As part of their ongoing series of interviews with folks in the music biz, CMJ added another college radio Music Director profile to their roster this week.
Leanne Kohlbecker, Music Director of college radio station WSOU-FM (Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey), was interviewed on the CMJ staff site and she talked about the station's lengthy history (they've been around since 1948), their 60th anniversary happenings (including on-air sets by former DJs, a big alumni dinner, and a concert), and their legacy these days for metal and rock music. In discussing the station format Leanne says:
"When the station first signed on the air in 1948, the music that was played was contemporary to its time. In the 1950's our now longest running specialty show, Polka Party, was established, and is still on the air today! We continue to play specialty community programming on the weekends. The station first started playing rock 'n' roll in the '60s. The hard rock format took shape in the '80s, and that is the format we are most notable for. [We're] FMQB magazine’s No. 1 Metal Station two years running. We just recently were named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Best Of Rock radio stations in the nation."
According to WSOU's website, the station format is "modern active rock." In reading their FAQs, it was interesting to read that some listeners find a disconnect between a Catholic university radio station playing primarily heavy metal music. Part of the response to the website FAQ "Why does the radio station at a Catholic University play heavy metal music? Isn’t it anti-religious?" was the following:
"All songs on WSOU are screened for content to ensure that lyrics do not undermine the mission and values of Seton Hall University or the Catholic Church. If a band or song isn’t appropriate for WSOU, we don’t play it."
I'm sure that most radio station Music Directors screen material for content, but I'd be curious to hear about how this works at other radio stations affiliated with religious institutions.
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