New-Jersey based outfit Forth Wanderers. The band of five college students from Montclair have been together since 2013, and their rapid rise earned them a feature in The New Yorker’s Rock and Pop section earlier this year. Forth Wanderers released their EP “Slop” in November 2016, and their performance at the Underground highlighted some of the album’s songs, including “Know Better,” “Slop,” “Nerves,” and “Unfold.” The audience was rocking, and the band went off to several rounds of applause. Both groups spoke to attendees after their respective performances and sold merchandise including album CDs, posters and vinyl records.

Duke hopes that once WERW re-establishes itself on the airwaves, events like this will become more common.

“We’ve had a solid following even when we were off the air, we’ve added late night shows at 1 to 2 A.M. just to keep up with demand," Duke said. "I’m not even sure there will be enough room for more slots once we get back into the swing of things.” 

WERW differentiates itself from other student-involved stations on campus, such as WAER and Z89, by having a free-form format. Unlike Z89 and WAER, WERW is not officially licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, which means that it is strictly campus-limited. However, it is completely student-owned and operated, and it is not restricted to top 40 playlists. Instead, WERW uses submissions from indie musicians and small labels, which are played by the station’s DJs during showtimes.

“For the past couple of years, every member of this crew has worked to get this station back on air," Duke said. "I’m glad it’s finally happened.”

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