It’s said that you’re always supposed to leave something better than when you’ve found it, and that’s the case for Gerry Weston upon his arrival at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore seven years ago.

As Weston, the general manager of WESM, and later Delmarva Public Media, calls it a career on June 28, he leaves both WESM and the public radio station partnership in a better position than he found it. In all, Weston’s involvement in radio spans nearly 50 years.

“I started to think that maybe it was my time to step aside, let someone else come in with new blood and new energy,” Weston, 72, said. “We have a great thing going now, and to develop Delmarva Public Media with three stations instead of one … it’s a great opportunity for this organization to take the next step forward and strive.”

Delmarva Public Media general manager Gerry Weston is retiring on June 28 after 50 years in radio.

As WESM general manager, Weston facilitated essential technical upgrades to the station, including the repairs to the station’s tower, a new transmitter, replacement of the previous antenna that was struck by lightning, the installation of the station’s new roof, and the ongoing renovations of all three studios.

“He’s done a lot for the station and we’ve come a long way,” said Daphne Chatham, the business office and bookkeeping specialist for Delmarva Public Radio. “But the collaboration was the biggest thing. Bringing three stations together was huge. Those are big shoes to fill.”

Weston’s collaboration with Salisbury University led to the formation of Delmarva Public Media, comprised of the jazz, blues, and NPR news format of WESM, classical radio station WSCL, and the “rhythm and news” format of WSDL. Delmarva Public Media’s launching, which happened in the middle of the pandemic, pooled together resources each of the stations lacked in one way or the other – management, fundraising operations, and on-air personalities.

“Gerry’s personality and style lent itself to marshaling the resources of both universities to the idea of maximizing their exposure,” said Rick Givens, a member of Delmarva Public Media’s Community Advisory Board. “The partnership shows the initiative and foresight that only a person with his capacity could usher in.”

Givens, who previously worked closely with Weston during their time at Salisbury University, said Weston’s radio expertise was key to his staying power in the evolving medium.

“The thing that comes to mind instantly is his passion and love for radio,” Givens said. “His knowledge and experience of leading a radio station has positioned the management and the organization to succeed upon his departure and into the future.”

The person leading that future is Judy Diaz, Delmarva Public Media’s deputy manager, who assumes Weston’s role in the interim. Diaz said the three-station format allows the organization to be “more experimental” including the addition of more homegrown content coming from students at both UMES and SU.

“We have students who are interested in creating jazz content, students interested in creating news content, and students interested in possibly creating urban alternatives,” she said. “In moving into those other formats, we can work with them to build and define the next generation of public media content and public media leaders. That’s something that can be attributed to all the work Gerry’s done.”

As for the future of Delmarva Public Media, Weston wants to make sure that the musical programming doesn’t become an afterthought as the station continues to grow its presence.

“I hope that there’s a sensibility, not only for news and public affairs, but also for music,” he said. “It’s important that we cover local news on Delmarva, but the music is also important for WESM and for WSCL.”

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