By Maddie Orton
Other college students may be sleeping in, but Molly Meller has been hosting a radio show since 6 a.m. She’s the manager of Seton Hall’s mostly metal station, WSOU 89.5 FM.
This year, the student-run station brought home the highest honor in its field: a Marconi Radio Award for Non-commercial Station of the Year.
“Our listenership is 120,000 weekly,” said Meller. “So, we hit the New Jersey/New York market. It’s not just on campus, though people do listen to us on campus.”
Faculty member and station General Manager Mark Maben oversees the program. He’s the first to give students the credit for its national recognition.
“Students here get an opportunity that they then may have to wait 10, 20, 30 years to have again,” explained Maben. “Students here are making real programming decisions, real news decisions, real sports decisions, in the nation’s number one market. And what they decide to do, or decide not to do, has a real impact.”
Maben said the primary purpose of the club is to give hands-on experience to those interested in careers in the media, but it does a lot more than that.
“One of the cool things about WSOU is you could be interested in becoming a doctor, or you’re studying in our business school or a nurse and you develop skills here that apply to any career,” said Maben.
Meller agrees. The manager and DJ, who goes by “Mothra” on air is equal parts enthusiastic music fan and detail-oriented manager. She’s as ready to rattle off listener statistics as she is to gush about her favorite band.
“I’m definitely more relaxed in work settings,” she said. “I have a better understanding of how things work, and how things can be managed… Even things like answering the phone. It sounds better because I know how to go on the air.”
While video killed the radio stars, the internet may be reviving them.
“In the last couple of years we’ve seen student membership at the station really explode. We had 150 students on staff last year,” said Maben. “The number of hours people spend listening to things in our country has grown. So, radio listening has grown, along with podcast listening, along with people who are listening to books on tape.”
And the airwaves will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans.
“I listened to this station when I was in middle school, and this was always why I wanted to come here,” said Assistant Music Manager and DJ Nick Durant. “This is what I live for. I love doing this kind of stuff.”
The Marconi Award isn’t the only reason WSOU is celebrating — 2016 marks 30 years since the station first moved to its current heavy metal format.