|City of license||South Orange, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||New York metro area|
|Slogan||"Seton Hall's Pirate Radio" and "The Loudest Rock"|
|Frequency||89.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||April 14, 1948|
|Format||Modern Active Rock|
|Callsign meaning||W South Orange University|
|Owner||Seton Hall University|
|Webcast||WSOU HD-1 Listen Live
WSOU HD-2 Listen Live
WSOU (89.5 FM) is a non-commercial, college radio station. The station broadcasts from the campus of Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. It is a student-run station with university administrator Mark Maben serving as its current General Manager. WSOU currently broadcasts in HD Radio and streams online.
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 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 current student managers for the 2013-2014 year are Station Manager Erin O'Grady, Program Director Cara Scalcione-Hahn, Music Director Aly Mulligan, Promotions Director Sam Nakhoul, Sports Director Vince Coughlin, News Director Liz Pavlovsky, Technical Operations Director Tom Perry and Staff Representative Kevin Cornell.
WSOU broadcasts nightly "specialty shows", most of which are devoted entirely to a specific genre of music.
- 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, ska punk, and reggae.
- Under the Stars (Tuesday 10p-midnight) - Post-hardcore and emo, including Alexisonfire, Thursday and At the Drive-In.
- 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.
- That Other '70s Show (Thursday 10 p.m.-midnight) - Classic rock and pop, including Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Yes (band).
- Out of Babylon (Friday 10 p.m.-midnight) - Christian metal and hardcore, including As I Lay Dying and August Burns Red.
The current community programming lineup at WSOU includes:
- The Global Current (7:30 a.m.), the weekly news magazine show of Seton Hall's John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy, featuring world news presented and analyzed by students.
- Pirate News Desk (8 a.m.), the weekly news magazine show of the WSOU News Department.
- Thank God For Monday (8:30 a.m.), a program dedicated to workplace satisfaction and career fulfillment, hosted by Seton Hall alumnus Brother Greg Cellini.
- Catholic Education Today & Tomorrow (8 a.m.), a half-hour interview program moderated by Msgr. Kevin Hanbury, the vicar of education/superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Newark.
- The Kinship of Catholics and Jews (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 (9-11 a.m.), a program with music, news and information for the Irish and Scottish communities.
- The Polish Polka Party (noon-2 p.m.), currently the longest-running show on WSOU.
- Decompression with Frank Scafidi (11 p.m.-Midnight), a one-hour showcase for jazz and standards.
WSOU also offers a diverse lineup of syndicated shows, including several programs from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The list includes Lino at Large (Sundays, 7:30 a.m.), Personally Speaking with Msgr. Jim Lisante (Saturdays, 6 a.m.), Christopher Closeup (Saturdays) and Voices of Our World (Saturdays).
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).
On October 12th, WSOU aired a new sports talk show, Big East Breakdown (Big East sports talk), hosted by their sports director Vince Coughlin. The show is said to have other student radio stations in the conference involved in, as well as airing, the show or airing a similar show done by their own staff with clips from the WSOU show.
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) and Matt Loughlin (New Jersey Devils radio personality).
On July 1, 2009, WSOU launched WSOU HD-2, a 24/7 Catholic programming channel. Which in addition to broadcasting on 89.5-HD2 it is also available via a live Internet stream (See InfoBox above).
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
The station also broadcasts some of the WSOU-FM weekend community programs, including the Celtic Heritage Hour and the Kinship of Catholics and Jews.
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 in 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.
WSOU has earned many honors and numerous awards over the years, including:
- 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”
- Best College Radio Station in Playboy, May 2010
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, though many 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 (DJ), production, promotion, 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.
The WSOU student staff also participate with many university events, such as the annual University Day homecoming weekend.
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
To provide the university and the immediate community of northern New Jersey’s metropolitan area with public service in broadcasting that meets the public’s interests, convenience and needs.
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 60 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 102.7 Fresh FM
- 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’s B101
- Dan Turi, Program Director/Afternoon Drive The Breeze WWZY 107.1/99.7-FM
- 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
- Gary Susalis, 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
- Jen Kajzer, Emmis Communications, NYC
- Jewelz Lopez, DJ, WYUU, Tampa, FL (formerly on NY’s WKTU-FM & Pulse FM)
- Jim Hunter, Play-by-Play Announcer, Baltimore Orioles
- Joe Guzik, SVP Promotion & Integrated Marketing, Red Bull Records
- Joe Nolan, WABC-TV and WPJL 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, Erie Otters radio/TV play-by-play announcer, former Trenton Devils radio play-by-play
- Pat Parson, Former WCBS-AM 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
- 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 Programming Department, 2011
- 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.
- "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)
- 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