Senior communication major Sean Gerhard’s Star Wars Show on WMCX was named “Most Innovative/Creative Program” in the 2021 Intercollegiate Broadcast System (IBS) Media Awards. This was the 81st edition of the annual conference, which received more than 3,000 overall entries across all categories from colleges in the U.S. and around the globe.
“Sean Gerhard’s IBS Conference win continues a long tradition of students taking elements learned in the classroom and putting those skills to practice as a member of WMCX,” said Aaron Furgason, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Communication and adviser of WMCX. “Sean is an excellent example of such a student who embraces all of the opportunities available to Monmouth students.”
“To be number one out of the entire country is an awesome feeling,” Gerhard said. “I worked hard for this and to see it pay off with an award like this makes it all worth it. I feel that I have accomplished a lot here at Monmouth in my four years, but this one is up there for what I am most proud of.”
Gerhard, whose radio experience at Monmouth had previously consisted mostly of sports broadcasting, was eager to set himself apart when he came up with the idea for the Star Wars Show, a topic he is passionate about. Each week, the broadcast would highlight a different movie from the franchise, featuring music from that film and related topics discussed by Gerhard and occasionally special guests. The end of each episode was reserved for Star Wars news, which most often covered the newest episode of “The Mandalorian.”
“WMCX gave me the opportunity to express my creativity like no other club could have. I don’t know many other places where I can play Star Wars music and talk about Star Wars for two hours every week to a mass audience,” said Gerhard. “It has been one of my favorite experiences in my life.”
Furgason, who notes that Gerhard’s win is the University’s first in this very difficult category, added, “Most Innovative/Creative Program as a category is highly subjective and the professional judges have heard it all before. To be truly creative, one must take chances; Sean’s show featuring solely music from the Star Wars series fits that criteria perfectly and he produced an exceptional show. I am incredibly proud of Sean’s win and all of the other award nominees from Communication, WMCX, and World Languages.”
Gerhard credits the success of his Star Wars Show to the people who tune in every week, as well as faculty, his family, and friends. He is especially grateful to Furgason, who he calls “one of the best professors I ever had the pleasure of having.”
In addition to his Star Wars show, which airs on Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m., Gerhard also serves as the station’s sports director and was nominated by IBS for Best Men’s Basketball Play-By-Play. Gerhard was also the recipient of the Raymond J. Michelli Memorial Endowed Scholarship established by University trustee Thomas Michelli and his wife, Roseann. Named in honor of their son, Ray Michelli ’00, who passed away in 2011, the scholarship is awarded to a Department of Communication major with an interest in sports announcing.