I’m from Highland Park, a tiny town in central Jersey that’s known for being the birthplace of the band-aid and a lot of retired hippies. It is right across the Raritan River from Rutgers University, where most of my high school class ended up attending. I did not want to be near anyone I already knew for my college experience, so I ended up applying to Seton Hall based solely on being familiar with their radio station, WSOU.
I was not even planning to join the station until a friend dragged me up the elevator to where I would unknowingly spend a huge part of my collegiate career. I became Assistant Music Director after my first year and two years later, I was handed the keys to the Music Department. As far as my interest in music, I listened to more 50’s rock and acapella than any middle school kid should back in the day. Fortunately, I was never beat up for it. One day a group came on my Pandora playlist that covered Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark”, after that I was hooked to a completely different genre.
1. Congratulations on becoming the Music Director for WSOU. Considering the extensive and highly respected history of WSOU as one of the top college radio stations in the country, explain to me what it personally means to be the MD.
It truly is an honor to be at the helm of New York/New Jersey’s premier incubator for radio talent and loud music. Every day I get emails from record labels pushing Indie music, assuming we’re like every other college radio station. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a specialty show for that stuff but I often have to remind them that if they want my attention the single they send my way better have a blast beat. It serves as a constant reminder that WSOU is a college station like no other. The Music Department is no different.
2. In your role as MD, what do you hope to achieve during your tenure?
To tune in a decade from now and hear a segment or programming innovation that came from my time as MD. We just hit the 30th anniversary of our active rock format. That is a lot of innovation to try to improve upon. Our programming director keeps calling me crazy with the ideas I shoot him, but one day something will stick. I am proud to say you can expect to see promotional fidget spinners given away at our future presents shows. You can thank yours truly for those. Ha.
3. Since you are in the #1 radio market, how do you think the music industry could best utilize WSOU and what type of opportunities can you offer in return?
‘SOU’s network of alumni and industry professionals is a huge resource for the professional development of our student-staff members. The hands on experience definitely helps develop skills one absolutely can’t get in the classroom. I’d say that the best way the industry can utilize WSOU is to interact and connect with us. The students of WSOU can be great resource to the industry, so talk with us! Let’s share ideas and see if we can make something exciting together! We have the listenership to get a lot of opportunities from industry, but I’d say it’s just as important to recognize us as a learning platform for future professionals as well. I’d also say two-way communication is applicable to college radio as a whole, especially since many stations aren’t as lucky to be as connected as WSOU.
4. Traditionally metal radio has been a great place for bands to start off in before graduating to commercial radio. Which bands and/or style of music will be the next ones to crossover and have mainstream success?
Metal kind of goes through “flavors” every decade or so. We’re on the tail end of the “metal-core craze” and we had the “nu-metal craze” before that. I find that many bands that made it after 1990 tend to exist in the “alt-metal” space, so I don’t expect a band that satisfies the metal purist inside of me. That being said, we have yet to see a metal band out of the past decade to hit such mainstream success like Slipknot and Metallica have. Some bands like Lamb Of God are just getting up there. My benchmark for mainstream viability is if kids under 18 will listen to it. I think to when I was growing up, I’d see a bunch of teenagers at the mall in Slipknot tees. And here we are ten years later, always pondering what Corey Taylor might think of the weather! In my opinion, the only genre of heavy music that could currently produce a band ready for mainstream success is post-hardcore and some lighter metal-core. It’s hard not to notice that those Slipknot tees on teenagers of the 2000’s have been replaced with Asking Alexandria and Bring Me The Horizon logos now.
I’ll probably catch some flak in my metal circles over admitting that.
5. Tell us about your 3 most rock n roll moments so far…
Jeez, this question is hard to answer without sounding like a degenerate.
I used to be an altar boy growing up. Considering WSOU is part of the Catholic University, Seton Hall, I am strongly inclined to mention this. It is probably the most rock n roll thing about me!
Another one would be a story that my close friends refer to as “the Chinese food incident”. I can’t go much into detail publicly about that night or else they will find me. The band interview came out really well though!
My favorite rock n roll moment is getting to sip boxed wine with Gareth Murdock of Alestorm (No, not Halestorm, it’s a pirate-metal band). We were discussing Harambe the gorilla for a good bit. The band ended up putting together a spoof of the interview with one of their tour mates and posting it to social media. They’re the kind of guys to sign a piece of bread and try to sell it at their merch table.