WSOU (89.5 FM) is a non-commercial, college radio station. The station broadcasts from the campus of Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. It is a student-run station with university administrator Mark Maben serving as its current General Manager. streams online.
|City||South Orange, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||New York metro area|
|Slogan||"Seton Hall's Pirate Radio" and "The Loudest Rock"|
|First air date||April 14, 1948|
|Transmitter coordinates||40°44′28.00″N 74°14′42.00″W|
|Callsign meaning||W South Orange University|
|Owner||Seton Hall University|
|Webcast||Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)|
The station currently broadcasts a modern active rock format, featuring heavy metal, punk, emo, hardcore and post-hardcore as well as other types of rock-based music. Student disc jockeys play music from this regular rotation during the vast majority of the week - with the exception of specialty shows and community programming (see below).
WSOU has played a pivotal role in breaking bands and music genres within the New York City market. It was one of the first to play punk rock in the 1970s. Additionally, WSOU gave some of the first airtime to many commercial successes - Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Incubus, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine and Korn.
The station's general manager is Mark Maben, who has worked there since 2004. The elected student management board for 2019-2020 is as follows: Station Manager Wilnir Louis, Program Director Alexis Juarez, Music Director Nick Polis, News Director Bob Towey, Promotions Director Tayla Frey, Sports Director Dalton Allison, Technical Operations Director Jillian Fitzpatrick, Social Media Director Faith Kessler, and Staff Representative Kali Diamond.
- Punk University (Tuesday 8-10 p.m.) - Punk and hardcore including Black Flag, Descendents, The Clash, and the Sex Pistols, featuring half an hour of ska and ska punk.
- Under the Stars (Tuesday 10p-midnight) - Post-hardcore, screamo, pop-punk and emo, including The Wonder Years, My Chemical Romance, The Front Bottoms and Turnover.
- Street Patrol (Wednesday 8-10 p.m.) - Local, unsigned, underground artists within the metal genre.
- Vintage 80s (Thursday 8-10 p.m.) - Hair metal, new wave of British Heavy Metal, and early thrash, including Iron Maiden, Exodus and Overkill.
- Storming the Ramparts (Thursday 10 p.m.-midnight) - Power, folk, and Viking metal, including Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom and Saxon (band).
- Out of Babylon (Friday 10 p.m.-midnight) - Christian metal and hardcore, including As I Lay Dying and August Burns Red.
- The Global Current (Sundays, 8:00 a.m.), the weekly news magazine show of Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy, featuring world news presented and analyzed by students.
- Pirate News Desk (Saturdays, 9:00 a.m.), the weekly news magazine show of the WSOU News Department.
- Thank God For Monday (Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.), a program dedicated to workplace satisfaction and career fulfillment, hosted by Seton Hall alumnus Brother Greg Cellini.
- The Kinship of Catholics and Jews (Sundays, 8:30 a.m.), a program presented by the Institute of Judeao-Christian Studies, Seton Hall University. Father Lawrence Frizzell, director of the institute, is the moderator of the program.
- Celtic Heritage Hour (Sundays, 9:00 a.m.), a program with music, news and information for the Irish and Scottish communities.
- Polka Party (Sundays, 12:00 p.m.), currently the longest-running show on WSOU.
WSOU also offers a diverse lineup of syndicated shows, including several programs from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The list includes Christopher Closeup (Saturdays, 7:00 a.m.) and Voices of Our World (Saturdays, 8:00 a.m.).
WSOU is also the leader in coverage of Seton Hall athletics. The sports department at WSOU broadcasts all home and away games for both men's and women's basketball, the school's flagship sports. Also aired throughout the year are select games for men's and women's soccer and baseball.
Online listening at WSOU.net increases significantly when men's basketball games are broadcast. Following each men's basketball game is Hall Line, a post game call-in show that allows Pirate fans the chance to share their thoughts about the game and/or the team. The show, which is hosted by student on-air talent, either in-studio or at the site of the game, has been on the air since the 1960s. It currently is the longest-running sports program at WSOU.
Along with Hall Line, WSOU also offers two Sunday evening sports talk shows hosted by students, From the Stands (pro sports talk) and Pirate Primetime (Seton Hall athletics talk).
In its 60th year of broadcasting, WSOU has had many notable alumni start their sports broadcasting careers while students at Seton Hall University and members of the radio station. Several of these alumni are well known throughout sports, including Bob Ley (ESPN), Bob Picozzi (ESPN), Jim Hunter (Baltimore Orioles broadcaster), Matt Loughlin (New Jersey Devils radio play-by-play announcer) and Ed Lucas (Emmy Winning blind Yankee Broadcaster, YES Network.)
On July 1, 2009, WSOU launched WSOU HD2, a 24/7 Catholic programming channel.
Seton Hall University first made the decision to invest in HD radio technology for WSOU, as to keep it on the cutting edge of broadcast technology. As HD radio technology allows broadcasting on multiple channels, the university chose to reflect its commitment to the Catholic mission through this additional channel. WSOU Chief Engineer Frank Scafidi and Jim Malespina, chair of the WSOU Advisory Board, program the channel on a weekly basis. It operates out of the WSOU studios.
Programming highlights include:
- Daily Mass at 8 a.m. from Seton Hall's Chapel of the Immaculate Conception
- Mornings with Mother, an EWTN program with Mother Angelica
- Women of Grace
- EWTN Spanish programming during the overnight hours
- Catholic Answers Live
- Blocks of Christian rock and classical music in primetime
WSOU began broadcasting on 89.5 FM on April 14, 1948, under the direction of Monsignor Thomas J. Gillhooly, the station's first faculty director. It was the first college-owned FM station in New Jersey and one of the first FM stations in the United States.
Given the assignment by then-Seton Hall University president Monsignor James Kelly to create a radio station, Monsignor Gillhooly got WSOU up and running in just three months and provided a steady hand during the station's early days. Assisting Monsignor Gillhooly in building WSOU was the station's longtime chief engineer Tom Parnham, who helped construct the station and then remained with WSOU. Parnham worked at WSOU from 1948 until his death in 1994.
WSOU began taking the shape of its current format in 1969, the first year it began to air rock and roll music. It embraced a hard rock and metal format starting on September 4, 1986. Other station milestones include the move to stereo technology in the 1970s, the start of online streaming in the mid-1990s (among the first NJ stations to do so), and the move to digital HD radio technology in 2008.
In the 2000s, WSOU underwent amendments to its music format. At the request of university officials citing the Catholic mission of Seton Hall, certain bands were eliminated from regular rotation, while others were relegated to overnight airplay only. The most notable band that was eliminated from rotation was heavy metal act Slayer.
It is estimated that over 120,000 people listen to the station each week. Its 2,400-watt signal from the Seton Hall campus reaches all five boroughs of New York City and much of northern and central New Jersey.
WSOU's studios were originally located in the basement of the university's recreation center, part of its South Orange campus. In 1998, the station was moved to a state-of-the-art facility inside a new addition to the recreation center.
It operates there to this day, complete with three recording studios, a newsroom, the main on-air studio, the James Malespina Master Control Room, offices for student and station management, a classroom and the Dino and Diane Tortu Student Lounge.
Due to a sponsorship arrangement, WSOU has renamed their studios the Meadowlands Racetrack Studio, as heard during their Station Identification messages. The studio has not relocated to the Meadowlands.
WSOU has earned many honors and numerous awards over the years, including:
- Marconi Award for Best Non-Commercial Radio, 2016
- Peabody Award
- CMJ College Station of the Year (multiple times)
- Friday Morning Quarterback Metal Station of the Year (three consecutive times)
- Recipient of over 30 gold and platinum records, ranging from Iron Maiden to Linkin Park
- Rolling Stone rock magazine distinction as a “Top 5 radio stations in the country”
WSOU and Seton Hall University
WSOU has been a crucial part of the Seton Hall University community since its inception. In its current format, all of the station's DJs, newscasters, sportscasters and engineers are enrolled students at the university (with the exception of weekend community programmers, many of which are Seton Hall alumni).
Additionally, students are elected to one-year management terms to head the station - specifically the programming, music, promotions, news and sports departments. Through the students and the community programmers, the station stays live on the air 24/7, 365 days a year.
Since its inception, WSOU has always been a student-run radio station and, to this day, Seton Hall University owns the station's FM license.
Although a noncommercial station, WSOU's management and staff structure is modeled on commercial radio, which provides students with enriching career-oriented educational experiences. Opportunities for student staff members include on-air hosting (DJing), production, promotions, newscasting, sportscasting, programming, sales and marketing, and engineering. WSOU draws students from all university colleges and programs, including communications, business, biology, education, nursing, sports management and diplomacy.
WSOU mission statement
The following Mission Statement concerning the nature of WSOU is taken from the WSOU-FM Task Force (August, 1988):
The Mission of WSOU-FM is:
To provide students with an educational experience in a co-curricular activity which is both pedagogically sound and professionally realistic;
To foster the image of Seton Hall University as a principled institution of higher education committed to teaching in the real world; and
Since WSOU's inception, station management has frequently clashed with Seton Hall University's president and board of trustees over its heavy metal programming. Monsignor Robert Sheeran, who was at the time president of Seton Hall, felt it was inappropriate for a Roman Catholic educational and religious institution to air programming counter to the Roman Catholic belief. Sheeran and the university's board of trustees made veiled threats to shut the station down and sell the FCC license if programming was not more aligned to the Catholic faith. The university, realizing the large listener and community support, backed down and let the station's heavy metal programming continue. Catholic programming was later made available on WSOU's HD-2 sub-digital channel.
On June 1, 2006, Michael Collazo, a Seton Hall University professor and faculty advisor at WSOU, was arrested and charged with money laundering and embezzlement of over half a million dollars from illegal leasing of the station's subcarrier to EIES of New Jersey, an audio service for the blind and a Haitian radio service starting in 1991 until he was fired by Seton Hall University in 2004 after the university conducted an audit of WSOU's finances. On July 12, 2006, Collazo pleaded guilty to embezzlement, with prosecutors seeking a five-year jail sentence.
For more than 70 years, WSOU has been mentoring and graduating students who go on successful careers in the news, broadcast, music and entertainment industries. The following is a sampling of the many noteworthy station alumni
- Anthony Delia, national manager, Atlantic Records
- Bill Rock, promotional voice of NBC Nightly News and former WNBC/WYNY DJ
- Bernie Wagenblast, 1010 WINS/Metro Networks traffic reporter
- Bob Ley, ESPN Sports Center anchor
- Bob Picozzi, ESPN Radio & TV, former sports anchor on ESPN's Mike & Mike National Radio Program
- Bob Salter, WFAN host
- Bob Windrem, senior producer (Investigations Unit), NBC Nightly News
- Bob Wussler, former president, CBS Television Network; co-founder of CNN (deceased)
- Brandi Ferraro, evening host on New York's Fresh 102.7
- Bryan DeNovellis, weekend sports anchor, News 12 New Jersey
- Chris Perucich, executive producer, Clear Channel New York
- Chris Russomanno, sound designer/audio engineer, Fort Productions, Inc.
- Christina Deyo, TV producer (Martha Stewart Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show)
- Christina Stoffo, Metro Networks, traffic reporter for 1050 ESPN Radio and Channel 5, New York
- Dan Blackman, afternoon drive host, Philadelphia 106.1 The Breeze
- Dan Turi, program director/afternoon drive The Breeze WWZY 107.1/99.7FM
- Dave Packer, former 102.7 Fresh FM's morning man
- Donna Fiducia, former Fox News Channel anchor and NYC television personality
- Frank Garrity, 1010Wins sports anchor
- Gabriela Canella, senior programmer of music programming, Music Choice
- Gary Susalis, former senior manager of music programming, Music Choice
- George Meade, news anchor/reporter WOR-AM (retired)
- Glenn Schuck, 1010Wins reporter/Metro Networks news director
- Jackie Kajzer, host of nationally syndicated program Full Metal Jackie
- James Mormile, A&R Interscope Records
- Jen Kajzer, Emmis Communications, NYC
- Jewelz Lopez, DJ, WYUU, Tampa, Florida (formerly on NY's WKTU-FM & Pulse FM)
- Jim Hunter, play-by-play announcer, Baltimore Orioles
- Jim Manfredonia, founder, CEO/president of Domestic Church Media, New Jersey's largest Catholic radio network
- Joe Guzik, SVP promotion & integrated marketing, Red Bull Records
- Joe Nolan, WABC-TV and WPLJ traffic reporter
- Joey Wahler, WFAN sports anchor
- John Kobylt, KFI talk show host
- Kim Mulligan, co-host, WDHA's Morning Jolt
- Linda Fowler, arts & entertainment editor, Newark Star-Ledger (retired)
- Marc Rivieccio, director of promotions, Clear Channel Radio New York
- Mark St. Germain, playwright
- Matt DeVoti, general sales managers WDHA/WMTR, former DJ WNEW & WOBM
- Matt Loughlin, New Jersey Devils radio play-by-play announcer
- Melanie Streko, owner of MeteorCity Records and All That Is Heavy; former production coordinator at MTV Networks
- Mike DePippa, Sony/Epic Records vice president, Rock & Alternative
- Paul "Mr." Roper, studio host on the Florida Gators radio network and former Erie Otters and Trenton Devils radio play-by-play announcer
- Pat Parson, former WCBS news anchor (deceased)
- Pete Tauriello, 1010 WINS/Metro Networks traffic reporter
- Richard Oppenheimer, retired radio station group owner
- Rob Moorhead, WNNJ-FM DJ, former host of the Big Greasy Breakfast show WDHA
- Robert Desiderio, actor
- Sal Petruzzi, senior vice president, public relations, Turner Broadcasting
- Stephanie Wightman, MSNBC, WNYC-AM/FM
- Ed Lucas, Emmy-winning Yankee blind broadcaster, YES Network
- Toxic Tommy Delaney, senior director rock formats for ADA / Warner Music Group
- Bruder, Jessica (2005-05-29). "Seton Hall's WSOU Is Loud, Proud and Important". New York Times.
- Compiled through several news articles on WSOU, including the CMJ and New York Times pieces cited elsewhere.
- Information provided by the WSOU Sports Department, 2011.
- Information provided by the WSOU General Manager
- Sciaretto, Amy (November 26, 2001). "Rock 'N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution". CMJ.
- "2016 NAB Marconi Radio Award Winners Announced | NAB Newsroom". www.nab.org. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
- "Station History - 89.5 FM WSOU Seton Hall's Pirate Radio". Station History - 89.5 FM WSOU Seton Hall's Pirate Radio. WSOU-FM. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- CMJ New Music Report (via publication on Google Books)
- WSOU Metal Ban 1988 - CNN
- WSOU Metal Ban 1988 - WWOR-TV Secaucus, New Jersey
- WSOU Metal Ban 1988 - WNYW-TV New York, New York
- WSOU Metal Ban 1988 - NJN News (New Jersey Network)
- WSOU Metal Ban 1988 - WNBC-TV New York, New York
- Theft Was on the Radio at Seton Hall U., Official Admits in Guilty Plea (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Former WSOU Radio Faculty Adviser Charged With Embezzlement (AllAccess.com)
- Professor Charged With Theft (New York Times)
- Former Seton Hall University Director Pleads Guilty for Embezzlement (Essex County Prosecutor's Office)
- Alumni list provided by Seton Hall University/WSOU
- WSOU official website
- Seton Hall University official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WSOU
- Radio-Locator information on WSOU
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WSOU