|WXVU Banner (photo: J. Waits)|
The 89.1 FM station shares its frequency with nearby Cabrini College station WYBF (unfortunately my attempts to visit were unsuccessful) and its broadcasts extend for around an 8 mile radius. Awarded its FM license in 1991, WXVU broadcasts terrestrially on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until noon and has online programming 24/7.
|WXVU Hot Clock (photo: J. Waits)|
|WXVU Record Library (photo: J. Waits)|
By March 1949,"...the campus radio station, WVIL, has risen from its doubtful struggling infancy to a position where it compares favorably with any college radio station in the country. Originating in an unventilated linen closet in Austin Hall, the infant station was built entirely by students...," according to an article in the Villanovan from that time. The March, 1949 article reports that thanks to the success of the station in its first year of broadcasting, the administration was providing WVIL with new studios, located temporarily in the same building as the "campus tonsorial emporium." (hairdresser?) The station also received with new microphones and 16-inch turntables.
|Hallway at WXVU today (photo: J. Waits)|
|60th Anniversary Banner (photo: J. Waits)|
|WXVU Studio (photo: J. Waits)|
|J.J. Brown and Steven Gulotta at WXVU (photo: J. Waits)|
|WXVU Lobby (Photo: J. Waits)|
WXVU currently has around 82 student DJs, with a pretty packed schedule of programming up until about 2am. Shows are 90 minutes in length are are mostly music-oriented, although there are also some sports talk shows and a public affairs program focused on both university and local issues. WXVU also broadcasts sports, including football, men's basketball, and women's basketball.
Brown said that the great thing about WXVU is that it's an "outlet for students to be creative." Gulotta also pointed out that, "DJs have individual control over their own shows" and added that being at the station really "opens up your eyes into so much new music."
|Flyer for WXVU Show (photo: J. Waits)|
Before becoming General Manager, Gulotta was the station's Music Director, and his passion for music was palpable. He told me that he's particularly interested in noise, drone, and avant garde music, which he airs on his Wednesday night show "Saudade." Sometimes live bands also play at WXVU, with one DJ hosting a show that frequently features local bands from the Philadelphia area. It's a tight space, so performances tend to be acoustic.
|New releases at WXVU (photo: J. Waits)|
Gulotta told me that most music DJs at the station are playing indie pop, hip hop, electronica, and classic metal. There are also specialty shows, including garage, punk, and progressive metal. Typically students will run their shows digitally, playing music off of their laptops. The station also has automation software that can be utilized to create playlists. Additionally, DJs can play physical music, including CDs and vinyl from their own collections or from the station's music library.
|Turntable at WXVU (photo: J. Waits)|
I was told that WXVU had around 6 cabinets filled with CDs, but that the station was running out of room to house it all. Some music was disposed of and jewel cases were dispensed with in order to create more space. Although I didn't see it, there's apparently a closet full of old vinyl as well. The station rarely gets sent new vinyl, but there are DJs that regularly play it. One show, the Kane Konundrum, plays a vinyl pick of the week.
|Metal Archive at WXVU (photo: J. Waits)|
|Sun Ra album on wall at WXVU (photo: J. Waits)|
|Board in the Studio at WXVU (photo: J. Waits)|
Thanks to Steven and J.J. for the tour of WXVU. My interest in now piqued about the station's early history. The digital archives at Villanova probably offer more clues for interested radio historians.
Here's a complete list of all of my Spinning Indie Radio Station Field Trips. Come back soon to see the remainder of my Philadelphia-area field trips, as well as some visits to stations in D.C. and Maryland.