(Dec. 14, 2018) In radio, hosts are usually heard but not seen. So, when five billboards showcasing the on-air talent at 91.3 WESM-FM went up across the Lower Shore late last month, reaction was swift.
“The boards went up and people began to call the station and post photos on social media,” said Gerry Weston, general manager of WESM. “They are colorful and dynamic, and they match faces with voices our listeners have relied on for music and news for years. It’s been a fun and compelling way to engage current listeners and attract new ones.”
WESM-FM, the public radio station transmitting from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, did more than put up a few billboards.
The station, which was founded in 1987, has completely redesigned and energized its brand, introducing a new logo inspired by Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” statue and featuring colors from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s newly designed website.
“Our new logo stands out and conveys our mission,” said Weston. “From the ‘WE’ in the top row signifying our unity with the community, to the guitar headstock nestled in the ‘M’ underscoring ‘music’, it’s a new way of ‘seeing’ the station.”
Weston and his team spent more than six months working on the rebrand. WESM, like all public radio stations, needs to attract new listeners and gently remind current ones that it is partially dependent on funds raised each year from its audience, which it calls “members.”
“Our members are our lifeline, and we all agreed we had to be clearer about who we are and what we offer,” said Angel Resto, Jr., WESM operations manager and on-air host. “There’s too much clutter to cut through to be vague. Our programming is compelling – we need people to understand what we offer.”
One of the major decisions made early on was to bring back WESM’s original slogan, “Jazz, Blues & NPR News!” which the staff felt really differentiated the station from any other in the market.
“No one offers the programming we do, and no other public radio station on air on the Lower Shore has as many local on-air hosts or as much locally based programming,” said Resto, Jr. “Every program decision is made here, and we are all locals. We know this market better than anyone, and what we have to offer the community is really special.”
Resto, Jr. and three other hosts - Yancy Carrigan, Brian Daniels and Molly – have become even more visible, as television and print advertising has begun to break.
Carrigan, WESM’s music director, is celebrating his 30th anniversary with WESM, giving him a unique perspective on the rebrand.
“Jazz and Blues are really products of our country’s experience,” he said. “Young people especially need to know what WESM offers so that they are better able to understand where rap and hip-hop spring from. It’s not just our history – it’s the bedrock of our musical future.”
The branding and marketing campaign was created by a.s.a.p.r. integrated marketing based in Salisbury and Rus Design of Parsonsburg, Maryland.
To learn more about 91.3 WESM and its programming, or to become a member of the station (or give a membership as a gift,) visit www.wesm913.org or call 410-651-8001.