Emerson College NON-COMM WERS writes the next chapter in its 71-year history with Thursday’s debut of a new HD-2/streaming offering branded as ERS+…
By Paul Marszalek
With programs such as The Black Experience, Rap Explosion, 88.9@Night, and The Secret Spot, WERS/Boston has a long history of specialty programming that supported up-and-coming African-American artists.
The station takes another step Thursday with the noon launch of ERS+, Boston’s Black Experience. The format will serve Boston’s R&B and Hip Hop community with new voices, including Cautious Clay, Nana Adjoa, and Arlo Parks, along with a variety of well-known names.
The new music format will find a home at 88.9 FM HD-2 for those with HD-equipped radios. ERS+ will also be available as a 24/7 stream – online and via an app – at WERSplus.org.
As events surrounding the death of George Floyd prompted global demonstrations denouncing systemic racism, WERS General Manager Jack Casey challenged WERS staff to come up with ideas that could be implemented in an effort to bring about positive change in Boston. Led by WERS Operations Manager Howard “D” Simpson, the ERS+ project was put into development.
“What will set us apart from the others that play urban music is what always has – we have great ears for new music discovery and a deep library — and we’re not afraid to use both,” said Simpson.
WERS also developed a podcast, the station’s first, that examined the history of social injustice in the United States — from slavery to Jim Crow laws to police brutality. An 8-part series, Shadows of A Dream, highlighted the continuing push for equality in cities like Boston.
To accommodate the new ERS+ HD2 format, the current Broadway show tunes service, Standing Room Only, will become an online streaming exclusive.