Rock Really Rolling in Ocean City

UM Student Project Becomes a Reality

The Baltimore Evening Sun

Thursday, July 26, 1973


Lucy Acton

Those new sounds on the Ocean City beach this summer had their beginnings as a student project at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Radio station WOCR, 650 AM and Cable FM 89.2 started broadcasting a combination of rock music, local news and community messages at the resort during the second week in June.

But plans for Ocean City's first and only local rock radio station got under way last fall when Dan Mayer, a radio, television and film major at the University of Maryland got the assignment to build a theoretical radio station.

"Most people planned the theoretical stations for their home towns," explained Mr. Mayer, who got his degree in June. "I picked Ocean City because it needed a rock station, and because of its almost unique geography."

The geographical factor was important to Mr. Mayer and fellow students Jerry Cesak and Greg McMurry, who helped him carry out the organization of the station, because it allowed them to use carrier current.

Carrier current is a method of radio broadcasting that goes through an existing electrical system rather than a central transmitter. In contrast to a standard commercial radio station that operates on a several thousand watt voltage, a carrier current station operates on 5 to 50 watts.

FCC License Not Required

Since these radio waves do not carry a great distance, an FCC license is not required for carrier current, although the station must be operated according to a number of FCC regulations.

"In Ocean City it is possible to reach an immense number of people in a small area, since the town is actually a small island," explained Mr. Cesak. "Even though carrier current radio waves are not supposed to go beyond 242 feet of a power line, there is almost no area of the beach that isn't covered, up to 30th street."

Since there are no FCC licenses available in Ocean City now, carrier current has been a practical alternative, he added.

The students began developing theory into reality in October, and invested a substantial amount of their own money in actually setting up the station. "We anticipate breaking even the first season," said Mr. McMurry.

"Response so far has been almost completely favorable. We're getting a lot of calls every day and the most typical comment is 'it's about time'".

Music includes a library of more than 600 old records, and the disc jockey is usually no more than 30 to 60 seconds away from music.

Anti drug abuse messages from the National Clearinghouse for Drugs are broadcast regularly and the station maintains a job bank, where employers can call and give information about jobs available in the town.

"Back Next Summer"

Broadcasting is done from the down-town business district, where vacationers can watch the station in action, and WOCR is on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plans now call for the station to keep broadcasting past Labor Day, and Mr. Cesak, who serves as program director, isn't sure when it will close for the season.

"As soon as this place is dead, we'll pack up and go home, but we'll be back next summer," he said.

A former disc jockey and a major in radio, television and film at the University of Maryland, Mr. Cesak has one more year of college. Greg McMurry will return to College Park as a junior music major in the fall.

A native of Hollywood, Calif., Mr. McMurry, who sings professionally, and whose student production at the University's TV workshop was nominated for an Emmy last year, serves as business manager of WOCR. Mr. Mayer is general manager.

Other members of the staff include a national advertising manager, engineer, and extra announcer, hired by the owners.