whenever student G. Irvin Lehman had written an English report when you look at the 1930s suggesting that Eastern Mennonite College would start a radio place as time goes on, resistance to your idea ended up being so strong he had been reprimanded for his idea. A bit more than two decades later, broadcasting gear ended up being put in to the balcony of the chapel-auditorium, and WEMC became Virginia’s first noncommercial community radio section.
These days, the station is managed and operated by James Madison University and almost solely plays automated ancient music. But also for years it had been a residential area installation that broadcast chapel services, “educational programming” and many different music, all facilitated by student-announcers and engineers.
When reviled, radio becomes a ‘missionary project’
It’s not yet determined at just what point Mennonite attitudes toward radio broadcasting begun to transform, however in 1950, a Mennonite men’s quartet named The Crusaders started initially to sing live on Saturday mornings for quarter-hour on a nearby Harrisonburg section, WSVA. Within couple of years, the program broadened as The Mennonite Hour, which was considered “a missionary project for the church.” Because of the end of 1953, this system ended up being broadcast on 35 programs and EMC offered up space for recording.
In 1954, WEMC had been founded with funds from the class of 1954 and The Mennonite hr became Mennonite Broadcasting Incorporated – which can be now known as Mennonite Media.
By the late 1950s, WEMC had been running up to 70 regular programs eg “Mennonite Hour Chorus, ” “Titus Bender’s ‘Point for Today, ’” and “Children’s Story Time” through the balcony of chapel. The section utilized a ten-watt transmitter, which had “a sign that scarcely got off university on a windy time, ” based on alumnus Jim Bishop which worked within place both as a student and later as EMC staff.
WEMC broadcast everyday Bible readings (Alexander Scourby recorded on vinyl, Bishop remembers), regular chapel services, community and public service notices, and protection of residence women’s and men’s basketball games. Bishop hosted a regular campus tasks report, along with “Focal Point, ” a public affairs program.
“i usually wanted there were more student-produced programs, ” Bishop stated. “Someone would get one rolling then it can end when the pupil finished or lost interest.”