WSOU Station Manager Molly Meller
As station manager at Pirate Radio, WSOU-FM, Molly Meller finds herself overseeing a close-knit family of 130 student broadcasters representing diverse backgrounds and cultures who share a love of radio. WSOU 89.5 FM has a loyal following in this competitive marketplace, exceeding 100,000 over-the-air and online listeners.
"I love WSOU and I was always passionate about it," said Meller, a second generation fan. Her father listened to the station and she did since high school, which she credits for bringing her to the university and the station. "As a senior, I think my biggest thing is to try to continue its legacy," she explained.
That desire remains on strong footing as WSOU-FM (89.5) was named non-commercial station of the year at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) Marconi Radio Awards in Nashville. Meller attended the awards ceremony with fellow senior Katelyn Fatzler, journalism major and news director at the station, and WSOU's chief engineer Frank Scafidi.
Meller, a public relations major in the College of Communications and the Arts, loves the ability to reach out to a lot of people through her role. In fact, her professionalism and those of her student colleagues have led to national exposure and accolades. Staffed 24/7, WSOU is the only college station reporting to both the Billboard and Radio Contraband music charts. In 2015 alone, the station presented 22 "WSOU Presents" concerts; 1,456 hours of news and public affairs programming; 96 sports broadcasts; while supporting community efforts such as an annual food drive for an area food bank.
"It's a lot of hard work and I spend a lot of time here. It's my second home. I recognize what WSOU represents while modifying it to fit today. We want to maintain a core niche of being different, an against the grain type of music and personalities, but also fit into things like social media and web coverage, really trying to reach all sorts of audiences," she explained.
WSOU 89.5 FM Pirate Radio Team, from left to right, General Manager Mark Maben; Promotions Assistant Kelsey Ferruggia; Program Director Holly Fitzpatrick; Station Manager Molly Meller; and chief engineer Frank Scafidi
Meller said that WSOU's innovation is playing metal, punk, and hardcore music that rarely gets exposure on radio as well as award-winning and popular specialty shows such as indie, classic rock, Hip Hop/R&B and alternative music along with news, religious, ethnic, and sports programming. Among her own favorite moments: interviewing Coheed and Cambria lead singer Claudio Sanchez, interviewing and becoming friends with San Francisco's Fallujah and meeting and interviewing Georgia heavy metal band Baroness.
"I wouldn't be able to do that anywhere else," she shared. "I credit of lot of this to Mr. Maben who puts himself out there to let us be a niche situation where we're able to play music that nobody else plays. We've built ourselves up through that. Because we're different than other radio stations, we are able to keep this up through all the years."
Launched in 1948, WSOU provides a hands-on learning ground for future broadcasters and for the past 30 years has been a major influence on loud rock, helping to introduce bands such as Volbeat, Incubus, Pearl Jam, Korn, Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance before they appeared on commercial playlists, according to Mark Maben, WSOU general manager.
"The Marconi Award is one of the most prestigious awards in broadcasting and that it went to a student-run radio station is truly special," said Mark Maben.
The station provides students with many benefits including intangible life skills. Meller shared that her work at the station, in the classroom and internship experiences support her path to future success.
General Manager Mark Maben, Station Manager Molly Meller and Dean of the College of Communication and the Arts Deirdre Yates
"I work with multiple professors in my department and in-class planning exercises put me in this mind frame. When I work, I need to have an objective and goal that I am working on for an extended period of time. The classes Seton Hall has helps you realize what you need to do to get to this point. It helps you learn about how different parts work and how it makes up the whole," she shared.
She praised her ability to have real world experiences at the station as well as through internships at WDHA (radio promotions), the Syndicate (public relations), and her current internship at GLA Communications in Millburn. After graduation, her plans include a public relations position in music entertainment. Having also worked with the New Jersey Center for the Healing Arts in Red Bank, her interests include pursuing a career in non-profit PR as well.
"Experiential learning is at the heart of what we do," Maben noted. "It is, I believe, one of the reasons the station earned the Marconi Award. WSOU is recognized for developing in its students the self-confidence and leadership skills they need to succeed, no matter their career path. We are the perfect complement to what students learn in the classroom."
Generations of WSOU alumni have called the station home, including Bob Ley, Christina Lang, Glenn Schuck, Bob Picozzi, Joe Noland, Pete Tauriello and Kim Mulligan among many others. Meller invites students to get involved and visit the WSOU website at www.wsou.net and visit the station in the Recreation Center or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSOU has been featured throughout the media including NJ.com.
Categories: Arts and Culture